Teaching guitar (and other instruments) is a common way to make money as a musician. Whether teaching is a side hustle, or your primary source of income, you may be looking to take things to the next level.
To me, there are a few areas in which you may be able improve the way your teaching business runs; the ease with which you conduct and organize the lessons, the amount of money you bring in and the quality of students you are teaching.
Improving any one of these areas will make your teaching life better in obvious ways – the easier it is to teach lessons, the less you’ll have to stress about it, the more money you'll make, and the better your students, the more fun you’ll have teaching.
Here are a few tips you can implement to improve these areas of your teaching practice.
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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Tip 1: Make Your Life Easier By Offering Skype Guitar Lessons
Do you have a long commute to your lesson studio? Do you drive or transit to every in-home lesson?
Sometimes this is necessary and beneficial for both teacher and student, but keep in mind the Skype guitar lessons are becoming more and more common.
There are many reasons why teaching remotely can work in your favor.
For one thing, you don’t have to limit yourself to local students. You can teach guitar through one of the many online guitar teaching websites, or set up your own Skype lessons through your social media/website and teach people from anywhere.
Obviously, this widens your pool of potential students. It also allows you to teach from home and program the lessons to suit your schedule.
You could consider splitting up your local guitar lessons – teaching some in person, and some remotely as needed. This can take the commuting pressure off for both the student and the teacher.
Finally, if you are on the road or otherwise traveling, you can potentially continue some of your lessons, resulting in less lost income.
Obviously, not every student will be interested in Skype lessons. You may not even be fully set up to teach them.
But if you are interested, check out our guide on teaching Skype lessons to learn more.
Tip 2: Generate More Income By Offering A Specific Service
The biggest reason most freelancers don’t make more money is because they don’t ask for enough money.
You want to attract students that are willing to pay a premium price – for this, you need to deliver an effective service that meets their needs.
To do this, you need to frame your lessons in the right way.
You should not try to attract students by listing your accomplishments as a guitar player, because unfortunately, that doesn’t matter to most.
It’s not that you shouldn’t list your accomplishments, it’s just that students want to know what you’re going to teach them.
If you are an experienced teacher looking to make money, you need to frame your advertisements like this:
Here’s what I can do to make your playing better and fix your bad habits. Here are the types of genres and techniques I can help you improve on.
This way, you are attracting serious students who care and want to improve.
These students are willing to pay more, because they want this. They want to get better, they want to fix their technique and bad habits, and they’ve probably been taking lessons for a while already.
After you convince them that you are going to offer them a good service, you can then list your accolades and accomplishments, which may seal the deal.
What you should not do, is list the price.
As soon as you do this, you lose your bargaining power. Students can compare your prices to other teachers, and ultimately, many will go with the cheaper lesson.
Offer a great service, convince them they want the lessons first. Then talk money.
Do not undercharge. Charge what you feel you’re worth.
If somebody can’t afford your rates, you can always work it out. But your time is worth something and you should charge what you want to get paid.
Tip 3: Teaching Quality Students
Every teacher knows that there are good students and bad students.
Bad students make you want to quit. Good students leave the lesson inspired, and leave the teacher excited and fulfilled.
A big part of teaching quality students is attracting them.
Attracting quality students generally goes hand in hand with attracting students who will pay more for lessons, so many of the tips I'm offering here also apply to generating more income.
The key is, you want to attract quality students, cultivate their talents, and retain them.
By doing this, you develop a reputation for teaching players that play at a high level, and you develop a reputation as a thoughtful, reputable teacher.
To do this, you need to have high expectations of your students, and you should not allow them to accept poor results due to lack of at-home practice.
When you begin teaching lessons, you need to lay out your expectations for students, why you have these expectations, and how you are going to help them reach their goals.
This should be reiterated and adjusted at various intervals based on how the student is performing.
You need to ensure that the goals you are setting for your students are goals that they are interested in achieving.
So long as the student is working towards a goal they care about, they will practice and progress.
If your students are not practicing at home, you need to sort out why they are not practicing.
It’s either because they are not working on things they are excited about, you have not communicated your expectations clearly, or they simply do not want to do it.
At some point, if a student is not progressing, it is worth having a conversation about whether guitar lessons are right for them.
If you are a serious teacher, you deserve serious students.
Tips For Guitar Teachers, Summary
I hope this helps you get some perspective on your guitar teaching practice and I hope it has given you some ideas around how you can improve your business – both financially and practically.