How To Build A Thriving Guitar Teaching Business
by Tom Hess
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Want to build a very successful guitar teaching business? Learn to do these 5 things really well:
- Attract many new guitar students all year around (every month of the year).
- Transform your students into incredible guitar players very quickly.
- Keep your students studying with you for a long time. (This means years, not months).
- Use effective guitar teaching models that help your business expand fast and don't make you feel overwhelmed.
- Develop a rock-solid, success-focused mindset. This mindset helps you do the work that's required to become successful.
When you struggle as a guitar teacher, it means there is room for improvement in one or more of these areas.
The good news is that it’s not hard to improve your guitar teaching business.
All it takes is knowing what to do, how to do it and then doing it.
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Here are a few common reasons why you might struggle as a guitar teacher and what you can do today to become more successful:
Why You May Struggle To Attract New Guitar Students All Year Long:Reason #1: You don’t advertise enough. The simplest way to get more guitar students is to advertise more. This brings you more students and helps you learn what advertising methods work better than others.
Reason #2: You don’t advertise consistently throughout the year. Advertise with 100% intensity every single week of the year. This includes the slower summer months.
Tip: The more students you have, the MORE you should advertise. (Yes, you read correctly.) This helps you to:
- Be more selective of what students you take on. Wouldn’t it be great to only teach those students who are extremely committed and turn away everyone else? The more you advertise, the more students you have and the more selective you can afford to be.
- Turn your students into better guitar players faster. When you only work with highly committed students, your students will practice more, will do what you tell them to do more consistently and will make faster progress. Your job becomes easier and your students get better results.
- Get more students via referrals. The faster your students improve, the more likely they are to refer their friends to take lessons from you.
Reason #3: You advertising strategies are ineffective. Analyze the methods you use to attract students, learn how to make them more effective and watch your schedule fill up faster than ever before.
Reason #4: You teach guitar in “all styles”. The most serious guitar students look for an expert guitar teacher in their chosen style. When you specialize in a single style of music, you attract more committed guitar students who are serious about becoming good players.
Note: Don’t overspecialize in a style that few people want to learn.Reason #5: Your conversion tactics are weak. Advertising only attracts potential (prospective) new students to you. The next step is to convert those prospective guitar students into actual students. If your conversion skills are weak, you’ll have a hard time filing your schedule.
There are 5 proven ways you can get guitar students to choose you as their teacher. Download this free guitar teaching eGuide to discover how to make guitar students excited about studying with you.
Why Your Guitar Students May Struggle To Improve Their Playing (Even If You Are A Good Teacher):
Reason #1: You don’t train your guitar students to practice. Your guitar students usually won’t know how to practice correctly on their own. It’s part of your job to train them how to do it.Do NOT simply tell your students how to practice. Watch them practice in front of you for at least 10-20 minutes and correct their mistakes. Do this regularly.
Watch this video to learn how to train your guitar students to practice:
“But Tom Hess, my guitar students aren’t paying me to watch them practice! They are paying me to teach them!” Answer: Your guitar students are not paying you to “teach them”. They are paying you to help them play guitar better. The fastest way you can help your students play better is to train them how to practice correctly.
Reason #2: You teach your guitar students too much too soon. You don’t need to teach your students new things every single week. Slow down, teach less and train your guitar students to apply what they already know. This makes your students better guitar players much faster. This also keeps them from quitting due to overwhelm.
Reason #3: You don't prepare your guitar students for real life. Your guitar students need training on playing with others, overcoming stage fright and making their skills consistent and reliable.
Teaching private guitar lessons (as most teachers do) doesn't prepare students for real life playing. Your students only get comfortable playing in front of 1 person (you) and continue to get nervous when playing in front of other people.
Hint: teaching group classes (or specific classes that train students to play live) is an excellent solution to this problem.
Question: “But Tom Hess, all my students want to take private lessons from me and tell me they don’t want to study in groups! What should I do?”
Answer: Here are 3 easy solutions to this:
- Get clear in your own mind about the unique advantages of group classes over private lessons. Sit down and make a list of the benefits your students can only get in group classes (such as opportunities to play with other musicians).
- Learn how to communicate the benefits of group classes to your students in a clear and compelling way. If you do this step right, your students will be asking you how soon they can get started.
- Learn how to teach group classes the right way, so you can deliver all the benefits you promise to your students. (If you don’t know how to do this, get guitar teacher training.)
Note: Most guitar students don't always know the best way to reach their musical goals. (If they did, they would be teaching others how to play guitar.) It’s your job to know the best way to help your students and to show them why they should trust you.
Tip: Tell your guitar students the benefits of studying with you before you reveal what the format is. This keeps their focus on the result they want, which is the only thing that matters.
Watch this video to learn how to communicate effectively to your guitar students and make them want to do what you tell them to do:
Why You May Feel Overwhelmed From Teaching Guitar:
Reason #1: You teach guitar only in private lessons. When you teach a lot of private lessons, you work many hours each week and only get to help very few people. The more hours you work, the more overwhelmed you become.
