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Wage watchers: how much does a music teacher earn?
Music teacher Koen Geudens, 29, from Antwerp talks about what he earns and how he spends it.
What do you do for a living?
I teach music in two schools in Turnhout, nineteen hours in total: nine hours of concert-level piano at the Heilig Graf school and ten hours of piano, accompaniment and music culture at the City Academy. It doesn’t add up to a full-time job, but I am also a musician on the side – a jazz pianist – in several bands, such as King of the Fugazis and the jazz quintet Rubyland.
Do you enjoy your work?
Yes! I see myself as a musician, but giving music lessons guarantees me a steady income as well as job satisfaction. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to pass on your passion for music to children and adults. In my piano lessons I try to pass on an attitude and an open vision; it is extremely important to get to know yourself in order to develop as a pianist. That is precisely the basis required to start improvising.
What do you think of your salary?
I am very pleased with my wages (€1,800 after tax plus variable income as performing musician). I teach for three days a week. The rest of the week, I play for my own projects. The money I get as a performing musician varies from one month to the next, so I can’t put a figure on it.
Would you look elsewhere if the money was better?
That depends. Maybe if it means teaching closer to home, or teaching all 19 hours in one school. But it must always be compatible with my music.
Do you save?
Yes, I pay money into a pension fund every month, and I try to put some money aside on top of that.
Are you more careful with your money because of the crisis?
No. I did notice three years ago that musicians were getting fewer offers to play at functions or receptions, but my teaching job gives me some security.
What do you resent parting with your money for?
Gadgets such as iPhones, smartphones and the like. I just want to make phone calls!
What do you gladly pay for?
CDs, records, books (especially about music or the two world wars), and anything music-related: a piano, music software…
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would buy a detached house so I could play music with all my heart, without worrying about disturbing the neighbours. There would be a rehearsal room and a studio. I would also buy a big car in which all my equipment fits. And I would give some money to a good cause.