I also work as a peripatetic teacher although I suspect I have been doing it longer than the author! It IS a great job in many ways; the pay can be excellent and you're in charge of your own time to a large extent. It's also busy and fun a lot of the time, working with children. However, there are so many different ways to be employed as a peri - much of the time there are no contracts - especially in private schools, and when it comes down to it, you have absolutely no status as a proper teacher and it can be very hard sometimes. Sometimes class teachers can be obstructive as they think their lessons should not be interrupted by a child having to go to a music lesson. I would never advise against this job - it's a good one - but just be aware that there is a downside and you are in fact running your own business. Don't be a walkover!
WHAT I DO I am a freelance professional singer in the classical music business. I also work as a peripatetic singing teacher at various schools for 20 hours a week, and teach a few private pupils at home, too. HOW I TRAINED I gained a professional diploma in vocal performance after four years' study at a London music college. HOW I GOT STARTED I took on a few private students (by word of mouth) whilst still at college, and then found a post teaching singing at a Saturday Theatre School for children. This experience and training combined meant I was able to start applying for peripatetic teaching work in schools. WHAT IS PERIPATETIC TEACHING? Peripatetic teachers (or "Peri's" as we call ourselves) are specialist instrumental or vocal teachers who visit schools, usually one to two days per week. Usually students are taught individually or in small groups of up to 3 or 4, for about half an hour during the school day. Their timetable usually rotates each week so that they don't keep missing the same classes. Peri's are either employed by the schools direct, or by the local authority Music Service. Music Services often send Peri's round several schools in the area, so it is quite common to do a morning at one school, then the afternoon at another. For this reason, Peri's usually need access to a car. WHAT ELSE IS INVOLVED? Usually Peri's are expected to get involved with the extra curricular activities of each school's music department - helping prepare students for concerts and shows, running ensembles such as a choir or wind band and attending rehearsals and concerts, often after school. This can be hectic in December, as your average peri might have Christmas Carol Concerts at four different schools to prepare for! A very important part of the job is preparing students for the performance element of their GCSE and A Level Music exams, and also entering gifted students for external music exams. These extra activities mean lots of extra hours, but luckily, most peri teachers can claim extra pay for this. FINANCIAL REWARDS It is possible to earn a very good living as a peripatetic music teacher. On average, pay is between £18-£25 per hour, depending on location and experience. Usually, peri teachers are classed as self-employed, so the amount quoted above is gross (before tax). Most self-employed peri's do not get paid in the school holidays, which means they are only earning for 36-40 weeks of the year. This means the money has to last across all 52 weeks of the year, and the tax man will want quite a lot of it back at the end of it! It is advisable to find a good acountant who can help you deal with these matters. Some peri teachers are lucky enough to be on a contract, so they are paid across the whole year. OTHER REWARDS Peri teaching is an excellent way for up and coming musicians and singers to earn a living while they strive to forge a performing career. The hours are often very flexible, many schools even give teachers time off when they have concerts or tours, usually employing a deputy (or "dep") to fill in while the teacher is absent. Some peri's get jobs as dep's, filling in for other teachers as and when required. In this way, it's possible to have many hours per week available to devote to your performing career, and still earn a decent living from your part-time teaching. PRIVATE TEACHING Another way to supplement your income is to take on some private pupils. You need a suitable home environment, usually with a piano or keyboard. Some teachers travel to their pupils' homes instead. Try placing an ad on the web, in a local paper or at your local music shop. Pupils usually come through word of mouth, so you should find your teaching practice will expand after a while. Many musicians and singers also offer tuition in Music Theory, Songwriting & Composing or Arra nging ; there is quite a demand for these skills. Also, you can keep pupils on all year round - a great way of easing the strain of the school wages disappearing during the holidays. JOB SATISFACTION If you love music it can be very rewarding helping someone learn an instrument, and you will meet a wide range of interesting people. I have made personal friends with many of my adult students.