\"\"
Piano Forum logo

can't make a living (Read 1985 times)

Offline heroine

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
can't make a living
« on: September 16, 2015, 10:12:06 PM »
okay,so I am new to Canada,since I moved here last Nov as I married my hubby and I moved to Calgary .

I have been teaching piano for 12 yrs in my hometown(ABRSM),I made good money since I taught in the morning at around 10:30 for kindergarten kids(they have half day school) and some of the elementary there were still half day so yea...I normal off at 7 :30 pm or 10:00 pm..during examination seasons i sometimes teaches till 12:30 am..but not that often

so basically i worked 7-8 hrs daily,I was a middle class in hong kong,making good money..

now I'm facing a problem.

as i noticed they finished school like around 3:30 here so the earliest time i can work is 4,I'm now teaching at a studio,giving me 2 days,they pay me $25/hr.so basically i work till 7pm,i found I'm the latest one who stayed there,so i think they are trying the best to give me students,so 3 hrs,$75,i make $150 a week,$600 a month

yes I'm not kidding,$600 a month...and I was trying to set up my own home studio by i found the calgary by law only allows me to have maximum of 15 sessions a week.and as I knew for the beginners here they'd like to take a 30 min lesson so i am only allow to get 7.5 hrs of pay in my home studio which i need to register a permit and a licence for $685 a yr.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/bylaw-forces-calgary-piano-teacher-to-shut-down-1.1126657

I dun really know what I can do to make a living.economics here is turning down like there will be a big lay off of 400 employees this month which my hubby's buddy is working there.only place is still under mortgage I really hope I can make more to save up whatever..like we can't save up since I moved here,cos no one was hiring till june(like they follow school calendars,only teach 38 lessons a yr so i will be unemployed in july and aug)

I tried to get more students but seems it's not a right time now..

please help

Offline louispodesta

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1077
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #1 on: September 29, 2015, 11:03:28 PM »
okay,so I am new to Canada,since I moved here last Nov as I married my hubby and I moved to Calgary .

I have been teaching piano for 12 yrs in my hometown(ABRSM),I made good money since I taught in the morning at around 10:30 for kindergarten kids(they have half day school) and some of the elementary there were still half day so yea...I normal off at 7 :30 pm or 10:00 pm..during examination seasons i sometimes teaches till 12:30 am..but not that often

so basically i worked 7-8 hrs daily,I was a middle class in hong kong,making good money..

now I'm facing a problem.

as i noticed they finished school like around 3:30 here so the earliest time i can work is 4,I'm now teaching at a studio,giving me 2 days,they pay me $25/hr.so basically i work till 7pm,i found I'm the latest one who stayed there,so i think they are trying the best to give me students,so 3 hrs,$75,i make $150 a week,$600 a month

yes I'm not kidding,$600 a month...and I was trying to set up my own home studio by i found the calgary by law only allows me to have maximum of 15 sessions a week.and as I knew for the beginners here they'd like to take a 30 min lesson so i am only allow to get 7.5 hrs of pay in my home studio which i need to register a permit and a licence for $685 a yr.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/bylaw-forces-calgary-piano-teacher-to-shut-down-1.1126657

I dun really know what I can do to make a living.economics here is turning down like there will be a big lay off of 400 employees this month which my hubby's buddy is working there.only place is still under mortgage I really hope I can make more to save up whatever..like we can't save up since I moved here,cos no one was hiring till june(like they follow school calendars,only teach 38 lessons a yr so i will be unemployed in july and aug)

I tried to get more students but seems it's not a right time now..

please help
Speaking as a classically trained pianist, who is also philosopher, I am most acquainted with the logic and the logistics associated with your situation.

1) I am astounded, but not surprised, by the restrictions the "Great White North" places on a piano teacher.  Fifteen students is a full load at any major music school, but in terms of 30 minute lessons, this rule is a very bad joke.

2)  You are not going to change the socialist mindset of the Canadian Parliament.  And, all of the other rules and regulations are all part of their same philosophy.

Therefore, with your geographically related loyalty to your spouse, you have no other option.

Offline dogperson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #2 on: September 29, 2015, 11:27:02 PM »
I hope you will get advice from other teachers-- as I really can only offer a few thoughts.  Look for accompanying gigs, maybe playing in a restaurant/bar?  pianist for a church? 

If it virtually impossible to make a decent living by teaching, see where else you can use your musical skills to generate income. 

