Tom Hess, virtuoso guitarist and musician, member of
Rhapsody Of Fire and guitar teacher trainer helps guitar teachers understand
the psychology behind achieving success in their guitar teaching businesses.
Have you ever noticed how some guitar teachers seem to “have
it easy” when it comes to getting great results for their students? If you are
like most guitar teachers, you have sometimes struggled to attract guitar
students and take them to a new level in their guitar playing skills. This only
becomes more frustrating after watching other guitar teachers succeed where you
are unable to. However, the truth is that you can also achieve great things as
a guitar teacher as well once you understand exactly what makes these teachers
After teaching over one thousand students as a professional
guitar teacher and helping many other teachers learn how to become more
productive in getting results for their students, I have spent a great deal of
time figuring out the whole story behind what makes some teachers successful
and others mediocre in order to best help my clients attain great results in
their guitar teaching businesses. After much research, I have observed that
most guitar teachers posses some kind of balance between two sides in their
mindset. These sides consist of one side that focuses on strengths and another
that focuses on weaknesses. The guitar teachers who have highly successful
guitar teaching businesses have mastered the ability to channel the side of
them that focuses on using their strengths to their advantage while guitar
teachers who do not experience much success tend to think mostly from the side
of them that focuses on weakness (more on this shortly).
Previously, I have created many guitar teaching articles
that deal with specific ideas on what you should ‘do’ as a guitar teacher to
make your guitar teaching business more successful (if you have not read them, check
out this free earning
a great living as a guitar teacher eBook to see how you can become
financially stable while teaching guitar). For the purposes of this article, I
am going to explain to you a concept that will be instrumental in your growth
and success as a guitar teacher. When I personally train guitar teachers to
become more effective in their teaching strategies, they become very familiar
with this idea.
The Psychology Of A Guitar Teacher
As guitar teachers
(and people in general), we all have different parts of our psychological
makeup that direct our behavior in every action we take. Similarly, the way you
develop expertise as a musician or guitar teacher depends on the skills that
you focus on most. That said, for each ‘strong’ quality you possess in your
musical or teaching abilities, there exists an opposing (and connected) ‘weak’
quality that often keeps you from reaching your full potential. If these weak
qualities remain undetected, they will quickly overwhelm your strong qualities
until you take the time to identify and correct them. This commonly occurs to
all guitar teachers (experienced and inexperienced (usually without them even
knowing about it).
If you have not yet become a successful guitar teacher, it
will be very important for you to learn how to gain the most benefit from your
strengths while avoiding the negative side effects of the weaknesses that come
bundled together with them. If you are unable to do this, all of your efforts
to learn how to become a great guitar teacher will be destined to FAIL!
Every guitar teacher will a successful guitar teaching
business knows about this, and fortunately; you can learn this for yourself
regardless of whether or not it is something that comes naturally to you.
To demonstrate my point, I am going to show you some of the
most common traits I observe in the guitar teachers I train each day. In the
chart below, I will show you how each personality strength also contains a
weakness. The truth is, there are many more weaknesses per strength than what I
have included, but I have narrowed it down to just one in order to keep this
article from becoming too long.
It is essential to identify that each one of the strengths
in the left column of this chart are certainly good characteristics to have and
will be helpful in making you a better guitar teacher. However, you must also
recognize the different ways that these strengths can also turn into weaknesses
until you take the initiative to learn how to stop them from doing so.
You have a passion to teach
guitar and help your students achieve results.
Being passionate about teaching guitar is certainly a MUST
if you want to become a successful guitar teacher. However, many guitar
teachers who are highly passionate tend to ignore the business aspect of
teaching guitar for a living. As a result, they end up teaching (and helping)
less students overall since they do not earn enough money to expand their
guitar teaching business. The truth is, the more money you make, the more you
can invest it into building the value of your guitar lessons in order to give
more to your students.
You already have a good
amount of experience teaching guitar/music lessons.
After teaching guitar for a while, it becomes hard for
these types of guitar teachers to break away from the methods they are used
to. This approach becomes very limiting over time as continually using the
same methods does not bring great results for new students. In order to
achieve great results for your guitar students (and take a step forward in
your teaching skills), you will need to innovate and break away from some of
the methods you are accustomed to.
Your guitar playing skills
are highly developed.
A lot of great guitar players have difficulty identifying
with the challenges of low level guitarists (who are by the way - the
majority of guitar students). As a result, these types of guitar teachers are
lacking in an area that affects most of their potential students. You must be
able to relate to the challenges of your students who are just starting (or
are not at a high level in their playing yet). Many guitar teachers with
great guitar playing skills fall short in this area.
