• ReeVes Wong

Why I decided not to open a music school?

Hey everyone, thank you so much for reading this post. I hope your day's been amazing.

I have decided to write about this post today because I have been asked by many people, friends and my students/clients included, do i have any plan to open a music school? Because on paper that looks like the "next step" in my life.

Personally i think that's an interesting conversation and I would like to share it online.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am teaching my piano lessons at my home studio and have absolutely no desire to open a music school. Here's why.

1. I prefer to be a teacher rather than a businessman.

I have had the opportunity to work for a number of music schools and I have learn that It's really difficult to be a teacher and a businessman at the same time. Currently, I can make decisions that's the most beneficial to my students. For example if they need to overtime for work or have some last minute events and couldn't make it for lessons, I can simply re-schedule the lesson as I do not have to seek approval from a music teacher if he/she is okay to give a make up class(last minute cancellations are usually not make up by music schools.)

Another thing would be, if I decide to run a music school, my life will be packed with business decisions, marketing, hiring and managing rather than working on teaching stuffs such as writing syllabus, planning lessons, engaging and help my students to improve. Stuffs that I prefer to be doing.

2. Rental

Rental in Singapore is ridiculously high. That's probably one of the main reason why so many music schools in town are charging crazy amount of school fees to cover their rental or they had to come up with group lessons so that they can make enough to cover the rental. I've worked in music schools that charges close to $300 for 4 x 1 hour lessons. Or close to $200 for a group lesson with 5 other students. I would prefer to keep my rates reasonable to that more people can afford to learn. To be honest, instrumental lessons for a group are not really that beneficial to the learning of students.

3. Studio

I like to give my clients nothing but the best that I can afford to. To open a school basically would mean that I need to sacrifice on a lot of things such as the size of the studio & the equipments.

Time have changed, and so does the method of teaching the piano. I have taught in music schools with nothing but a piano. No computer to record the student's progress, no secondary piano to do a duet with my student, and in a number of music schools, no acoustic piano. I've even taught in a music school that lets my student play on a $300 keyboard when she's paying the school $300 plus for a 1 to 1 lesson with me. It really breaks my heart to see how much people are paying and what they are getting. But of course, I understand the owner needs to do that to survive.

My studio's recording area.

Yamaha acoustic piano for teaching.

4. Milking fellow musicians.

This point seems a little harsh but it's pretty much the truth. During my work with various music schools, I must admit that I do feel unhappy in general with regards to the money side of things, so does many of my colleagues. For those of you who don't know, most music schools offers a commission based salary package. Meaning you teach x number of students you get x amount of money. There's no 13th month bonus, no performance bonus, no medical benefits (except for a really big company) so you are basically working for someone without all the benefits that working for someone should get.

The commissions are usually 45% to 60% which means pretty much half of the money that you generated are gone and very often, music teachers who worked really hard on their craft are left struggling financially.

In short, running a music school is just something that i have no interest in. But if you are someone who is trying to set up a music school, there are many benefits to setting up one. If it's successful you can definitely earn more than an individual piano teacher. I have seen music school owners driving fancy cars. So, I guess it depends on what you want in life :)


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