Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Should You Add Early Morning Lessons to Your Teaching Schedule?

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a Toronto-area piano teacher who had added a fascinating twist to her teaching schedule: early morning lessons. She not only offered lessons in the 7-9am time slot but was able to fill them.

If you think about it, early time slots aren’t such a far-fetched idea. Many parents regularly drive their children to 7am competitive sports practices several times in a week. Plenty of students have a paper route that they navigate at ungodly hours of the morning.

So why not music lessons?

Those who teach younger students traditionally utilize weekday afternoons, evenings and Saturdays. As long as your teaching space is usable before 9am, there’s nothing to stop an enterprising music teacher from offering lessons at the crack of dawn when they will have little or no competition from other teachers. Two types of students in particular could benefit from these early morning times:

  1. School-age students with possible sports or work conflicts after school
  2. Working adults

The financial benefits of offering morning lesson times are not to be undrestimated. If you fill the 7-9am time slot five days a week at, say, $40 per hour, that’s an extra $400 per week added to your bottom line. With a 32-week teaching schedule, that would amount to an extra $12,800 of teaching income over the course of a year.

Have any of you ever taught at the first flush of morning? How was your concentration? How was the experience of your students different from later in the day?

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16 Comments

  1. Charlene

    I’ve been offering early-morning lesson times for years. I love the fact that these lesson times don’t interfere with my daytime rehearsal schedule (which often starts around 10am). In some ways, I find my students in that time slot are more mentally alert than after a long day at school. Plus – there’s nothing like teaching a piano lesson first thing in the morning with a warm cup of coffee in your hand … it’s a great way to start the day!

  2. Chris Foley

    Thanks Charlene!

  3. Bethany

    I am unable to teach early morning lessons myself, but my daughter started taking 7am lessons this year from a friend (we trade and teach each other’s kids) and it has made a big difference for us. She is doing much better this year with piano and it actually takes away a lot of the stress of trying to cram one more thing into the afterschool hours. Before, that feeling of stress would leak into her lesson times and her afterschool practice time.
    Early morning lessons have made all the difference for us.

  4. […] Should You Add Early Morning Lessons to Your Teaching Schedule? –  ”A few months ago, I had a conversation with a Toronto-area piano teacher who had added a fascinating twist to her teaching schedule: early morning lessons. She not only offered lessons in the 7-9am time slot but was able to fill them…” […]

  5. Carol

    I have also been teaching in the early morning hours for years, with cup of tea in hand. I find these students to be more alert and we hardly ever need to reschedule do to conflicts. Teaching the in morning allows me to take on more students without giving up my Saturdays. A win- win for sure!

  6. Linda

    I am a product of early morning lessons. As a child I had lessons at 7 am, before school. My mom made it a special day for me. When I got home I got my favorite breakfast!
    Now, I have students two days a week in the early morning hours. Everyone is more alert, and more receptive to teaching! Other activities are never a problem.

  7. Kerri

    I started teaching early morning lessons this fall. I start at 6 am one morning and 6:30 two mornings and am done by 8:30. It’s helping with my after-school hours with my own children (I only teach two afternoons a week so I can still take my children to their lessons and other activities and I am done before dinner time.) I am not a morning person, so adapting to waking up early has been tricky for all of us, but I’m mostly a big fan of the new schedule.

    I do think 6 am is too early, though. My students look a little bleary-eyed and have a little bit harder time concentrating for the first few minutes. I’d change it to a later time, but they’ve requested it, so for now I’m making do.

  8. Chris Foley

    6am….Kerri, that’s awesome!

  9. Gabriele

    I teach several mornings a week from 8:15-9:00am. It works well for morning parents with morning children. If they are not up at least one hour before school normally this will be a nightmare for them. The ones who can do it love this time slot because it frees up their afternoons.

  10. Ed Kihm

    Great point! Early morning lessons, yes, I agree and have been teaching early morning hours for years, I’m a morning person and a night person but sometimes a lousy afternoon person so a power nap does come in handy on a daily basis. I always offer morning, afternoon and evening lessons Monday through Friday with hours from 8am til 9pm and Saturday mornings from 8 am to 12 noon. As for the mornings occasionally I’ve started at early as 7 am and this was generally for those students who were taking lessons before they had to be at work and had too busy of a family life to take evening lessons. Other than that the morning and early afternoon schedule has been very accommodating for home school families, 2nd or 3rd shift workers and retirees…some students who work close by take their lesson during their lunch break in the early afternoon!
    I found that if I make my self more available to students then I’ll have more students and now with the technology of the internet with web cam lessons I’m able to accommodate students in other time zones so I can utilize those morning and early afternoon times like never before.

  11. Bella Love

    Great idea!!!! I only teach early on Saturdays and I do like it. Hadn’t thought about weekdays, but now I will consider it. Thanks!

  12. Eliz. K

    My husband was just the other day telling me that his sister took early morning piano lessons through elementary school; I hadn’t heard of it before then. It seems like a good idea for scheduling and attention (at least for morning people!).

  13. Carol

    I have been teaching early morning lessons for years, starting at 6:00 a.m. Those are actually my most popular times.

  14. Sara

    As a student I used to take lessons in the early morning hours and those were always my most productive. As a teacher, I have only taught in the afternoon/evening. I just recently decided to add morning hours in to my schedule. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a great idea!

  15. shannon coates

    My kids’ piano teacher comes to my house at 7:30am on Thursdays and teaches them just before I take them to school (they’re out the door by 8:40 in order to be at school on time). This arrangement works VERY well for me and for my kids. I feel she actually gets them at the best time of the day – they aren’t tired from a full day of school and they aren’t wired because it’s the weekend.

    As it happens, my kids’ piano teacher is also a very fine singer who takes lessons with me. So she teaches the kids from 7:30-8:30, after which I take them to school. Upon my return, she has her singing lesson from 9:00-10:00.

    I feel VERY fortunate that this arrangement works !!

  16. […] Should You Add Early Morning Lessons to Your Teaching Schedule? –  ”A few months ago, I had a conversation with a Toronto-area piano teacher who had added a fascinating twist to her teaching schedule: early morning lessons. She not only offered lessons in the 7-9am time slot but was able to fill them…” […]

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