Learn How To Teach Guitar
by Tom Hess
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To become a successful guitar teacher, there are many things you must know and do.
There are several key principles most new guitar teachers get wrong when they begin teaching.
Here are the most important things you must know when you start teaching guitar:
Guitar Teaching Principle #1: Great Guitar Teachers Do Not Teach Guitar... They Teach People.
What is the difference?
Teaching guitar is about explaining various aspects of guitar playing, guitar technique, music theory, etc.
Teaching people is about solving your student’s individual guitar playing problems, developing a strategic path to reach their specific goals and keeping them motivated every step of the way.
Want to see how to get better results for your guitar students?
Check out this video that explains this in detail:
Fact is, your guitar students don't want to learn how to play guitar. They want to learn how to feel a certain way when they pick up their guitar and play.
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Teaching people helps your students enjoy the process of learning guitar and builds their confidence in their musical potential. This inspires your students to study with you longer and become better guitar players.
Guitar Teaching Principle #2: Your Guitar Students Don’t Care How Much You Know…Until They Know How Much You Care.
Want more guitar students to study with you? Show them that you care more about their success than any other teacher in your area. This alone makes a huge difference between the results your students get from you compared to what they could get from anyone else.
Question: “Tom Hess, what does it mean to “show my guitar students that I care”? What do I need to actually do?”
Answer: Your caring comes across in your tone of voice and in the questions you ask. Your questions build massive rapport and encourage your students to open up to you and trust you. Asking the right questions, in the right order and in the right way positions you as the expert on solving the problems your guitar students have.
Guitar Teaching Principle #3: Surrounding Yourself With Expert Guitar Teachers Makes You A Better Guitar Teacher Faster.
Most guitar teachers either:
- Don't surround themselves with other guitar teachers at all, or
- Surround themselves with average guitar teachers who are not true experts at what they do.
Question: “Tom Hess, what does it mean to be an “expert” guitar teacher?”
Answer: An expert guitar teacher is someone who: consistently gets big results for his students and runs a very successful guitar teaching businesses. Expert guitar teachers earn at least 6-figures per year (or more), working part-time.
Surround yourself with guitar teachers who know how to successfully handle the same situations you currently struggle with.
Example: if you struggle to attract guitar students, surround yourself with teachers for whom attracting 30-40 new students each month is easy.
Guitar Teaching Principle #4: Balance Patience With Expectations.
You probably know that you need a lot of patience to be a good guitar teacher. What most guitar teachers don't know is how to balance patience with expectations. Your guitar students' progress is influenced by what you teach them and by what you expect from them.
If you fail to consistently set high expectations for your students, most of them will progress slowly. This is not good for your reputation as a guitar teacher. You need to push them a little with realistic, but high expectations. At the same time, you must be supportive and patient as you teach guitar.
Question: “But Tom Hess, not all guitar students want to become advanced musicians! How can I push them with “high expectations”?”
Answer: Your expectations aren’t the same for each student you teach. Set your expectations appropriately high for each student’s ambition, work ethic and musical goals.
Guitar Teaching Principle #5: Don’t Settle For Being Good Enough.
Do you want your doctor, accountant, or auto mechanic to be good enough? Or do you want these people to be the best at what they do, so they can serve you better? It's unethical to not be as good as you know you can be. Sadly, many guitar teachers think it is ok to be good enough. This is a big reason why they struggle to earn good money and why their guitar students often don’t become great musicians.
Your students expect and deserve for you to become the best guitar teacher you can be... and you deserve it for yourself.
Note: you do NOT need a music degree to start teaching guitar. You also don’t need to be a highly advanced guitar player to become a guitar teacher. But once you start teaching guitar, you must:
- Constantly improve your guitar teaching skills, and
- Find new ways to add lots of musical value to your guitar students.
Guitar Teaching Principle #6: Being A Great Guitar Player And A Great Guitar Teacher Are 2 Different Things.
Don’t be intimidated by guitar teachers in your area who brag about their advanced music degrees. One’s musical knowledge or guitar playing skills say nothing about their ability to teach another human being to play guitar.
Your guitar students only care about your ability to teach them solve their problems and reach their goals. Improving your guitar teaching skills makes you the leading guitar teacher in your area even if you aren’t the best musician and don't have a music degree.
Guitar teacher training helps you improve your guitar teaching skills quickly.
Guitar Teaching Principle #7: Your Guitar Students Don’t Need To Learn New Content From You All The Time.
Your guitar students don’t want content from you - they want results. Teaching them content is only one part of giving them the results they need. The other parts include training them how to practice guitar, solving their problems and motivating them to keep going (even when they feel frustrated).
Most guitar teachers only focus on giving their students stuff to practice. They ignore the other elements of guitar teaching success…and their students often make very slow progress.
The video in Principle #1 explains this in more detail.
Guitar Teaching Principle #8: Start Teaching Guitar As Soon As Possible
Every guitar teacher needs to start somewhere. The sooner you start teaching, the faster you get over your fears and the faster you get guitar teaching experience. This guitar teaching article explains why it’s important to start teaching guitar as soon as possible.
Question: “But Tom Hess, didn’t you say that one must be the best guitar teacher he could possibly be? Isn’t it unethical to start teaching guitar before I feel good enough to do it?”
Answer: A HUGE part of being “the best guitar teacher you can possibly be” is confidence in your ability to teach guitar. The only way for you to develop confidence is to start teaching guitar lessons. You become a much better guitar teacher very fast through experience combined with expert guitar teacher training.
Question: “But Tom Hess, I live in a tiny town with few people!”
Answer: If you have a functioning local economy and other businesses around you can attract clients and make money, you can do the same.
Most guitar teachers simply copy what other (mediocre) teachers do. They are not proactive enough to actually improve their skills. Others let fear paralyze them and never even start teaching guitar. The best guitar teachers make a decision to start teaching and get training to improve their skills as quickly as possible. This gives you both the experience and the confidence needed to teach guitar well.
Guitar Teaching Principle #9: You Can Build A Thriving Guitar Teaching Business Virtually Anywhere
It doesn't matter how big (or small) your local area is. You can and should have a lot more guitar students than you have right now. There are a lot of people around you who want to learn guitar. Your job is to find them and show them that you are the right guitar teacher for them.
Guitar Teaching Principle #10: Treat Teaching Guitar Like A Business
You become a much better guitar teacher when you treat teaching guitar like a business. This means your main goal must be to earn a lot of money in exchange for the value you provide to your students. This mindset makes you a better guitar teacher, because:
- You become motivated to become the best teacher you can be, as quickly as possible.
- You become driven to help as many people as you can.
When you have this mindset, everyone wins. Your students become happy and fulfilled with their guitar playing. You become happy and fulfilled with the life you create for yourself.
Learn how to teach guitar better than anyone else in your area.
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.Learn how to teach guitar and make a good living at the same time.