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Becoming a Voice & Piano Teacher in Brooklyn
Posted on April 29th, 2017 
I’ve taught private voice and piano lessons in Oviedo, Orlando, Tampa, and Brooklyn.
The Piano at Planet e Studios in Brooklyn
I have to say, Brooklyn was by far the most challenging. In New York, the majority of services are delivered to you. Even your groceries.  

So following that trend, most music schools send their music teachers to the homes of the students, whereas in Florida, the norm is for students to come to the teacher, whether it is at their home or a music school location.

When I started looking for positions as a freelance music teacher, I couldn’t be the type of teacher that goes to the students’ homes because public transportation takes forever and parking is ridiculous. So low and behold, I tried to set up shop Florida-style, with students coming to me. 

First, I had to convince my landlady to even allow us to put a piano in our apartment. We were subleasing and she was worried that the weight of the piano would mess up the wood floors. After much pleading and solutions to how we would make sure the piano’s weight was distributed properly, she finally agreed.

I went on Craig’s List to find a piano and as luck would have it, I found a beauty for almost a steal. Not being of the NY scene for too long, I wasn’t familiar with the trains and distances of New York, but I certainly found out when I went to get my piano. I took the M train to Broadway, where I switched to the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road), ended up missing my stop so I had to get off and wait for another LIRR to go back to the right stop, but I finally made it. 
LIRR Sampler Electric and Diesel Services
The gentleman who sold me the piano drove the piano and I back home (THANK GOD). It was about an hour drive with a complete stranger, and when we got to my neighborhood, heliterally dropped my piano and I off on the curb of my street and said good luck!  

Let me add in that we lived on the 2nd floor of a walk-up apartment building, which means there’s no elevator. My husband, a friend, our super, and a random neighbor- who really just wanted to go home but couldn’t because we were blocking him- all carried that 400lb. beast of a piano into our apartment.

So I started teaching out of my apartment, and all was well. Except for the lovely construction that took place right outside my 2nd story window during my lessons.
Construction Scaffolding On A New York City Street
Then we moved. Luckily my students were able to continue lessons with me as my new location was even closer for their commute. That was really cool. The piano transport was not a beloved task though. This time, we moved to the 4th floor of an apartment building that did have a small elevator…after a flight of stairs. We had to carry that piano up the stairs, and then flip it on it’s side to fit in the elevator, only to drag it into the back-most room of the apartment. My piano tuner had his work cut out for him after that shlep.

This time around, my husband and I really wanted to make a beautiful music room. We turned our spare bedroom into a full music studio, with capabilities not just for my teaching voice and piano, but also for my husband’s business in recording, editing, mixing and mastering video and audio. We painted it and everything.

Nice, right? Alas, I was ready to teach in our new apartment. In Florida, I would dedicate 4-hour blocks of time for all my students to come in back to back. In NY, and specifically where I lived in Brooklyn, I found that to be completely unreliable and impossible. For my students who took the train or the bus, sometimes the trains would be late or the stations would say“not in service,” and the buses wouldn’t show.  

For my students who drove, sometimes they would spend their lesson time just trying to find parking! So I had to space out the days and times with at least 30 minutes to an hour in between lessons.

When my students came in for their lessons, everything was smooth and dandy. Except for my two chihuahuas who never stopped barking at the constant traffic from the elevator next to our apartment- and yes that brown mop is a chihuahua. Or any other noise that could be heard in or around our building, for that matter.  
Dogs Laying On The Couch At Planet e Studios
And except for the radiators that would turn on so astronomically loud right in the middle of a lesson because there’s no central heating. 

But otherwise, the lessons themselves were awesome. I had fantastic, patient students of all ages, denominations, interests, you name it. It was by far my most eclectic group of students and I loved working with them.

Loved as in the past tense, because now, I'm back to my old stomping grounds in Palm Coast, FL. This time, I'm a voice and piano teacher who's got Brooklyn experience. I'm looking forward to combining my Florida and New York teaching styles. I know I'll definitely be ready for anything.
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By Emily Feinberg-Hosier
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This isn't really one of those dramatic "AND THEN YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!" stories. The whole experience was quite actually smooth sailing.
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