If we want the music teaching industry to move forward, we need to be part of the change. We can only have so much impact through our own teaching. Being a music teacher mentor is one way to reach beyond the walls of our own studio.
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A few years ago I made a decision: I put an ad out online with an offer to mentor a new teacher in my studio.
I didn’t know how this project would go or if I’d even get any responses. I just decided to put it out into the universe and see where it took me.
Some great applicants responded, I took on a couple of teachers and the process has evolved from there. If this sounds like the right route for you, I now have a full course in the VMT membership on how to set up a similar program in your studio.
So let’s talk about what that route entails.
What I mean by mentorship
Mentorship – or apprenticeship – is an active training process. It’s not a class or a training program where future teachers passively take in information.
It’s an evolution.
It involves working together, week after week, so that less experienced teachers can learn by doing.
Many of us learnt by doing, too. But without a mentor to guide us, we made many more mistakes and sometimes had a negative impact on the students in our care.
With a mentor-mentee relationship, we get to guide a new piano teacher and make sure every student is cared for and nurtured.
We work together every week to plan lessons and address issues so the teacher can learn and the student can flourish.
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Why I chose mentorship
I chose to add teachers to my studio through a mentorship program because it aligned with my goals:
- Allow more students to experience creative and fun music learning.
- Have an impact locally on the music teaching industry.
- Take on more students from our waiting list.
That list is in an intentional order. If your primary goal is profit or taking students from your waiting list, this is not the way to do it.
But if you want to have a greater impact in your community, mentorship might be for you.
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The downsides of mentorship
The downside of mentorship for you is that it requires more investment on your part. You’ll need to spend time each week working with your mentees and you’ll field more questions than if you had taken on experienced teachers.
For the mentees, the downside may be the money. A new piano teacher could go out on their own and advertise for students and probably make a higher rate than they will working under you as their mentor.
I make this very clear to every teacher I take on: I don’t want them to be in this just for the money.
I pay them fairly, don’t get me wrong. But the reason my teachers stick with me is the investment I make in them. I care about their progress and development, and that makes it worth it to them.
Mentorship and Impact
Ultimately, the decision between mentorship and “regular” employees comes down to impact.
Do you want to build a bigger business or a greater legacy?
There’s nothing wrong with building a big business. But I would argue that mentorship is the way to have a more lasting legacy.
Whether you take on long-term trainees like I have or you create a more casual mentor-mentee relationship with a new music teacher in your area, I hope you’ll consider reaching beyond your studio.
This is how we make progress in our industry. This is how you become part of the change.
Your One Thing.
This week, I want you to think about what kind of mentorship you could participate in. Can you reach out to local college graduates? Could you start a program like mine? Find a way of nurturing the next generation which feels right to you.
Did you have a music teacher mentor, or do you wish you had?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below. 🙂