Teaching in Conservatory Spaces

Sunderman Conservatory students may wish to teach applied lessons to their own students using Conservatory spaces. The following is a guide to Conservatory policies on the use of Conservatory spaces for this purpose.

Making plans

Before a Conservatory student can teach private students in applied lessons in Conservatory spaces, the Conservatory student must:

  1. Notify the Conservatory Associate Director of their desire to use Conservatory spaces to teach their own students in private lessons.
  2. Obtain a recommendation to teach applied lessons from their own applied lessons instructor. This recommendation should be sent to the Conservatory Associate Director.
  3. The Conservatory Associate Director will review the recommendation and may request a meeting with the prospective teacher to discuss their plans. The prospective teacher’s request may be submitted to the Conservatory faculty for comment and review. The Associate Director will inform the student and their applied teacher of the decision to allow or not allow the student to continue the process to teach in Conservatory spaces.
  4. Obtain all relevant Pennsylvania clearances for working with children if the Conservatory student plans to teach anyone under 18 years of age. This is required by Pennsylvania law. There are costs associated with some of the required clearances, which must be paid by the student. Clearances can take several weeks to process, and no spaces can be reserved or any teaching begin until clearances are complete. Clearances include:
    1. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
    2. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
    3. Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check
    4. For more on obtaining clearances, visit: PA.gov
    5. Once received, clearances must be on file in the Conservatory office as well as the Office of Human Resources for Gettysburg College.
  5. Obtain liability insurance. One option for students is student membership in the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
    1. Learn more: Student PSEA
    2. Join as a student online: Join Student PSEA
  6. Reserve teaching space. Conservatory spaces (practice rooms, classrooms, etc.) can be reserved on a space-available basis once the student has met the above obligations and been approved.
    1. In the 25Live request under “notes to scheduler,” students should note that they have their clearances and that the Conservatory Associate Director is their sponsoring faculty member.
    2. Note that Conservatory activities have first priority and may pre-empt an existing reservation if required.
  7. Renewal Process:
    1. Approvals for Conservatory students to use Conservatory spaces to teach their own private students are valid for the academic year and expire at the end of the current academic year regardless of when approval was obtained.
    2. Renewal of this approval shall be done each academic year the Conservatory student wishes to use Conservatory spaces to teach their own private students.
    3. The renewal process will be expedited. Students are required to renew their recommendation to teach from their own applied instructor and submit proof of continued liability insurance. Note: PA Clearances are good for five years.

Teaching Your Students

There are several good resources online for working with and teaching private music lessons, and students are encouraged to use them to develop their own teaching pedagogy. It is important to remember that teaching lessons to school-age children and adult learners can be very different than the applied lessons students take as music majors and minors. Expectations of both the student instructor and their student learners as well as parents for school-age children must be clear and appropriate.

Conservatory students teaching private lessons are also encouraged to create a music studio teaching handbook, set goals and expectations regarding practice and progress, and define business policies for their studio including payment, cancellation policies, etc. Some resources students may wish to use are:

Lesson Fees

When using a Conservatory space, the following cap is in place for undergraduate students teaching private/applied lessons to their own students:

  • 30 minute lesson: $15.00
  • 60 minute lesson: $30.00

Factors for Consideration

Conservatory students using Conservatory spaces to teach their own students are not employees of Gettysburg College and must not represent themselves as such. Students are prohibited from listing their teaching in Conservatory spaces on resumes and CVs as though they are Conservatory faculty, although such teaching may certainly be listed so long as it is clear this is independent of the College and Conservatory.

Conservatory students teaching private lessons should also be aware of the tax implications of their income derived from their teaching:

When you go to file taxes, you will be doing so as a self-employed taxpayer. This means that likely no taxes were withheld from the money you earned. Even if you’re paid in cash, you still need to keep an accurate accounting and record of all income received for reporting to the IRS at tax time. Once you net more than $400 a year teaching private lessons, the IRS requires you to [report this income and] file a return. (taken from/learn more at: How to Claim Money That Is Made by Teaching Private Lessons on Tax Returns?)