There is a general feeling among teachers that in order to succeed, you must offer every style of music, and teach every instrument from accordion to zither, in order to have a viable studio. However, having subsequently accepted students from some of these teachers, I realize that those teachers have done their students a huge disservice. While I have often been pressured by friends, associates, and even current students to adapt, I believe in offering only what I do best. After all, all those other music teachers out there have to eat, too!
For me, it is all about providing the most value for my students. Not every student wants to learn the two things I am expert enough to teach well. And that’s perfectly fine. I would rather have students who want my instruction because of my specific expertise, rather than because I am cheap, or convenient, or accommodating. When I look back at my own educational career, it is clear that I made the most advancement in the classes of teachers who were teaching only in their field of expertise. I aspire to be the very best teacher for my students, and so I have made the choice to follow my teachers’ examples.
Does that mean I lose out on potential business? Sure, of course I lose potential clients–but I don’t have what those clients want, in any case. And those lost clients don’t have what I want–someone who is passionately committed (or their parents are) to learning exactly what I have to offer.
I probably won’t die rich. But I will die knowing that I improved the lives of the students who chose me, above any other music teacher out there. And that’s saying something.