Why You Aren’t Dominating The Local Guitar Teaching Market

By Tom Hess

It’s a sad fact that most guitar teachers would rather accept mediocre results in their guitar teaching business than make a big effort to help their students become great players. Even worse, of the guitar teachers who do seek to advance their teaching business, most fail to do so because they have no idea what is really possible.

It’s actually a lot easier than you’d expect to become the leading guitar teacher in your local area, fill up your teaching schedule and develop a successful teaching business. To do it, you must first learn the main reasons why so many guitar teachers fail and how you can avoid the mistakes they make in order to achieve a better outcome.

These are the 5 main reasons why so many guitar instructors fail and an explanation of the actions you need to take in order to become the leading guitar teacher in your city:

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #1: Accepting Mediocre Guitar Teaching Skills

The best thing you should do if you want to develop a terrible reputation for being a poor guitar teacher and getting no results for your students is stop trying to improve your teaching skills. Whenever you sense that you are ‘going through the motions’, you know you are in need of improvement.

In all other industries (such as the medical industry as a single example), you would be stripped of your license if it was discovered that you haven’t been properly training to keep your qualifications high, or if you claimed to know how to do help people, but did not. Unfortunately, guitar teachers do not require licensing in the same way and many of them never learned how to teach (or teach simply through trial-and-error).

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Understand that your guitar students are not paying you for anything other than RESULTS – their musical lives are in your hands. You will either help them become great musicians or hold them back causing them to struggle for many years before getting back on track with their goals. This is why you must always work to become a better teacher so you can give your students the best possible results.

Note: merely being a good guitarist or going to university to study music is NOT the same as actually learning ‘how to TEACH guitar to others’, so being a good player is no substitute for continual training with a coach who can show you how to succeed at teaching guitar.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #2: Not Working Enough ‘On’ Your Guitar Teaching Business

Teachers who spend almost all their time working on designing lesson plans, filing lesson payments and doing other smaller guitar teaching related tasks do not go on to become highly successful. Of course, it is important to work on these things but your guitar teaching business will only grow as a whole when YOU make it grow. In fact, whenever you ignore the business aspects of guitar teaching, your business will ‘shrink’ as you slowly lose students over time. This is a big reason why so many guitar teachers end up going out of business.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Invest time every week to work on building all areas of your guitar teaching business (in addition to working on general guitar teaching tasks). You should actively be working to find new ways to gain new students while retaining them longer, developing an effective referrals system, creating a solid teaching policy and putting together a great marketing strategy. On a piece of paper, write down your specific goals, detailing what you’d like to accomplish in the next several months to a year (or more). Then determine the steps needed to reach these goals and take action on them every week.

To learn how to attract more students fast, test your approaches with this assessment on how to find more guitar students.

Learn how to grow a massively successful guitar teaching business by using the information in this guitar teaching business survey.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #3: Having Little Or No Passion For Guitar Teaching

Regardless of your marketing or teaching skills, you will not become the number one guitar teacher in your area if you lack ‘passion’ for what you do. When you do not have a strong passion for what you do, it becomes like a ‘job’. This causes you to accept lower standards for your teaching and the results you get for your students (because you don’t feel incentive to get better). Eventually, this lack of passion will lead to you to fail in your business. In addition, your students will generally match the level of enthusiasm you have during lessons. When you are not highly passionate, they won’t feel as motivated to practice and apply the things you teach them.

On the other hand, the most successful guitar teachers have a very strong passion for teaching guitar. Although they DO teach guitar to make money, they also teach because it is something they truly enjoy doing. When you are passionate about teaching guitar, your students will notice and respond positively.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

To grow a passion for teaching guitar, you need to identify your greatest ‘reasons’ for wanting to become successful at it. Think about the goals that teaching guitar at the highest level will achieve for you. When you understand your greatest reasons for teaching guitar, you can use your excitement for achieving your goals as a motivator for teaching. This will help you to both enjoy the process of teaching lessons as well as use your motivation to inspire your students. When your students are inspired on a consistent basis, they will naturally achieve much more.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #4: Copying Other Guitar Teachers

When you copy what other guitar teachers are doing, you are very unlikely to ever become highly successful. Here is why:

1. As I discussed above, the majority of guitar teachers never reach high levels of success. By imitating the same things they do (this applies both to marketing and guitar teaching methods), you will only guarantee that you’ll get mediocre results as well.

