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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.