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Old 24.08.2009, 22:31
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setting up as a piano teacher

I am thinking of setting up a small (as in only a few hours per week) piano teaching studio in Meilen. I’ve been reading lots of very useful threads about setting up a business, especially with regard to permits, insurance etc, but what I am after now is to hear how other private music teachers have gone about it, and about any particular pitfalls that await the unwary music teacher.

I was initially told by my then Gemeinde (I’ve just moved to Meilen from Zürich so new Gemeinde) that I would have to wait three years before I would be able to be self-employed (I’m non-EU and that was two and a half years ago now) so, given that I get the go ahead and sort everything out, I won’t start teaching until I can do everything legally and above board.

I am hoping to teach at home but realise this might create more headaches as far as insurance requirements go, and I am planning on doing all my teaching in English. I am also wondering if it will be worth setting everything up for just a few students.

Thanks!

Kate
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Old 24.08.2009, 22:41
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Er, could you not just do it on the QT? I'm sure once you get a few students the referrals will come in. Many English teachers do this: start giving occassional 'conversation' classes - cash in hand - and before they know it - if they're any good - they have a small business on their hands.

When it comes to AHV, I understand you can retrospectively let them know what you made and how much is owed them. Then the tax people will be happy to cooperate if you're transparent. The only problem I see is your permit. Do you have a significant (Swiss) other who may help?

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Old 24.08.2009, 22:54
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Well, I'd hate to be chucked out of the country because I didn't do it all 'properly', but I know what you mean. It would be an awful lot easier to just start teaching and take it from there. I've done this twice before in two other countries but Switzerland is a whole new ball game!

Thanks,

Kate
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Old 26.08.2009, 11:37
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

I'm afraid I can't give you any pointers on the business side, but I'd love to hear what kind of style / standard you're hoping to teach - I might have a potential pupil for you!
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Old 26.08.2009, 13:36
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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I am thinking of setting up a small (as in only a few hours per week) piano teaching studio in Meilen.
I am hoping to teach at home but realise this might create more headaches as far as insurance requirements go...
It just struck me that if you live in rented accomodation, it might not be only the insurance that makes problems. If you are using a 'normal' piano, you might have the neighbours complaining about the irritation of repetitive practice.

Music is allowed within certain hours, but if your business were to take off, you might have problems if one lesson follows another. I found this site which gives more information. This site for translation of same.

Good luck anyway. Perhaps you live in a farmhouse 2 kilometers frem the next building.
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Old 26.08.2009, 17:49
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Thanks for that info, Longbyt! I now live in a semi-detached house in which we have the top two floors and there is one person who lives on the ground floor. Our top floor is higher than the house next door so we don't share a wall or floor/ceiling with anyone. We have a lot of space behind and in front between us and anybody else and our other neighbours are quite a bit below us with a big driveway in between and have two kids who have their violin lessons at home.

Part of the reason who picked this place was so we could play our instruments and so far so good! If I went ahead I would only teach an hour or two a day to fit in with my small daughter. It's not going to turn me into a millionaire but I'd just like to feel like I was at least working a little bit!

And I really do want to do it all legally, even though I know there must be a lot of teachers who aren't. I feel our existence here in Switzerland is precarious enough with our non-EU permits for me to go and jeopardise it further.

My biggest concern is regarding the insurance. I've seen people advertise courses on their premises in which they say those attending must have their own insurance but I don't think that would cut it in this instance.

Kate
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Old 26.08.2009, 17:51
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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I'm afraid I can't give you any pointers on the business side, but I'd love to hear what kind of style / standard you're hoping to teach - I might have a potential pupil for you!
Thanks! I specialise in beginners, especially children, something I decided to do after I had such a bad experience myself with my first teacher. She used to hit my fingers and yell and I was scared stiff. It's a miracle I ever continued!

I've also taught lots of older students and adults. What style do you like to play?

Kate
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Old 26.08.2009, 19:29
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Set up your studio. Get some students. It is legal to teach and practice at home, too, by the way. Start earning money. Claim it on your taxes. You will receive a friendly letter asking you to please register as selbständig erbwerbend. You go do this. You will get a bill for your AHV costs. Make sure you put about 20% of your income aside for taxes and AHV. You will be fine.

Or, go register before you start teaching.

