What to wear to work.

What does your image say about you as a professional music teacher?  I’ve been in many music stores where the teachers wore ripped jeans, an old pair of sneakers, and some kind of a amandarock band fan shirt. And nobody batted an eye. Does appearance matter? If you teach in a music store, you are probably very visible to potential clients and new customers. If you teach in your home, you might only see your regular students. But appearance is important no matter who, how, or where you teach. Which of these clothing suggestions work for your studio?

Dress neatly.  As I see it, the most important part of a professional image is dressing neatly. Are your shoes in good shape? Do your socks match?  Are your clothes free of holes and damage and wrinkles? Do you match? Or do you look like you just climbed out of bed and dashed in to work? (It’s ok if you did, just don’t look like it!).

Wear clothes that fit. Clothes that are too small look inappropriate. Clothes that are too big just look sloppy.  Look for clothing that skims the body without showing off any lumps and bumps. Make sure you are wearing clothes that won’t fall down or ride up at inopportune times.

Dress stylishly. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion.  But I do think it is worthwhile to stay current. Choose modern fabrics in modern styles.  Or pair a trendy top or tie with a classic pair of trousers or skirt.  If jeans are acceptable in your studio, are they are modern cut and wash?  What can you wear with them to make sure you look like you are doing a professional job rather than cleaning out your garage? What kinds of trendy pieces can you incorporate into your wardrobe?

Dress comfortably. Don’t wear four inch heels if you’ll be standing all day, and don’t wear a corset if you’ll be teaching voice.  You may want to rethink the three piece suit if you’re sitting on the floor with children, and you may want to pass up the skinny jeans if you’ll be teaching sacred dance.  Think about your activity over the course of a work day, and wear clothes that help, not hinder.

Wear clothes that are appropriate.  If you are teaching small children, a pair of trousers or jeans and a professional, but comfortable, knit top/pull-over and flats or comfortable dress shoes are probably your go-to style.  But if you are coaching professional musicians you may want a more serious look, such as a sports coat, suit, or even a dress.  Most of us will fall somewhere in between.  Don’t wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low cut.  Avoid clothes with raunchy connotations and foul language.

Dress professionally. Only you and your manager or boss (if you have one) can determine what is the right dress code for your studio.  And certainly what’s on the outside isn’t anywhere near as what’s on the inside.  But it’s important – and necessary – to make sure that what’s on the inside is reflected on the outside.

Dress for the students you want to attract. Wear less accessories than you think you need. Dress a notch above the clientele you work with.  Keep your image neat and stylish, and always wear it with a great attitude, an air of confidence, and a genuine smile.


About the Author

Amanda Furbeck
Amanda has been teaching private piano lessons for 15 years. She plays piano, keyboard, and organ, and has worked in church music for 17 years. Amanda received a B.A. in music from Eastern University. She has written and recorded music that is available on iTunes and, and writes CD reviews for Worship Leader Magazine. She is the author of "Clef Hangers," a book of devotions for wors... [Read more]


  1. Blanche Brooks

    Very nice post! Would love to share this with the teachers at our studio … would that be OK with you?

  2. Andrea

    Great article, thank you!

  3. Soni Conville

    Glad you posted this. I run my own home-based studio and fight a daily battle with my husband over how I should dress. He sees nothing wrong with wearing floppy sweats as long as they’re clean and I’m well groomed. His view is that I’m the boss and can therefore wear whatever I want. My view is that if I want to be taken seriously I have to look professional. While I don’t dress to the nines, I do make sure my clothing fits your description. The only nod I give to casual is bare feet. I just had the hardwood floors in my studio replaced; the old ones took a beating from shoes, especially moms’ high heels. After installing the new flooring I instituted a shoe-free policy and placed a bench to sit down and remove shoes and cubbies to store them in my front hallway. Even then, I make sure to wear clean socks that have no holes. 🙂 I’ve yet to hear a complaint.

  4. Marilyn

    If you want to be considered professional, dress that way. I don’t care if you’re the boss. You can’t pedal properly wearing flip-flops! It pains me that professional teachers need this reminder.

  5. Melody

    Agreed! I opened my studio after over twenty years in public and private schools. I spent good money on my wardrobe to look professional. I decided that would continue to wear the same outfits (I am a big Ann Taylor fan) in which I had invested because I wanted to maintain that same professional demeanor working for myself. I wear nice jewelry, style my hair and wear makeup (in a former life I was a makeup artist). I wanted to have a reputation as a professional studio and a professional musician–thankfully I have been able to maintain that. This atmosphere corresponds with my use of Music Teachers Helper. MTH makes me look extremely professional and knowledgeable–my studio atmosphere should match. Thank you for sharing, Amanda!