Life as a drum teacher?

Being young and ambitious I'm always curiouse about how lifes going to pan out. When old enough, I plan to be a drum teacher and play gigs on weekeneds and see where that takes me. But I've got a few questions for you people who are already there.
What's pay like being a drum teacher? Obviously it can vary but when I start teaching will I have enough money to live off or will I have to be working in another area aswell?
Im also curiouse as to the qualifications required. I know pretty much nothing about what to do other than a bachelor or music. Will that alone be enough, or will I have to continue studying in another degree?
Being only 15 I still have a long time to plan things but I like to know what I have coming!

Thanks all.

Mason :)
 

Witterings

Silver Member
Gosh, I wish I'd had the fore sight to ask questions like that when I was 15, good on you !!
I believe in the UK anyway you need to have passed your grade 8 exam to qualify as a teacher and theoretically if you haven't passed the exam how can you teach other people if they want to do their exams to that level.
In terms of making a living it's a tough industry and initially you'll almost definitely need some other form of income as well, a lot of people will work in drum shops to substitute their earnings but also as a feed for giving lessons - often on a split basis with the shop.
Others will probably be able to give a more exact answer to qualifications needed but good luck to you and keep asking the questions and looking ahead ... I think you'll find it makes a much smoother path to take !!!!
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Being young and ambitious I'm always curiouse about how lifes going to pan out. When old enough, I plan to be a drum teacher and play gigs on weekeneds and see where that takes me. But I've got a few questions for you people who are already there.
What's pay like being a drum teacher? Obviously it can vary but when I start teaching will I have enough money to live off or will I have to be working in another area aswell?
Im also curiouse as to the qualifications required. I know pretty much nothing about what to do other than a bachelor or music. Will that alone be enough, or will I have to continue studying in another degree?
Being only 15 I still have a long time to plan things but I like to know what I have coming!

Thanks all.

Mason :)
My advice as a player/teacher/etc. is to work as hard as you possibly can to become a full-time playing musician who earns 100% of their income from playing. Worry about teaching later. And don't fret, the former will qualify you for the latter. Not that there's anything wrong with teaching - it's a big, important thing - but can you really say that what drives you to sit down at your drums is the thought of teaching little Johnny how to do a paradiddle for the 10th time? Or is it because there's something else that burns in you?

I grew up in a musical household, but was bombarded with the message that music couldn't sustain a person. You had to have a day job as a back up plan. Looking back, I wish I'd never been told that, because I spent too many years trying to find the right thing to "balance with my music" rather than pointing myself straight at music, full on, no excuses, and worrying about what I'd need to do to support that as it came up.

If you do decide that you'd like to teach, you'll need some kind of degree to teach in a classroom, but in order to be a private tutor or peripatetic tutor who visits schools to give music tuition, this won't necessarily be the case. I've been asked for my grade qualifications precisely once in my career and even then it didn't make a whit of difference to my payscale or getting the job. Either way, university/college level training in music is a good thing to strive for. The environment will give you all the necessary tools to build a music career: intense training, access to instruments/practice time, a community and contacts in the music industry.

Worry about being the best musician you can. Study privately, pay attention in music class and work hard in the practice studio, play as much music with other people as you possibly can and ALWAYS forgo the former (study/practice) for the latter (playing). Worry about what you're going to do with your ability when the time comes. (It hasn't, yet, IMO) You're 15, go play some rock and roll with your mates or get to work on tidying up those doubles. Now I'm off to tidy up my doubles...
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Uneducated people usualle make less than people who have a degree, but if you do it privately and you're in demand you might make more.

In my country, the typical local teacher is state employed and paid according to his schooling, if he has a teaching degrre and then it's all about tenure. I make the same as other teachers in regular schools which is not much the first few years, but it quickly goes up. Takes 16 years to get to the top.

Gigging helps my economy a lot, but I use all of it on music equipment offcourse. lol

Over time I hope to teach a bit less and devote more time to my own music as well.