2. Copying guitar teachers who seem to be highly successful will not work either. This is because you do not understand the complete strategy behind what they are doing – you only see the individual tactics. Tactics are individual actions that one takes to achieve a result. For example: hanging up ads in a music store, making your website design more professional or sending out flyers in your area. On the other hand, a strategy is the ‘big picture’ thought process that connects everything together and reach specific short, medium and long term goals. A strategy is built into the foundation of a successful guitar teaching business and cannot be understood by simply observing isolated tactics.

3. When you decide to imitate other guitar teachers in your area you essentially remove any ‘unique’ qualities from your lessons. This turns guitar lessons into a kind of commodity, where the ‘cheapest’ lessons are the best. If you follow this mindset and try to undercut everyone else in your area you will (at best) end up with very unmotivated students who are not serious about making progress on guitar. This is because most students know that ‘you get what you pay for’ and associate cheap lessons with low quality lessons.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Don’t build your guitar teaching business by merely ‘guessing’ about what might work. Use the approaches that successful guitar teachers use:

  • Seek out someone who can help you learn effective methods for teaching guitar so you can understand how to succeed at teaching guitar to get the best results for your students and overcome local competition.
  • Rather than marketing yourself as a guitar teacher who teaches ‘all styles’, select a particular style and become the local guru in that style. This will put your name at the top of anyone’s list whenever they are looking for someone to help them learn that style. Additionally, students who want to learn a specific style are generally more serious than other students who only seek ‘general’ lessons.

At a minimum, charge the going rate for lessons in your area. This is important because students who pay more for lessons have a natural motivation to ‘get the most’ out of their investment by practicing harder (making it beneficial for both you and them).

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #5: Having A Poor Mindset About Earning Money From Teaching Guitar

How can you absolutely guarantee that you won’t earn good money teaching guitar? Answer: Believing that it is ‘wrong’ to want to make a huge profit (6 figures+) through guitar lessons. Another way to be unsuccessful at earning good money is to refuse to market your lessons – relying only on word of mouth. Many guitar teachers either feel it is wrong to make a lot of money teaching others and never take the right steps to promote their teaching businesses. Here is why this is a MASSIVE lose/lose for them and the students in their area:

  • This kind of mindset will doom you to never earning a living as a guitar teacher (since you will never take action to make your business grow to a large scale).
  • Prospective guitar students in your area will ‘lose’ as well because your beliefs will make you to set up your teaching business in a way that limits the amount of students you can take in. There are tons of guitar players in your city who desperately need your help, but will never be able to work with you because you think it is ‘unethical’ to market to them or to attempt to grow your business beyond a certain level of income. In reality, teaching more than 100 students by on your own is completely realistic once you have the best systems in place to enable major growth. The best part is, you don’t need to work 100 hours every week (or anything close to that) to do it. I’ve trained guitar teachers to teach 100+ students in less than fifteen hours per week. Check out this video on how to grow a guitar teaching business to learn how this is done.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

You need to take on the same mindset used by successful guitar teachers in regards to money and marketing. Guitar teachers who flourish fully understand that:

By earning more money, they will gain the ability to re-invest what they make back into their business to benefit their students. When you earn more money as a guitar teacher, you can offer your guitar students many new benefits that you couldn’t before such as recording equipment, great quality rental instruments, bigger learning spaces, etc.

To earn more money you need to become the greatest at what you do. The desire to developing a flourishing business needs to be part of the motivation for offering the greatest results to your students. This is why successful guitar teachers invest into trainers who can help them learn how to succeed at teaching guitar.

Once you fully understand that you have the power to totally transform the musical lives of your students, it becomes you duty to gain as many students as possible so you can help them achieve their musical goals.

What is the next step to take?

After reading the points above, you understand some of the key things you need to do to start becoming the #1 guitar teacher around. Now you just need to take action to keep growing as a guitar teacher. When you apply the advice (and use the resources) in this article, you will notice that your business is expanding faster than ever and you will be able to provide better lessons to tons of new students.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is a professional electric guitar teacher and composer. He also mentors guitar teachers from around the world in his guitar teacher training program. Visit tomhess.net to get free guitar teaching tips and read more guitar teacher articles.