You play several instruments
in addition to guitar.
When guitar students look for someone to teach them
guitar, they are much more prone to seek the help of an ‘expert’ who specializes
in guitar rather than someone who teaches many different instruments. By
marketing yourself as a teacher of many instruments, you may actually end up
doing more harm than good to your reputation as a guitar teacher.
You have a very disciplined
approach to learning guitar and take music very seriously.
Guitar teachers who possess this strength generally cannot
relate to students who are learning guitar “just for fun”. The truth is that
almost all of your guitar students will be interested in guitar as a hobby,
and until you can relate to their basic guitar playing goals on their level,
you will have a hard time getting them to come back for lessons.
You have a lot of ambition
and many ideas for expanding your guitar teaching business.
The guitar teachers in this category are prone to
beginning many new projects out of strong enthusiasm; but end up leaving most
of them unfinished. To them, it feels like they are working very hard, but in
reality they are making very little progress.
You have achieved many
things in your professional music career.
As you invest a lot of time into your music career, it
usually leaves very little time to improve your teaching skills so you can
teach guitar at a high level. In fact, this is a major reason why many pro
musicians who are already successful in their music careers are unable to
help their students achieve BIG results.
You are very self-dependent.
Self-dependence is a great quality to have; however many
guitar teachers who are strong in this area feel a resistance to asking for
help when they need it. In order to develop your guitar teaching business,
you can steer clear of many common obstacles by learning from someone who has
already been down the same road as you.
You spend a lot of time
rationalizing different possibilities in any given situation.
While it is a great quality to be able to map out
different possibilities for the scenarios that may pop up in your guitar
teaching business; this can often lead to “over-analyzation”. While it is important
to think things through, it is also important that you take the necessary
action to do what needs to get done in order to realize your guitar teaching
You enjoy offering all you
can for your guitar students and making every lesson as enjoyable as
Guitar teachers who seek to give their guitar students as
much value as they can have a tendency to overcompensate and give “too much”.
Additionally, these types of teachers have a hard time with confrontation and
struggle to enforce their teaching policies.
You have a great work ethic
and persistence when working on important tasks.
It is very easy for someone who sticks to a task with
great persistence to become “stubborn”. This can be highly counter-intuitive
if the task you are working on is not very effective at accomplishing your
guitar teaching goals.
You spend a lot of time coming
up with creative new ideas.
These guitar teachers have a habit of overlooking common
(yet successful) teaching or business methods in order to try new approaches.
To be a great guitar teacher you must innovate; however, not at the expense
of giving up conventional approaches that already work.
What do you need to do now?
Now that you
understand the concept behind how your strong qualities also can contain weak
qualities embedded within them; here are several steps that you can take now in
order to get the most benefit from these ideas to develop your guitar teaching
more insight on how you can improve your strengths and minimize their negative
side effects by taking this guitar teacher
the time to come up with a solid plan for how you will maximize the benefits
you receive from your strengths while avoiding the negative aspects that may
come along with them. Take note of the daily actions you take as a guitar
teacher and compare them the chart above in order to help you identify and
eliminate any limiting thoughts that will keep you from becoming a great guitar
3. Understand that knowing how to maintain a
great balance between your strengths and weaknesses will require much insight,
practice and continued training. Most guitar teachers have developed
entrepreneurial mindsets and have a tendency to act on their “gut” instincts.
They generally see planning as something that must be done, but nevertheless
have a resistance to sitting down and mapping things out. If this resonates
strongly with you, or if you are struggling to identify your own strengths and
weaknesses, then you will benefit greatly by seeking the advice of someone who
can show you how to effectively apply these things into your guitar teaching
a commitment to refine your current approach in your guitar teaching business
by keeping the above ideas in mind.
That said, you should certainly continue learning more about the things
that you need to “do” as a successful guitar teacher. However, remember that
learning new teaching skills is not the only piece of the puzzle. In order to
quickly become a great guitar teacher, you must first assess your strong and weak
qualities as described in this article. Only then will you be able to take full
advantage of all the things you learn. Once you have the ability to utilize the
full potential of all your strongest qualities, your success as a guitar
teacher will quickly take off.
To learn more on how to build your success teaching guitar,
fill out this free guitar teacher
improvement test and get the (no cost) eBook on earning
a great living as a guitar teacher.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and the
guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains guitar teachers how
to improve their guitar teaching
methods. Visit his website, tomhess.net
to read more articles about guitar teaching, get
free guitar teacher skill assessments and guitar teaching tips.