Question: The majority of new lesson inquiries I am getting are for children between 8 and 12 years old. I see this as a great opportunity for long-term career enhancement. What should I begin with so I can retain these younger beginner guitar students long term?
Tom Hess's Answer: When teaching guitar to children your personality is just as important as teaching them how to play guitar. You need to make things fun for children. At the same time you have a serious responsibility to both the children and their parents to actually teach them how to play guitar.
Some guitar teachers already know this (though many don’t) but they are not very good at implementing it. That is because they see the 2 goals as separate things and treat each separately. For example when teaching children guitar the teacher might spend some time goofing around, making fun etc. and then the second half of the guitar lesson the teacher finally gets ‘serious’ about teaching and bores the children with ‘not fun’ guitar lessons which are hard for the child to learn and progress as a guitar player.
A more effective strategy is not to see your guitar teaching in 2 parts (15 minutes of fun and 15 minutes of serious teaching), but instead to make the actual guitar lesson (the teaching part) FUN! You do not need to be very serious (in your attitude at all when teaching guitar to children). A lot of this will come with more teaching experience of course, be just be focused on having a light-hearted attitude and adding FUN to the actual learning.
That being said, it is REALLY important NOT to teach guitar to children in a linear way. They have short attention spans, are easily frustrated and need more time in between lessons to master many physical challenges on the guitar. Click on the following link to read more about how to use my Geometric Guitar Teaching Method™ when you teach beginning guitar to children (or adults).
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