I teach rich people piano to earn my daily bread

Pascal Bizimana joined Christ Church Rwanda’s band as a pianist, in 2007. Today, he is a private music tutor who specialises in offering guitar and piano lessons to clients in their homes. He talked to Moses Opobo about the transformation.
Bizimana with one of his students. (Moses Opobo)
Bizimana with one of his students. (Moses Opobo)

Pascal Bizimana joined Christ Church Rwanda’s band as a pianist, in 2007. Today, he is a private music tutor who specialises in offering guitar and piano lessons to clients in their homes. He talked to Moses Opobo about the transformation.

How did you end up as a guitarist in a church band?

 

I was called to fill the gap left when the band’s main pianist left for India. At that time, the band was trying to be the first live rock band in the country, so they badly needed a skilled pianist, so I easily found a place. Soon, I was staging several live concerts with the band in churches and in worship crusades.

 

How did you end up offering private guitar and piano lessons?

 

At the church I used to work with very many foreigners. One day a lady approached me and asked if I could offer private piano lessons to her daughter. We arranged for the classes at her home, and agreed on the payments. After getting paid for my work, an idea came to my mind.

I asked myself; “why can’t I make this formal means of livelihood for myself?” So I posted about my services and my contacts on social media, and soon, I begun receiving calls from potential clients.

Who are your clients, and how much do you charge them for your services?

Most of my clients are children of expatriates and Rwandans with some money and exposure. Since many of them already have their own music instruments at home, I usually conduct most of the lessons in private homes.

Normally, I charge them Rwf 5,000 per hour, and 50,000 for a month, but since not everybody can afford this rate, in 2009 I came up with the idea of opening a permanent base from where I can teach small classes.

The other reason for this base is that some children are difficult to teach from home because there are many distractions like TV and playmates that affect their concentration. I talked to my pastor at Christ Church Rwanda and he gave me a room from where I conduct guitar and piano classes.

On average, I conduct about 20 individual classes every week. Each class is arranged on schedule, depending on a client’s availability, and the duration of the classes varies according to individual choice.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am organising a piano and guitar recital at the Christ Church Rwanda in Gaculiro Estate, on April 24. All my students, past and present, will be presenting on stage what they’ve been learning before an audience of family and friends.

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