7 Questions That Sabotage Your Guitar Teaching Business

Author: Tom Hess

Author: Tom Hess

While growing your guitar teaching business, you will have many questions about how you can improve and become more successful. With this in mind, most guitar teachers unknowingly sabotage their own success by asking the ‘wrong’ questions that lead them down the path to frustration and failure.

I’ve spent many years training guitar teachers to become successful, highly-paid instructors… and during this time, I have come across a wide array of questions on the topic of “how to become a successful guitar teacher”. After hearing the same questions over and over so many times, I am able to immediately spot false assumptions about the guitar teaching business embedded within a person’s thoughts and beliefs. Simply put, many questions asked by guitar teachers are based on misconceptions that will ultimately lead you to failure. It is highly important that you ask the RIGHT questions that will help you flourish as a guitar teacher. To do this, you must identify the common questions asked by most guitar teachers that will limit you and prevent you from becoming successful. The following are seven major examples of these types of questions. Read through each one to learn why they are based on misconceptions and how you can avoid ‘sabotaging’ your guitar teaching business.

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Question #1: What Should The Price Be For Guitar Lessons?

When you ask yourself this question, you immediately set yourself up for failure because you begin thinking with the mindset that you must ‘compete’ with the price of other teachers or charge something that is fair in relation to those in your local area. To make matters worse, basing your rates on the rates of everyone else makes your guitar lessons seem like a commodity. This forces potential students to focus ONLY on the cost of lessons, causing them to view your guitar teaching as ‘the same thing’ offered by any other teacher. This effectively drains all incentive from them to choose you over anyone else in your local community.

On top of this, the question itself assumes that you only have ONE pricing option available to students (in the form of one on one lessons). This is a very limiting approach that is far from reality. Truth is, there are tons of teaching models that can be used that will help you bring great results to your guitar students, expand your teaching business and present many affordable pricing options for your patrons. Watch this guitar teaching business video to find out more about this topic.

The cost of your lessons should be directly based on the unique value you offer to your guitar students instead of whatever anyone else is charging in your community. Focus on working as hard as you can to increase the value you offer to your students, get big results for them and adjust your prices accordingly.

Question #2: Where Is The Best Location To Advertise My Guitar Teaching Business?

Here is why this question is destructive to the success of your guitar teaching business:

1. Contrary to what many guitar teachers think, there is not a ‘perfect’ location when it comes to marketing and advertising guitar lessons. To advertise your guitar teaching business effectively, you must exploit ‘all’ the marketing methods to help you continually grow and earn more money.

2. When you focus exclusively on a single method of gaining new students, you make your guitar teaching business extremely vulnerable. If you are unable to continually get great results from the single method you chose, your teaching business will crumble very quickly. You MUST diversify your advertising and marketing approaches so that you are not relying on only one all-or-nothing approach at any given time.

Moral of the story: Don’t look for a single, best approach to advertising your guitar lessons. Instead, learn how to develop an effective strategy consisting of ‘many’ approaches in order to expand your business faster in a much safer manner. You will discover many effective strategies by working with a guitar teacher success trainer.

Question #3: How Do I Get More Guitar Students?

There is no doubt that you must continually work to gain new students, however it is dangerous to think that getting more students is the ‘only’ way you can grow your teaching income. By itself, finding new guitar students is ‘not’ enough to grow and sustain a successful guitar teaching business.

Simply put, gaining additional guitar students is only one of many ways that you can earn money in your business. There are tons of additional ways to earn good money as a guitar teacher (many that you would never expect) and you must learn them all in order to be successful. Many of these ideas are explained in this free guide to earning money as a guitar teacher.

Question #4: What Must I Teach During My Guitar Lessons?

Seeking an answer to this question is very destructive for both you and your guitar students. Why? Your students are not taking lessons with you just so you can show them random stuff on guitar. They come to you in order to get a very specific ‘result’ or ‘solution’. You must help them get this by creating a highly personalized strategy for each student.

The majority of guitar teachers make the all-too-common mental error of teaching random guitar playing information/licks/songs to their students because they think this is what they are supposed to do as ‘good teachers’. On the contrary, you must design a specific strategy around your students’ unique goals to truly help them make progress on guitar.

Here is what you should do:

1. Change your perspective from searching for ‘things’ to teach your students to taking a laser-like focused approach to helping them achieve their own, unique goals.

