The Muse's Muse  
Muses MailMuses Newsmuse chatsongwriting resource home
Regular Columnists


The Top 7 Guitar Teaching Questions You Shouldn’t Be Asking
By Tom Hess - 12/02/2013 - 03:51 AM EST

Are you ready to become a more successful guitar teacher but struggle to solve many problems that seem to be holding you back? Truth is, this happens to all guitar teachers. In order to move forward and develop a flouring guitar teaching business you must continually ask the ‘right’ questions that will promote growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, if you ask the ‘wrong’ questions (as most guitar instructors do) you will condemn yourself to mediocre success at best.

I’ve spent many years training guitar teachers to become successful, highly-paid instructors... and during this time, I have come across a wide array of questions on the topic of “how to become a successful guitar teacher”. After hearing the same questions over and over so many times, I am able to immediately spot false assumptions about the guitar teaching business embedded within a person’s thoughts and beliefs. Simply put, many questions asked by guitar teachers are based on misconceptions that will ultimately lead you to failure. It is highly important that you ask the RIGHT questions that will help you flourish as a guitar teacher. To do this, you must identify the common questions asked by most guitar teachers that will limit you and prevent you from becoming successful. The following are seven major examples of these types of questions. Read through each one to learn why they are based on misconceptions and how you can avoid ‘sabotaging’ your guitar teaching business.

Question #1: How Do I Attract More Students?

Of course you DO need to attract new students on a consistent basis – however, guitar teachers typically (and falsely) believe that getting more new students is the ‘only’ way for them to grow their income from teaching.

Simply put, gaining additional guitar students is only one of many ways that you can earn money in your business. There are tons of additional ways to earn good money as a guitar teacher (many that you would never expect) and you must learn them all in order to be successful. Get a more in-depth look into some of these ideas with this guide on how to earn money teaching guitar.

Question #2: Where Is The Best Location To Advertise My Guitar Teaching Business?

Here is why this question is destructive to the success of your guitar teaching business:

1. Contrary to what many guitar teachers think, there is not a ‘perfect’ location when it comes to marketing and advertising guitar lessons. To advertise your guitar teaching business effectively, you must exploit ‘all’ the marketing methods to help you continually grow and earn more money.

2. When you focus exclusively on a single method of gaining new students, you make your guitar teaching business extremely vulnerable. If you are unable to continually get great results from the single method you chose, your teaching business will crumble very quickly. You MUST diversify your advertising and marketing approaches so that you are not relying on only one all-or-nothing approach at any given time.

Rather than looking for a single ‘best’ way of getting new students, invest time into learning and implementing an overarching strategy that will help you effectively market your guitar teaching business using a variety of approaches. This will make building a successful guitar teaching business a much safer, more secure endeavor. Find out more about this by working together to expand your guitar teaching business with an expert guitar teaching coach.

Question #3: “What Would You Like To Learn Today?” (Many Guitar Teachers Ask This To Their Students)

Contrary to what you might first think, this question will actually hold your guitar students back from becoming great players and reaching their musical goals. In fact, I tell guitarists who are looking for a new guitar teacher to avoid teachers who ask them this question during their lessons. This is why:

1. As the guitar teacher, YOU are the one with the expertise. Your guitar students are your ‘students’ for a reason, and it is not their job to decide how they will become better players.

2. That said, of course your students will need to tell you what it is that they would like to learn. However, since they do not have the expertise you have, they are clueless about the process they must go through to get what they really want - Otherwise they would simply do it for themselves without wasting their time and money taking lessons with you. Many times, students will say they want to learn something when it actually takes them further away from their main musical goals (this is why your guidance as a teacher is so critical!).

To solve this, you must improve your guitar teaching methods in order to help your students attain their guitar playing goals.

Question #4: What Must I Teach During My Guitar Lessons?

Seeking an answer to this question is very destructive for both you and your guitar students. Why? Your students are not taking lessons with you just so you can show them random stuff on guitar. They come to you in order to get a very specific ‘result’ or ‘solution’. You must help them get this by creating a highly personalized strategy for each student.

The majority of guitar teachers make the all-too-common mental error of teaching random guitar playing information/licks/songs to their students because they think this is what they are supposed to do as ‘good teachers’. On the contrary, you must design a specific strategy around your students’ unique goals to truly help them make progress on guitar.

In order to do this, you must do three main things:

1. Stop focusing on finding new ‘things to teach’ and start looking for ways to help your students accomplish their specific guitar playing goals.

2. Know how to analyze the ‘symptoms’ of problems that your students share with you and identify the core problems that must be solved.

3. Become effective at guiding your students toward their highest musical goals.

For extensive explanations about these things, work with your own guitar teaching coach.

Question #5: What Should The Price Be For Guitar Lessons?