When you teach students in groups, you work a lot fewer hours, help more people and earn more money.Reason #2: You do work you shouldn’t be doing. Collecting late payments, teaching unpaid make-up lessons and dealing with scheduling conflicts makes your job harder and more frustrating.
Reason #3: You get zero paid time off. Most guitar teachers choose between teaching guitar or losing money. Successful guitar teachers deliver value to their students even when they don’t see them face to face.
Reason #1: You attract low quality students. “Low quality” students lack motivation, don’t respect your policies and aren’t committed to their musical goals. These students rarely stick with guitar lessons for more than a few months.
Why Your Guitar Students May Quit Sooner Than They Should:
You can do 2 things to attract more motivated guitar students:
- Improve your guitar teaching skills to help your students progress faster than anyone else in your area. Nothing attracts new students better than your reputation of being a great teacher.
- Raise your guitar lesson rates. This will repel everyone who wants cheap guitar lessons… and will attract those who truly want the results you deliver.
Want to learn a few easy guitar teaching tips that will make you a better teacher today? Watch this video:
Reason #2: You teach your guitar students in private lessons. Your students will have a lot more fun learning in a group with other students who are just like them. The more fun your students have, the more likely they are to take lessons from you for years.
Solution: Create an airtight guitar lesson policy that clearly explains everything your students can expect from you and everything you expect from your students. Enforce your lesson policy with zero exceptions. This removes unnecessary stress from you and helps you be a better teacher for your students.
Tip: Stop teaching make up lessons entirely. Tell your students that they are responsible for attending their lesson at the scheduled time. No exceptions.
Think of all the things you can do for your students when you are no longer burdened with teaching lots of make up lessons every week. Then tell your students how your new rule makes you a better teacher for them.
Question: “But Tom Hess, I am afraid that many of my students will complain if I stop teaching make up lessons! What if some students quit over my new policy?”
Answer: Yes, you might lose a few students in the short term… but your remaining students will respect your firm policy and understand how it helps them become better guitar players.
When you advertise enough, you will quickly replace those students who quit with new students who will be more committed. The result is: you will have a schedule full of motivated students, you will have more control over your time and your students will become better guitar players faster. Win-Win-Win! :)
Reason #3: You don’t pay enough attention to your students. Your guitar students usually don’t quit lessons spontaneously. You can often notice signs that a student is unhappy with something before it becomes a problem. The earlier you can catch these signs, the more likely you are to prevent your students from quitting.
Reason #4: You don’t learn from the past. Keep track of all the reasons why your students quit guitar lessons. This helps you improve your guitar teaching skills, so your other students stay with you longer.
The more you teach guitar, the more you find that your students give you the same typical reasons for quitting. This makes it easy for you to find a solution to each one, so you can help your students get the results they want from you.
Reason #5: You teach guitar using pre-made method books. Guitar method books don’t help your students reach any specific goals… they simply teach information. Result: your students get bored faster, lose motivation and quit lessons sooner than they should.
Solution: Stop using cookie-cutter guitar method books with your students. Tailor your guitar lessons to your students’ specific goals, challenges and problems. This helps your students improve a lot to faster and makes them more loyal to you, so they continue studying with you for years.
Tip: after your students reach their current goals, help them set new goals they would be excited about.
Why Your Mindset May Be Holding You Back:
Reason #1: You think too small. Don’t settle for earning $20,000-$40,000 per year teaching guitar. Don’t accept mediocre results for your students. When you set small goals, you take small actions and get small results. Think BIG, set ambitious goals and take massive action.
Hint: It’s possible to earn more than $100,000 per year teaching guitar…but small-time thinking won’t get you there.
Question: “But Tom Hess, how many hours do I need to work every week to earn $100,000 per year teaching guitar?”
Answer: You don’t need to work a lot of hours to earn $100,000 per year, even if you teach 1-1 lessons. Example: If you teach 40 students each week and each one pays you $50 per lesson, you earn $2,000 per week or $104,000 per year.
If you teach your students in groups of only 4 people at a time, you earn the same $104,000 per year, working only 10 hours per week.
Imagine what your life would be like when you work only 10 hours per week and earn 6-figures per year…
This is the life you get to enjoy when you implement the strategies from this article in your guitar teaching business.
Reason #2: You have a poor money mindset. You won’t become a successful guitar teacher, if you:
- Think that money is the root of all evil (and that wealthy people acquired their wealth by exploiting others).
- Feel ashamed about earning a lot of money (or don't feel worthy of big success and wealth).
- Have an anti-capitalist world view.
Your guitar teaching income is proportionate to the value you provide to your students. The more value you give to your students, the more money you earn. The more money you earn, the more new value you can create for your guitar students.Reason #3: You don’t believe in yourself enough. Your beliefs become your reality. If you think you don’t deserve big success, you won’t become successful. When you believe that you deserve success, you do whatever it takes to make success happen.
Want to learn 5 proven ways to get guitar students to say “yes” to taking lessons from you? Download this free guitar teaching eGuide to learn how to fill your teaching schedule and make other guitar teachers envy your success.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He trains guitar teachers from all over the world how to earn 6-figures per year teaching guitar, while working less than 40 hours per week.
Improve your guitar teaching skills by getting training for music teachers.
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