A Music Teacher Moving Home
Moving house is both exciting and stressful but when you're self-employed and have a client base in one area, uprooting yourself to somewhere new often has one feeling like they have to start from scratch again. With the increase in online and video services during this past year, however, moving house doesn't have to feel as risky any more.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION We've been in our new home for just over two weeks now and I'll admit, I was very nervous about moving. I was worried that when I told my students about the move, they would say it was too far to go and would find someone else who taught closer to them.
While the pandemic has been truly awful, a positive thing to come out of it is the transition to online working and video teaching. Now, teachers offering online lessons are having enquiries from students all over the world. This did reassure me that if I moved, for the time being, nothing would change in terms of teaching as I still teach primarily online. Still, I needed to let my students know what was going on and allow them time to consider the future and whether this would cause a problem if and when they wanted to go back to face-to-face.
CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES During the conversation, I voiced a few options: 1. Go back to face-to-face with the knowledge that they will have to travel further. 2. Stick with online lessons for the foreseeable future. 3a. Do a mixture of both and find a balance between the two that works for them. 3b. For those that have to travel a long distance, meaning after school/work traffic adding extra time to their journey making it too difficult to do, I've offered a once-a-month longer face-to-face lesson on a weekend for a reduced fee, and video as normal for the other 3 weeks. For example, an hour is usually £30 but if their commute is over an hour there and back, I've offered either a 90-minute lesson for £40 (instead of £50) or a 2-hour lesson for £50 (instead of £60). If that doesn't work, I'll consider upping it to fortnightly.
For the moment, everyone is happy to stick to video (partly due to the new spike) but I was both surprised and relieved that some of my students, particularly those that live further away, said they would prefer to stick with video as it suits them and we've had no issues (although the move has meant I've had to change internet providers, which caused a bit of a kerfuffle and I'm not happy but that's a different story). To those that want to eventually move back to face-to-face and do live further away, I've said that we can trial some longer weekend lessons during the Summer holidays and go from there.
Despite the option of video lessons, there is always the risk students will say goodbye and it can be hard to see past that. Naturally though, you'll also get new students from your new area as well. One of the selling points of Wells for me when we were house-hunting was the amount of music going on in such a (relatively) small space.
There are two secondary schools, one of which is Wells Cathedral School, boasting an impressive music department that includes the relatively new concert hall, Cedars Hall. There are also a collection of primary schools in the area, and places like Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, and Cheddar aren't too far away.
I was particularly sold on this house because the previous owner is a piano teacher and if they can afford to upsize after five years then that shows there's work to be found. In fact, I've already had two new enquiries and one of them is starting today!
DON'T BE WORRIED, BE EXCITED
Yes, moving house can be scary but if, like me, you're worried about keeping your students, you'll be surprised at how many of them will either say they prefer sticking to online video, for the ease and convenience, or that they're happy to travel further for your services. After all, they may have chosen us partly because we were closer to travel to initially but they've stayed with us because they enjoy the way we teach and know us as welcoming, friendly, and supportive teachers.
Finally, make sure you're on as many online sites as possible and, if you are, be sure to change your address. I still get the most traffic from First Tutors: Music but also see it come from MusicTeachers.co.uk, Tutorfair, and, if you want to take the risk of bidding, Bidvine has got me a few students, even people up North wanting just video lessons. Many of these sites are even switching to just online lessons as well, which shows that, despite the inevitable easing of restrictions, people are still interested in video lessons instead of face-to-face.
Happy house-hunting and good luck with your move!