When you ask yourself this question, you immediately set yourself up for failure because you begin thinking with the mindset that you must ‘compete’ with the price of other teachers or charge something that is fair in relation to those in your local area. To make matters worse, basing your rates on the rates of everyone else makes your guitar lessons seem like a commodity. This forces potential students to focus ONLY on the cost of lessons, causing them to view your guitar teaching as ‘the same thing’ offered by any other teacher. This effectively drains all incentive from them to choose you over anyone else in your local community.

Additionally, by asking this question you make the assumption that there is only one way to offer guitar lessons (in 1 on 1 format), which is a completely limiting approach. Fact is, there are plenty of creative guitar teaching models you can use to get far greater results for students while developing a flourishing business and offering many pricing options to your customers. Find out more about these models by studying the information in this video about guitar teaching.

The main point is, you must charge for guitar lessons based on the specific benefits you can offer students, not just the average rate in your local area. No one but ‘you’ decides how much value you offer to the musicians you work with. Rather than trying to find an answer to the question above, focus on becoming a more effective guitar teacher and getting the greatest results for your students. Then raise your prices based on the increasingly better value you offer.

Question #6: What Is The Best Way To Advertise Guitar Lessons In A Bad Economy?

Fact is, it doesn’t matter whether the economy is strong or weak – your advertising and marketing strategies should still be the same. If you think otherwise, your chances of building a flourishing guitar teaching business are slim to none.

Guitar teachers who achieve the greatest success utilize the same exact approaches to marketing regardless of the state of the economy. When it comes to your marketing approach, it should not matter how well the economy is doing. Instead of wasting your time trying to answer this pointless question, work on finding new ways to develop your business and market your lessons in ANY economy. Then use this approach with high intensity all year long. This is the ONLY way to consistently expand your guitar teaching business while others begin losing students and struggling as the economy shrinks.

Question #7: How Should I Handle Make Up Lessons?

This is a major issue for countless guitar teachers. Most consider this topic to be a very important problem to figure out in order to move their guitar teaching businesses forward. Truth is, if you are contemplating solutions to the question above, you are already heading down the wrong path and setting yourself up for failure. If you talk to any highly successful guitar teachers, they will tell that you should not only NOT teach make up lessons, but you should have absolutely NO cancelation policy at all. There are endless reasons why make up lessons are destructive to your guitar teaching business. Here are just a few:

1. When you work additional hours without getting paid (to ‘make up’ a lesson), you LOSE money in two fundamental ways: First, you aren’t getting paid for the additional slot that is occupied by the student/time being made up. Second, when you work additional time to make up a lesson, you lose time that could be invested into developing your business and gaining more students. This effectively limits your potential growth and ability to earn money teaching guitar (in addition to turning your schedule upside down).

2. Your students will lose respect for you as a guitar teachers when they feel like they can walk all over you and ‘show up’ to lessons at their own convenience. Even worse, these kinds of students will not feel a need to practice at home or make a lot of improvement. As a result, they will make very slow progress. Eventually, you will end up damaging your reputation as a guitar teacher because word will get around that you have a schedule full of mediocre students who never reach their goals.

So what is the solution? You must require that all of your students pay for every single week of the year regardless of whether or not they decide to show up (with NO make up lessons). This is the same approach used by universities. They have a strict ‘no refunds’ policy that applies to all students whether they come to class or not. This is also the same policy that highly successful guitar teachers use to earn $100,000+ every year.

After reading this article you have learned how even the most ‘common sense’ guitar teaching questions break down because they are based on false assumptions on how to become successful as a guitar teacher. To keep these problems from damaging your guitar teaching business, follow these steps:

1. Use the resources mentioned throughout this article to find out more information on how to become the best guitar teacher in your community.

2. Alter your current style of thinking and start asking yourself high quality questions within the topics of each of the seven questions above. Then take action to implement the advice I gave to you in order to expand your business to new heights.

By doing these things you will put yourself years ahead of any local competition and will achieve great success as a guitar teacher.

 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is an electric guitar teacher and music career mentor. He helps many guitar teachers learn to how to teach guitar for a living. On his website you can get additional free tips about guitar teaching, guitar teacher articles, mini courses and guitar teaching skill assessments.




[ Current Articles | Archives ]

Help For Newcomers
Help for Newcomers
Interactivities
Interactivities
Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources
Regular Columnists
Columnists
Music Reviews
Spotlights
Spotlights
Services
Services Offered
About the  Muse's Muse
About Muse's Muse
Subscribe to The Muse's News, free monthly newsletter for songwriters
with exclusive articles, copyright & publishing advice, music, website & book reviews, contest & market information, a chance to win prizes & more!

Join today!



Created & Maintained
by Jodi Krangle


Design:


© 1995 - 2016, The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource. All rights reserved.

Read The Muse's Muse Privacy Statement