Accordion Articles - Review of :Give yourself A Raise by Jean Oelrich

Give Yourself A Raise by Jean Oelrich

Written by: Article submitted by Kevin Friedrich - Accordion Pedagogy Class
University of Missouri of Kansas City, Conservatory of Music
Publication: Clavier Magazine
Date written: July-August 1983

People do put price tags on art and feel they get what they pay for. As much as you enjoy teaching, it is important that the love of your music does not blind you to the business aspects of the profession. People judge you objectively according to your education, experience, and track record, as well as by how much you charge: and some people do equate rate with excellence.

Because teaching can be an isolated profession you may not be in touch with what your colleagues are charging for lessons. You may actually be shortchanging yourself and working harder than necessary to make ends meet by teaching too many students at too low a rate. Underselling yourself can drain you emotionally and make you less effective as a teacher. In the long run the student suffers.

Many teachers are concerned that students might drop out if they raise their rates. In fact the opposite can occur. Some teachers found that their students started working harder, perhaps as a result of pressure from parents anxious to get their money's worth. Consider these figures: teaching 12 students at $7.00 per half hour brings in $84.00, but teaching 9 students at $10.00 per half hour brings in more and leaves 1 ½ hours of free time for practice and study.

Consider the amount of time, effort, and expense that you invest as a teacher: the cost of one or two college degrees, attendance at workshops and seminars, membership in teacher's organizations, subscriptions to professional periodicals, instrument maintenance and tuning, and the amount of time spent planning lessons and recitals, teaching extra emergency lessons at no charge before a recital or competition, and the list goes on and on. The student is not just paying for the half-hour of your teaching time one day a week. He is also paying for your preparation time, experience and expertise.

Your teaching isn't appreciated if you give it away for nothing. People seem to appreciate you more when you value yourself highly. People who teach as a hobby and don't need the money should think of their colleagues whose only source of income is from lessons. If you're keeping your rates low because the money doesn't matter, it's owed to fellow teachers to charge a fair fee.

The beginning of the new school year is the best time to inform parents of an increase in rates. You may want to include recent lectures, training courses or seminars you have attended. You can also take time to outline the goals and study plans you have for each student.

In determining your rate for the upcoming school year, remember that you're the one who has improved with experience and are worth more that you were 10 years or even 2 years ago. You've become a better teacher in that time.

Shouldn't your salary reflect that improvement?
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