Unusual home working jobs – vocal coach

Home working but different!

Unusual home working jobs - the vocal coach - Saphron WatsonIt’s been a while since the last in the Unusual Home Working Jobs series, so I was pleased to be put in touch with Saphron Watson, a musician who works at home in the countryside near Telford:

Hi Saphron, what made you work from home originally?
I chose home working because in the long run it would be cost effective especially with the price of petrol these days.  If I was renting I would have had to increase my charges due to overheads and other expenses. By working from home I can afford to keep my prices competitive in the market.
There is also an issue of convenience when home working. I am not working towards a syllabus or prescribed rules and regulations that could restrict student’s creativity while making teaching not fun but stressful. 
I also enjoy working in familiar surroundings which are friendly and not alienating.  Some students need more time because of learning difficulties and home working helps me to give them that special one-to-one approach tailored to their unique needs.

Whereabouts is your recording studio in your home? Was it purpose-built?
What I did was to build my home recording studio as I could afford it. If I had rented somewhere I would have had to have the funds which would have been a large amount of money.  I started off with a single piano and started to just build slowly over the years to now having recording equipment and Logic Express 7, the impressive recording software which has great reviews to this day.

Are there any disadvantages to being a home working musician and vocal coach?
With the birth of internet you now have global reach as a home working vocal coach or musician where you didn’t before. There are no disadvantages in working from home as a vocal coach for these reasons. 
I also get calls from schools asking to hire my services whether it is once a week or fortnightly so it is not as if home working isolates me in the slightest.
The only problem working from home is that I noticed that my health declined due to lack of exercise. I now joined a gym to make sure that I get as much cardiovascular workout as possible to prevent my back stiffening.  

Who are your musical influences?
My friend says that he could hear Mahler and Vaughn Williams’s influences in my compositions.  I would agree with him as that is how I based my relaxation music on.  I just love the long shot melody as that Faure Requiem just touches the innermost part of the human soul. However, having said that: my popular music influences also are Lionel Richie, Elton John, and Motown in general.  I do like to try and sing to most styles of music.

What advice do you have for other musicians who would like to set up a business at home?
To work from home takes a lot of hard work and effort as people need to know that you exist. You are also heavily reliant upon students not cancelling at short notice.
You have to decide whether to charge them for that lesson or risk losing that potential long-term business! I have a learning agreement which states that if a student misses their lesson without providing 48 hrs notice they must pay for that space.
My advice to musicians wanting to work from home is to avoid getting a bank loan if you can.  You can’t rely on 20 students covering the payment as they do drop out eventually. 
So unlike someone who has a secure income from full-time employment which normally rises with inflation, the income which I would have fluctuates according to the number of students taught at any time in the year.  This is also seasonal as during the summer months there is a dip in income due to school holidays or family commitments.

Find out more about Saphron’s singing lessons and books at borntosingmusic.co.uk

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