2. Develop an ability to listen to what you students tell you about their playing and discern the main causes of the struggles they are having. This is just like how you are ‘treated’ for an ailment after telling your doctor the symptoms you are suffering from.

3. Become efficient at helping your students make process to realize their greatest musical goals.

To find out how to do everything mentioned above, work together with an expert guitar teacher trainer.

Question #5: Asking Your Students: “What Do You Want To Learn Today?”

At first, it may seem logical to ask your guitar students what they would like to learn during each lesson. Fact is, this is an extremely damaging question to ask and it will actually hold your students back from making significant progress. Whenever I help a guitarist choose a teacher to work with, I ALWAYS tell them to avoid teachers who ask them such a question. These are the reasons why:

1. As the guitar teacher, YOU are the one with the expertise. Your guitar students are your ‘students’ for a reason, and it is not their job to decide how they will become better players.

2. That said, of course your students will need to tell you what it is that they would like to learn. However, since they do not have the expertise you have, they are clueless about the process they must go through to get what they really want – Otherwise they would simply do it for themselves without wasting their time and money taking lessons with you. Many times, students will say they want to learn something when it actually takes them further away from their main musical goals (this is why your guidance as a teacher is so critical!).

Do not fall into the trap of expecting your students to figure out what they should be learning. Learn how to teach guitar more effectively so you can help them reach their goals fast.

Question #6: What Is The Best Way To Approach Teaching Make Up Lessons?

This is a very common question asked by guitar teachers. Unfortunately, no matter what answer you get to this question, you will end up damaging your guitar teaching business. True experts who have achieved massive success in their guitar teaching businesses will tell you that you should a) never teach make up lessons and b) completely abandon the idea of using a lesson cancellation policy. There are countless reasons why teaching make up lessons will ruin your guitar teaching business. Here are just two:

1. When you work additional hours without getting paid (to ‘make up’ a lesson), you LOSE money in two fundamental ways: First, you aren’t getting paid for the additional slot that is occupied by the student/time being made up. Second, when you work additional time to make up a lesson, you lose time that could be invested into developing your business and gaining more students. This effectively limits your potential growth and ability to earn money teaching guitar (in addition to turning your schedule upside down).

2. Your students will lose respect for you as a guitar teachers when they feel like they can walk all over you and ‘show up’ to lessons at their own convenience. Even worse, these kinds of students will not feel a need to practice at home or make a lot of improvement. As a result, they will make very slow progress. Eventually, you will end up damaging your reputation as a guitar teacher because word will get around that you have a schedule full of mediocre students who never reach their goals.

The solution to this issue is using a policy that states that all students must pay for each week of the year whether they show up or not (with no make up lessons allowed). This is the same method used by colleges who never refund student tuition or teach make up classes regardless of how many lectures the student attends. Successful guitar teachers utilize this same approach to build highly profitable businesses.

Question 7: How Do I Market My Guitar Lessons In A Terrible Economy?

This question contains the entirely unfounded assumption that you must utilize different marketing whenever attracting students during a slow economy versus attracting students a booming economy. This dangerous misconception could not be more wrong. If you ever receive advice for this question from another guitar teacher, understand immediately that they do NOT run a highly successful business.

Guitar teachers who achieve the greatest success utilize the same exact approaches to marketing regardless of the state of the economy. When it comes to your marketing approach, it should not matter how well the economy is doing. Instead of wasting your time trying to answer this pointless question, work on finding new ways to develop your business and market your lessons in ANY economy. Then use this approach with high intensity all year long. This is the ONLY way to consistently expand your guitar teaching business while others begin losing students and struggling as the economy shrinks.

After reading this article you have learned how even the most ‘common sense’ guitar teaching questions break down because they are based on false assumptions on how to become successful as a guitar teacher. To keep these problems from damaging your guitar teaching business, follow these steps:

1. Read through and study the resources mentioned in this article so you can understand how to become the #1 guitar teacher in your area.

2. Think about the topic discussed in each of the questions above and think creatively to come up with better, ‘high quality’ questions based on the advice I gave for each one.

Once you have followed these steps you will massively accelerate your progress toward becoming a successful guitar teacher and put yourself light years ahead of the competition.

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and guitarist. He also trains guitar teachers how to improve their guitar teaching methods. Visit his website, tomhess.net to read more articles about guitar teaching, get free guitar teacher skill assessments and guitar teaching tips.

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Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and guitarist
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