Teaching music lessons is an awesome way to supplement or provide yourself with an income as a musician.
Whether you’re teaching for the love of teaching, or teaching to supplement the income you make from gigging/pursuing an original project, there’s no question it’s a great way to make extra money.
The market for guitar lessons exists, is substantial, and is fairly easy to tap into. As long as people are listening to music, there will be people wanting to make music.
I taught guitar and piano lessons on and off for four or five years, and I will probably do it again at some point in my life.
The thing that I realized is that I don’t want to teach just anyone. I want to teach kids who want to learn. Kids who are as excited about music as I am. This is something you figure out for yourself through experience and trial and error.
In order to get these kinds of students, you need to market your services.
First off, you need to market your lessons just to get students.
Once you have a good practice of students, you can either keep teaching a bunch of students to make more money and have a busy schedule, or you can start handing off students you don’t want to teach to other teachers.
There are lots of ways to grow your teaching clientele and improve the quality of students you’re teaching.
I’m going to take you through a few great ways to market your music lessons. We’ll start with ways to increase the number of students you’re teaching, and then move into marketing techniques you can use to attract a specific clientele.
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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How To Attract More Students To Your Guitar Lessons
Whether you teach out of a music store, out of your home, or you teach in other people’s homes, attracting more students is always nice.
Here are several tactics you can use to increase your student base.
Carry Business Cards & Let People Know What You Do
The best advertising will always be word of mouth. Even if you’re primarily an artist or gigging musician, make it a point to carry cards that advertise your teaching business.
Don’t be afraid to tell people that you make a portion of your income through teaching.
Nine times out of 10, the person you’re talking to knows somebody who wants to take lessons, or has always wanted to take lessons.
People always want to refer their friends to other friends, so you’re just making their job easier by: a) letting them know you’re a teacher, and b) carrying cards with your booking and contact information.
Put Up Posters For Your Lessons In Strategic Locations
It seems cheesy, but well-placed posters can be effective.
Ask local band teachers and community band leaders if you can put up posters in their rehearsal spaces. That way, you’re advertising directly to your target audience.
If you can make a good impression on the teacher (or if you already know the teacher) that’s even better.
Parents will often ask teachers (band teachers especially) where their kids can take music lessons. Developing a relationship with local band teachers will help you grow your business.
Make Friends With Your Competition
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s a good idea.
Getting to know other music teachers in your city will not hinder you. In bigger cities, the market for guitar lessons is so big that the competition isn’t much of an issue.
Moreover, getting to know your competition could result in referrals and calls to substitute teach.
Most teachers are also musicians, which means they’ll occasionally have to cancel a night of lessons to gig.
When this happens, you want to be the call to substitute teach. This allows you to make new connections with students, and develop a relationship with an established teacher.
Established teachers are often turning away students that they don’t have time to teach properly.
If you’ve developed a relationship with another teacher, you are much more likely to get their rejected students!
Develop An Online Presence Via Marketing
If you’re serious about teaching and passionate about creating lessons that help people learn, try making some online content.
There are two types of content that work when you’re building a teaching business.
Firstly, there are lesson videos. You know the ones I’m talking about; tutorial videos for popular songs. Videos showing 12 great guitar blues licks in E. That sort of thing.
These videos are a great way to potentially reach more people.
To properly capitalize on the online video lesson format, you should probably have a website and you should probably have the ability to teach online over Skype or FaceTime.
In the description below your video, advertise the fact that people can take private lessons from you. If you’ve developed an online lesson course or something similar, you should also promote that.
The second way to put out online content as a teacher is to post videos of yourself playing. You can just be noodling, you can play part of a song, you can show people how to use a cool lick in a solo, that sort of thing.
Slowly but surely, you can build videos like these into a brand and reach a lot of people.
I have a good friend who has become somewhat famous in Instagram guitar circles. When he shares that he's offering lessons, the lessons sell out in literally hours. It’s crazy.
He just does it whenever he needs the money. All that money and all the opportunity comes from well-crafted, short videos of him playing guitar.