Teaching can drin you unless you are really lucky with the students and you have somewhere to go for inspiration. Private teachers offcourse choose their students, so that's easier that way, but if you get sick or something there are no benefits.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
...work as hard as you possibly can to become a full-time playing musician who earns 100% of their income from playing.
Yes- everything else follows from this.

You don't need a degree to teach privately, but you do need to know how music is usually taught, meaning you should be doing music in school, studying privately, and planning on at least a couple of years of college. You also need to be a serious student yourself, and have a real interest in the process of learning.
 
Yes- everything else follows from this.

You don't need a degree to teach privately, but you do need to know how music is usually taught, meaning you should be doing music in school, studying privately, and planning on at least a couple of years of college. You also need to be a serious student yourself, and have a real interest in the process of learning.
Well thanks for the advice so far boys :)

Drums are pretty much my life and so I should have no problems dedicating myself to becoming a full time playing musician :D
But even if I dont make it and get stuck teaching litte johnny how to do a paradiddle for the 10th time I would be happy. I've just had to many drum teachers that I've felt I could do a better job. They all seem so plain and like there literally just doing it for the money. But I love teaching people and getting results so I would really dedicate myself to being the best and funnest teacher of my abilitie :D
Im glad to hear that if I do end up as a full time musician and spend the time I would be in college/univercity on tour or just gigging in genereal that I could still become a private teacher but I'll definatly try my hardest to get some saught of qualification :)
 
I dont really agree with the whole degree meaning more money thing. If your good people will pay you accordingly and just having graduated university sure as hell doesn't mean you are good many many bad musicians finish degree's.

I teach 2 days a week and gig/record the rest. Teaching i make $60 an hour (in australia)
But depending where you teach you may have to pay for room usage etc. But two 8 hour days of teaching brings me in around $900 a week after expenses which i think is pretty good for two days of playing drums basically.

I think the best advice would be work your ass off now, And if your serious about teaching have lessons now off lots of different teachers see how they do things pick out what you like and dont like take notes then apply it to your own teaching.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
You need to be a businessperson as well as an experienced, educated musician. There are so many people who are extremely talented but don't make much money at all. You need to know advertising strategies, book-keeping , etc.. Not that you need a degree in marketing and accounting, but you do need to market yourself, keep good records, and make smart decisions.

You will also need to be able to balance performing and teaching. At times, I have to think seriously about going on tour or other performance endeavors. I need to find the best subs that I can for my students so that I have students to come home to.

I also have many projects besides private lessons. I have designed and taught an Introduction to Drumming at the University of Richmond. I also teach clinics and workshops for area schools, stores, etc... I am currently in editing for a new book though Alfred Publications. So there are many ways to earn a living teaching and performing. For me, I would rather teach 30 students a week and do other educational projects on the side. Teaching 60 students a week for me would probably be more of an assembly line - which I would not want.

Jeff
 
Mason, congratulations on giving so much thought to your future and seeking advice to meet your goals. Well done and keep up the work.

A lot of great points have already been made on this thread from a university/degree standpoint. Yes, having a degree can make you some more money in certain situations while having zero influence in other situations. What is most important, as others have already mentioned, is that you become the best musician that you can AND take your teaching as serious as your playing.

Another variable in the "life as a drum teacher" that you may want to look at is the location of your lessons. If you teach at a drum studio or music store, they may take a portion of your pay. If you teach at a school you may have to teach at a reduced rate determined by the district. The socio-economic status of the city or state you live in can also have an influence on the amount that you can charge per lesson. The list goes on, but you probably get the point by now - there are a lot of factors that influence the pay of teaching lessons.

Long story short, there are many paths you can take to becoming a gigging musician and lesson teacher as well as a lot of different variables that will be unique to your situation. If you get a B.M. in music education with a percussion concentration as you mentioned, you will be well on your way to meeting your goal.

Best of luck!
 
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