In any case, Switzerland is a civilized country and no one is going to throw a music teacher in jail for having a few students before registering.
I taught for several years during my studies before even realizing I should register. That was no problem. I just received a bill - rückwirkend .

In terms of insurance. If you rent a studio and keep an instrument you'll need a separate insurance. I had my studio registered at Generali as a Musikschule plus having one concert grand insured. Cost a couple hundred francs per year.
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Old 27.08.2009, 07:41
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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Set up your studio. Get some students. It is legal to teach and practice at home, too, by the way.
Wrong! You must check with your landlords and get permission in writing. This is written into all of the rental agreements that I have had in the Zurich area. When I originally approached my landlords to teach guitar they refused permission. After some negotiation with them I am now able to teach for a few hours each day within set times, dependant on all of the neighbours consenting. My music room is 2 floors away from my nearest neighbour and in a half-commercial building, and I still had problems.

I have a neighbour who is a piano teacher who also has restrictions (not during lunch or after 7pm etc) and she has taught successfully now for over 15 years from her home, within these rules.

Check your rental agreement. If it mentions musikunterricht then do not ignore what it says or you will potentially be looking for a new home.
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Old 27.08.2009, 08:31
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

I am an opera singer. The house literally shakes when I sing and still no one has the right to tell me to stop. The piano is a much less penetrating
instrument and should pose no trouble for anybody. I recommend contacting the SMPV (Swiss Music Teacher's Association - www.smpv.ch) for details and reading this from Ktipp:

Quote:
Auch wenn man kein Liebhaber von Arien oder Schuberts Liedern ist: Der Opernsängerin nebenan können Sie das Üben nicht verbieten.

Singen oder Musizieren ist jedoch zeitlich beschränkt, mindestens während der allgemeinen Mittags- oder Nachtruhe muss die Sängerin pausieren. Unzulässig sind während dieser Zeit auch lautes Lachen und Grölen.

Normalerweise schreibt die Hausordnung Nachtruhe von 22 bis 7 Uhr vor und bestimmt, dass man den Regler bei Radio, TV-Apparat und CD-Player nur bis Zimmerlautstärke aufdrehen darf. Sogar wann man duschen darf, kann die Hausordnung vorschreiben. Denn das Duschen ist oft störend laut. In vielen Mehrfamilienhäusern ist es deshalb zwischen 22 Uhr und 6 Uhr verboten.

Jeder empfindet Lautstärke anders. Deshalb ist es meist besser, sich bei andern Nachbarn zu erkundigen, ob ihnen die Duschgeräusche oder das Üben der Berufssängerin ebenfalls auf die Nerven gehen. Denn wenn solche Geräusche die Nachbarn massiv stören, muss der Vermieter einschreiten.

Vier Stunden lang dauerndes Exerzieren von Arien kann die Wohnqualität stark beeinträchtigen. Dies gilt ebenso für regelmässig überlauten Kinderlärm.
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Old 27.08.2009, 10:31
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

There might be a difference between private practicing and music lessons - this is taken from Zürcher Unterländer:

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Grenzfall Musikunterricht
Ein Grenzfall sind Musikstunden. Zwei bis drei Stunden Hausmusik pro Tag sind in einer Mietwohnung grundsätzlich erlaubt, solange die Ruhezeiten respektiert werden. Dass eine Mieterin oder ein Mieter in diesem Ausmass in der Privatwohnung Musikunterricht erteilt, sollte zulässig sein. Nicht zulässig sind in einer Mietwohnung sehr laute Musikinstrumente wie Trompete oder Schlagzeug, unabhängig davon, ob man Unterricht erteilt oder nicht.

(...)

Verbote im Mietvertrag
In gewissen Fällen enthält der Mietvertrag oder die Hausordnung genauere Regeln über die Zulässigkeit von Berufsarbeit in der Wohnung. Diese sind allerdings nur verbindlich, solange sie einen sachlichen Grund haben und verhältnismässig sind. Über ein Verbot von wenigen Nachhilfestunden oder von Büroarbeit ohne Kundenverkehr darf man sich als Mieterin oder Mieter zweifellos hinwegsetzen. Enthält der Mietvertrag ein generelles Verbot von Musikstunden, sollte man dieses hingegen nicht ohne Rücksprache mit der Vermieterschaft missachten. Denn Musikunterricht in der Privatwohnung ist ohnehin schon ein Grenzfall
Private practicing or music lessons for two to three hours a day are in general acceptable. Very loud music instruments like trumpets or drums are according to this article not allowed. I have myself though practiced trombone for 30 minutes daily in a rented appartment without problems...