Offline louispodesta

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1077
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #3 on: September 30, 2015, 11:08:46 PM »
As I stated in my earlier reply:

["You are not going to change the socialist mindset of the Canadian Parliament.  And, all of the other rules and regulations are all part of their same philosophy.

Therefore, with your geographically related loyalty to your spouse, you have no other option."]

Now then, Dr. Robert Freeman, was the former Dean of the College of Fine Arts at my school, the University of Texas at Austin, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Freeman_   I say was, but he is still very much alive.

The point is:  In terms of his lifelong research, his topic is the unemployment of degreed musicians (En masse).  And, in terms of your given business (government regulated) environment, you cannot achieve what you want to, in terms of monetary teaching.

It may be remotely possible, but is most likely not probable.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 11:20:09 PM »
Socialist mindset of the Canadian Parliament?  In regards to what appears to be a local municipal law?  Parliament governs federal law.

Addendum: I just looked at the link.  It refers to Calgary, which is a city in the province of Alberta.  They seem to be talking about a law in that particular city.  It could even involve even narrower aspects.  It would also not relate to socialism.  We would really have to find out the details about this law to risk guessing.  But that it does not involve Parliament and the federal government, of that I am rather sure.

Offline louispodesta

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1077
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #5 on: October 01, 2015, 11:02:58 PM »
Socialist mindset of the Canadian Parliament?  In regards to what appears to be a local municipal law?  Parliament governs federal law.

Addendum: I just looked at the link.  It refers to Calgary, which is a city in the province of Alberta.  They seem to be talking about a law in that particular city.  It could even involve even narrower aspects.  It would also not relate to socialism.  We would really have to find out the details about this law to risk guessing.  But that it does not involve Parliament and the federal government, of that I am rather sure.
Hey, dear friend, we are not talking about 330 million people (and its so-called associated government), as is the case in the U.S. 

Labor union regulation has always been, from the top down, part and parcel of a nationalist government socialist philosophy.  If you disagree, just do some research and then name me the cities of this world wherein they tell you how many piano students you can teach at one time.

Accordingly, if it was true that an individual municipality could do it on their own (and get away with it), then that presupposes that all of the lawyers in said municipality are either brain dead, or have advised their clients that this law conforms with the national Constitution of this particular section of Canada!

As I have previously stated, this lady has no realistic options!  That is:  given her present geographic location.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #6 on: October 01, 2015, 11:23:55 PM »
Thank you, Louispodesta, for explaining.  Now I understand what you are saying. 

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #7 on: October 01, 2015, 11:25:05 PM »
it double posted

Offline dogperson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #8 on: October 01, 2015, 11:40:03 PM »
Sorry, I don't understand these responses based on the original post.  Wasn't the OP asking for ways , other than teaching, to supplement her income?  If that is correct, that is the help she needs.  Can't other teachers with limits to their income from teaching, no matter what the reason, help out with providing other ideas that worked for them?? 

Offline dcstudio

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2423
Re: can't make a living
«Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 12:18:30 AM »


welcome to the West. :)   

some stuff you can do.

Accompanying--not sure about Canada--but here in the states the band students go to competitions in the fall and in the spring... if you start networking in the schools and letting them know who you are and what you can do they will start considering you.

Church...  these gigs can be rough but they are steady.  Choir pianist---praise band keyboards--whatever--when you get in at church you get the weddings and all the incidental piano work too.  Plus it's a garden of potential students.

Creative lessoning...  there are lessons that people want to take that aren't usually offered---songwriting, jazz piano, arranging... get creative with your ads

Session work--there are recording studios in Calgary.. often times they need pianists.   These are not bigtime gigs...  commercials usually but it pays $75 an hour.   Send a resume a photo and a demo.

Perform:  get in with the local cultural center or art district and give a free recital.... if you can piggy-back another event--an art or music festival--you will get tons of exposure.

Wedding planners--look up all the wedding planners in your area and send them a photo and letter stating that you are available for service music or reception or both.
Funeral homes... creepy gig--but it pays... send them stuff too.

Go to the local music stores and put up your business card-- they always have a bulletin board.
Go to the music dept of the nearest college and put your business card up as an accompanist on their bulletin board... these pay nicely!

Join the local piano teacher's club--oh the meetings are boring as anything--but I have scored so much work through these.

Call all the voice teachers or email them and send them your resume-- a lot of voice teachers need accompanists, too.

Gotta get your name out there...  once it is... you will be fine.


Best of Luck to you!!

I left 45 students when I relocated...  I understand!  it's so hard to get reestablished.