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Advice for Recent Music Major College Graduates

Briana Page

Written by
Published: January 13, 2014 at 4:08 PM [UTC]

Hello Everyone!

My name is Briana Page. I am a 2012 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelors degree in violin performance. I perform with the Corpus Christi Symphony and teach over 50 students in the San Antonio Texas area.

I wish to share my journey. Through series of blog entries, I will chronicle how I went from zero students to over 50 in year. I wanted to create this blog to help newly graduated music majors (especially performance majors) who don't have a clue what to do after college to make a living in the music world.

Lastly, this blog is to teach you what 5 years of intensive practicing and performing at the music school didn't...HOW TO GET A JOB :)

Please enjoy as I add more entries on ways to get your foot in the door as they say. Thanks!

Topics Covered:
What to expect after graduation; How to find private students; How to run a music business; plus much more.

From Paul Deck
Posted on January 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM
Briana, congratulations on starting up your own independent studio so quickly and on the completion of your performance degree. Both are fine accomplishments.

If I were thinking of the type of career that you're planning to describe, here are some questions that I would have:

(1) How much time each week do you spend on the phone or texting or emailing parents or students or maintaining your web site?
(2) What are your out-of-pocket expenses to maintain your studio? Travel, space rental, books, sheet music, professional development, computer/software/web hosting?
(3) What are your fees? How many students do you have who pay reduced/negotiated fees because of financial need?
(4) What is the age/experience range of your students?
(5) What's the basic setup -- individual lessons, violin class on the weekends, recitals?
(6) What/how is your relationship with other professionals in your area who also teach violin and therefore, in principle, are in competition with you for students?
(7) Do you have a waiting list for students? (That's key in my opinion because it allows you to dump students who do not practice. Only a teacher with a waiting list can do so.)

From Briana Page
Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:37 AM
Thank you for your comments.
I will try to answer your questions as best as I can. I hope this helps.

1. I generally spend around 45 minutes per day answering emails, setting up lessons, adding posts to my website and student resource page. I will admit this takes a lot a work, but the effort pays off.

2. Out of pocket, I spend about $200 a month on travel (I live in a big state- Texas), I have a free website I use off of google sites. I do not pay space rental, but teach at public schools or private which usually do not charge.

3. I charge $50 per hour, but $40/hour for larger families. For group lessons I charge $15 an hour (for five students this equals $75/hour). And I definitely take into account if a student needs financial need.

4. I teach ages 3 up to seniors. In my area there is a shortage of violin/viola/fiddle teachers, so I have a vast range of students from advanced to beginner.

5. My schedule is very busy, I teach Saturday through Thursday, with Friday off (only when I am not performing a gig). My hours start in the morning to teach home schoolers, then public schoolers in the afternoon/evening. Also, I hold a winter recital and spring recital.

6. I have a very friendly relationship with the other teachers in my area. I am in contact frequently and wish to collaborate on different string projects. As I said before, violin teachers are much in need in my area.

7. I sort of chuckled when I got the last question. Currently all my time slots are filled, but since I have so many homeschool students, I have extra time to teach in the evening. But I would honestly rather stay with a number of students I can handle, and not take on a load too heavy. I currently average around 4-5 new students per month, I am honestly not sure when to stop adding more students to my studio. Pretty soon I hope.

If you are considering this as your occupation, please know this is one of the most wonderful but challenging jobs you can have, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Good luck to you!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 10:50 PM
Congratulations! I am sure this blog will be very helpful to students, much as I think Emily Grossman's has been, in providing guidance and encouragement to those who would use their music degree to make a living.

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