If the rental contract explicitely prohibits giving music lessons, you'll have to respect that.
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Old 27.08.2009, 16:21
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Thanks, everyone. I'll definitely check our rental agreement. It's very useful to hear of the experiences of others, both good and bad.

Can I ask one further question? Did you all take out additional insurance if you are teaching at home?

Thanks,

Kate
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Old 27.08.2009, 16:26
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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Thanks, everyone. I'll definitely check our rental agreement. It's very useful to hear of the experiences of others, both good and bad.

Can I ask one further question? Did you all take out additional insurance if you are teaching at home?

Thanks,

Kate
I didn't and was told it is unnecessary from my guy at Generali, but you may wish to have a sit down meeting with your insurance rep to discuss your plans.
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Old 28.08.2009, 14:09
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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Private practicing or music lessons for two to three hours a day are in general acceptable. Very loud music instruments like trumpets or drums are according to this article not allowed. I have myself though practiced trombone for 30 minutes daily in a rented appartment without problems...

If the rental contract explicitely prohibits giving music lessons, you'll have to respect that.
tildaoz' living situation seems ideal for this hobby, but just in case someone else is thinking along the same lines and reads this but lives in a more 'usual' appartment building with one flat directly above the next - the wording of the law isn't necessarily going to be enough if you put your neighbours' back up.

You are allowed to make music and they are allowed to hammer nails into walls, drill holes in same, listen to music, practice their own instruments etc. It might not always be by coincidence that just as you start a lesson, the drilling starts again.
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Old 28.08.2009, 21:46
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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There might be a difference between private practicing and music lessons - this is taken from Zürcher Unterländer:



Private practicing or music lessons for two to three hours a day are in general acceptable. Very loud music instruments like trumpets or drums are according to this article not allowed. I have myself though practiced trombone for 30 minutes daily in a rented appartment without problems...

If the rental contract explicitely prohibits giving music lessons, you'll have to respect that.
I disagree with the above interpretation. An apartment is for residential purposes. It cannot be used for commercial purposes without the landlord's explicit permission. Also compliance with municipal zoning laws is required.

Often, some professional activities may be tolerated. That works as long as no neighbor is upset. Then the music will stop.
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Old 28.08.2009, 21:51
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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I didn't and was told it is unnecessary from my guy at Generali, but you may wish to have a sit down meeting with your insurance rep to discuss your plans.
Do not trust what the sales agent says. They will promise you the moon! Get it in writing. Your choices are:
1. Read the fine print, particularly the exclusions.
2. Yourself write a clause into the contract stating your commercial intents and including its coverage.
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Old 28.08.2009, 21:55
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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I am an opera singer. The house literally shakes when I sing and still no one has the right to tell me to stop. The piano is a much less penetrating
instrument and should pose no trouble for anybody. I recommend contacting the SMPV (Swiss Music Teacher's Association - www.smpv.ch) for details and reading this from Ktipp:
You may sing as loudly as you please.

The problem is when you start a commercial activity, students are coming and going, etc. That might not be reconcilable with the residential purpose.
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Old 28.08.2009, 22:02
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

Apparently, everyone here has an opinion as to whether or not making music and teaching at home is legal or not. As far as giving further advice from my 10 years of living and working here as a professional musician and teacher, I am going to suggest that the OP join the SMPV (costs 145 per year) and get a free Rechtsberatung (legal consultation) available to all members. They will surely be able to clear up any doubts or worries you may have, and you can rest assured that they are on your side.

But I repeat, no one and I mean no one can forbid you from making music in your home unless you yourself were to sign a contract to that effect.
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Old 09.09.2009, 20:44
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Re: setting up as a piano teacher

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I've also taught lots of older students and adults. What style do you like to play?

Kate
Hi Kate, I've completed my Grade 8 ABRSM exams years ago but got distracted by boys blah blah. Have some time to myself now and am really really keen to complete the diploma certifications and will need a qualified piano teacher for that. Will you be able to help?
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