Offer A Lesson For Free As A Promotion
Obviously, this is a pretty risky move, but it’s also a good way to get a bunch of students through the door.
I would recommend doing this on a day that you’re not already teaching. It’s much easier.
Start advertising your music lessons and say that the first lesson is free, start on whatever day you want.
You’ll probably reach a few people who don’t care about music lessons, but you’ll probably also attract a bunch of students who just needed something to sweeten the deal.
Try Teaching Guitar Workshops In Schools
Teaching workshops in schools is quite fun. I did a school workshop today, in fact.
Whether you’re doing instrument specific workshops, or a workshop that will help the entire band, just come up with a good format for your workshop and start pitching it to local band classes.
Often, the beginnings/ends of semesters are the best times for workshops. They are the least busy, and teachers are looking for extra work to give their students.
The best part about teaching workshops is that you will also get paid for teaching the workshop.
Then, if the kids loved learning from you, they’ll want to keep taking lessons from you and will sign up for lessons! You can also teach guitar lessons online like this. You don't need as many lessons as this initially, you'll add to your library over time.
How To Attract Guitar Students You Want To Teach
If you’ve already built a decent teaching business, you may be looking to narrow down your list of students to teach only students that you enjoy teaching and care about improving their abilities.
Attracting good students is important to your business, because it keeps you engaged and excited about teaching. You can easily lose your interest and focus if you constantly work with students who are halfhearted about learning guitar. It will also drain your energy.
Here are a few ways to attract students that care.
Tailor Your Advertisements To People Looking To Improve Their Abilities
Instead of talking about your accomplishments and how good of a teacher you are, list a bunch of common problems beginners have with their instrument, and say that you can fix those problems
If you just share your accolades, you’ll sound like every other music teacher. And nobody cares about what you have or haven't accomplished.
Framing your ads as “fixing somebody's playing” will attract students that already know how to play, and want to get better.
Good students don’t care about their teacher’s accomplishments, they just want to get better at their instrument.
Don’t Include The Price Of Lessons In The Ad – But Don’t Be Cheap
This lesson is a two-parter.
First off, including the price of your lessons in your ads is a bad idea. You want your ad to be so good, that people feel like taking lessons with you before they've even booked their first session.
Putting your price on the ad allows potential students to compare your rate with other teachers.
The only way to win this battle is by being the cheapest teacher around. You don’t want to be the cheapest teacher around. This is a race to the bottom.
Good students appreciate the teachings you have to offer and are willing to pay for it. You don’t want students looking for the cheapest possible guitar lesson.
So, charge what you’re worth. And don’t tell them the price upfront. Convince them that they need to take lessons from you, then tell them the price.
Focus Your Ads On The Kinds Of Students You Want To Teach
If you’re looking to teach mostly jazz theory, don’t just say you’re a guitar teacher.
Say you teach guitar, and specialize in jazz harmony, history, improvisation, comping, etc.
If you want to teach people how to play chicken pickin’ guitar licks, say that that is your specialty.
This way, you don’t attract students who want to learn something you don’t know how to teach, or maybe just don’t want to teach.
To go along with this tip, post your ads in places that are relevant to the students you want to pick up. For example, posting jazz harmony lessons in a high school jazz band classroom is a good idea.
If you don't want to limit your clientele to kids, don’t just advertise your lessons in schools. Advertise them in workplaces, venues, and music stores.
Summary: How To Market Your Guitar Lessons & Gain More Clients
If you’re good at something, chances are someone else wants to be good at it too.
There is a huge market out there for unconventional music lessons.
DJing. Making beats. Rapping. Writing lyrics. Producing songs. Songwriting. Mixing, recording, being in a band.
If you’re teaching the things you are most excited about, your enthusiasm for your craft will never die out.
The only students I didn’t like teaching were ones who hated being there or ones who wanted to learn songs or genres that I just didn’t care about.
Even if the kid wasn’t overly passionate about music, I am always excited to show someone a musical technique that blew my mind when I learned it.
If you’re excited, the students will be excited.