10 Essential Characteristics Of Successful Music Instructors And Teachers

10 Essential Characteristics Of Successful Music Instructors And TeachersThis is an excerpt from David Andrew Wiebe's new eBook, The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing, and Thriving in The Information Age, a guide that covers a wide range of topics – blogging, podcasting, social media, video marketing, and more. It's aim is to help you start scaling your individual mountain to music career success.

If you find this guide useful, scroll back up and check the full book out. David is a staff writer for Music Industry How To, so if you find this site useful, chances are you'll enjoy his book.

Now here's David:

Have you ever thought about getting into music instruction?

Although teaching is hard work, it tends to pay well, and it can also open up a lot of other opportunities for your music career, including live gigs, workshops, clinics, and more.

Whether you want to pursue it full-time, or bring in a little bit of extra income on the side, teaching is a great way to make grow as a musician, build your brand and market your music.

Let's take a look at what it takes to become a successful music instructor.

But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:

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1. Music Instructors Should Have Passion

Passion is really important as a music instructor, though it definitely cannot be faked. You're either passionate about teaching, or you're not. You either care about how well your students do, or you don't.

Also keep in mind that passion for music doesn't always translate into passion for teaching. A good teacher has both qualities.

Passion can mean the difference between feeling drained and burned out and feeling energized and enthusiastic at the end of the day.

2. Patience is Key As A Music Teacher

Teaching is a process. Helping your students understand theory and musical concepts requires you to be patient and enduring. Not only will different students progress at different rates, they will also have different preferences and learning styles.

You have to remember to tailor your lessons to suit the needs of the student, and be patient with them, even when they haven't practiced what they were assigned. If your students are younger, it's a good idea to get the parents involved whenever possible.

3. Be Goal-Oriented With Your Students

In order to help your students progress at a pace that feels natural to them, you have to help them set realistic goals and assist them in achieving them.

A successful music instructor will also be goal-oriented, so they can model what they want their students to emulate. They should work towards becoming the best example they can.

4. Love Of People, or Don't Teach Music

If you're a teacher, you have to be others-focused. People skills will go a long way in helping you become the kind of teacher your students will respect and love.

Teachers often find themselves having to instruct a wide range of students at different ages. This means that you have to be able to quickly adapt to the age of the student in order to be effective, especially if you are teaching a number of different students back-to-back.

5. Have A Love Of Music

Tips for music teachers and instructorsA love of music is a little different than passion, which I already talked about earlier. You can be passionate about a particular genre of music without really having a love and appreciation for music in general.

Until you get to know your students, you won't really know what styles of music they enjoy most. You may have to learn new songs and techniques depending on what your students want to learn. Be prepared to absorb a variety of different styles of music.

6. Organizational Skills Are An important Characteristic For Music Tutors

Whether you're going to be teaching classes, workshops or individual lessons (or all of the above), you will need to keep organized. You'll want to take notes on each of your students and take the time to understand how you can best serve them…

Below find the rest of characteristic 6, as well as the final 4 (number 9 is especially important for all music teachers and instructors.

You may need to create custom curriculums for each of your students, so tracking their progress is crucial to their ongoing development.

7. Preparedness

A good teacher will make sure to study and prepare before lessons. If a teacher “wings it”, the student tends to clue in and doesn't respond very well.

Lessons are basically student-driven, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't prepare lesson material in advance. Remember to have a backup plan when you or your students just don't know what to work on next.

8. Flexibility

Not all of your students will progress at the same rate. Some will be slower, and others will be faster. Some will be better visual learners, while others will be better auditory learners (i.e. they'll pick things up by ear). You have to be willing to adapt as necessary.

Music can only be taught to a certain extent; it's really up to the student to decide how far they want to take it. It's your job to guide the student at a pace that makes sense for them.

9. A Good Work Ethic

Teachers must have a solid work ethic to stay on top of all of their students.

Let's say, for example, that you need to learn an entire guitar solo for one of your students before their next lesson. In order to be able to do that in a timely manner, you need to be able to break the solo down into smaller chunks and organize your schedule so that you can learn it quickly.

Though you may experience some pressure in the short-term, doing the hard work of preparing will improve your playing in the long-term, so it ultimately ends up benefiting you too.

10. Logistical Skills

Logistical skills are particularly important if you're pursuing a career in private music instruction. Many students enjoy having lessons in their home, so if you're going to teach them on-site, you have to determine how long it's going to take to get from one home to another, and how much of a break you might need on any given day.

You have to make sure to stay on top of your schedule, especially if you're pursuing multiple teaching opportunities.

Final Thoughts

It has often been said that if you want to master something, you should teach it. This is particularly true if you know the information well. Teaching gives you the opportunity to reinforce concepts you already know and understand. It can even bring new insights too.

Teaching is not easy work, but it is both rewarding and fulfilling. It's an incredible thing to watch as your students grow and become accomplished musicians themselves.

If you want to read more, then you can see more info on and get the full book here: The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing, and Thriving in The Information Age.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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