Finding my calling

Stephen Poirier said: Sep 15, 2010
Stephen PoirierViolin
6 posts

Here’s my deal: I am a full time strings teacher in a public school system. I travel around to 7 different schools. I’m just not sure I’m cut out for this type of work. I am considering opening a Suzuki Studio full time however I’m really worried how it might affect my financial status. I have a deep love for the method as I myself took Suzuki from age 4. As a public school teacher I have decent pay with great benefits. Can Suzuki provide a decent income and benefits? I just bought a house in April, so that definitely adds to my dilemma. Any thoughts? thank you!

Sara said: Sep 15, 2010
191 posts

It all depends on your area:
1. What kind of demand there is for a violin Suzuki teacher
2. How much people are willing/able to pay

I lived in a very affluent area and had a large studio of 45-50 students steady for 4 1/2 years. I wanted to live closer to family and also further my teacher training. I moved thinking it would not be difficult to set up a similar situation, a studio of 45-50 students etc. I have been here now for three years and I have a total of 11 students. In this particular area, people are not very well off financially for starters, and they don’t value music training as much as sports or other extra-curricular activities.

My best advice would be to start setting up your studio in the afternoon after school and then do a double load until you feel you have enough students to quit the school job.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Stephen Poirier said: Sep 16, 2010
Stephen PoirierViolin
6 posts

Thank you for the reply. That makes a whole lot of sense, and definitely something I will consider. How about benefits? Does the Suzuki Association provide any sort of benefits for teachers? I don’t need much right now: I’m 25 and healthy, but I’m thinking down the road…


Ruth Brons said: Sep 16, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Good and important question.

Make no mistake, the Suzuki Association of the Americas is NOT the employer of Suzuki teachers.

Suzuki teachers may be SELF-EMPLOYED by running their own studio, or be employed full or part-time by various music schools, universities, private or public schools. The SAA does however provide access to, at your own expense, instrument and medical insurance as described in this link:

Jeremy Chesman said: Sep 18, 2010
Jeremy Chesman
Suzuki Association Member
Organ, Recorder, Voice, Harp
Springfield, MO
24 posts

I would echo the comments to build up your studio before you quit your job. Also, use this time to get some name recognition in the community and get some additional training in the upper books, perhaps even taking book 1 on additional instruments (violin, cello, and bass) to increase your marketability.

Also, I think it can be helpful to have a part-time job that is regular, so perhaps you could look into the school district you teach for and see if it would be possible to change your position to half-time. I find it helpful to have that guaranteed income with the potentially volatile income of a studio. I teach Suzuki organ and harp, and also have a part-time organ job. It’s nice to know that every month my mortgage and basic expenses are covered by the paycheck from the church, and that it will always be there.

Susan said: Sep 24, 2010
 Violin, Viola
22 posts

Also I suggest contacting private schools who may want to start a Suzuki violin or
a strings program. Most that I am aware of do after school programs, but some
do before school. It will take away private teaching time, but you can probably
do this 2 days a week leaving the rest and the weekends for private teaching.

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