Tom Hess, professional guitar player, musician in the symphonic metal band Rhapsody Of Fire and guitar teacher coach gives his insight on the concept of success in the guitar teaching business and how you can achieve it for yourself.
Does it ever seem to you that some guitar teachers simply “know” how to be successful and always have an abundance of students (who get real results)? It can be frustrating to not know how to get great results for your guitar students and struggle to gain even a small level of success teaching guitar lessons. Fortunately, becoming a successful guitar teacher is a goal that you can reach; and it only requires understanding and integrating few key concepts into your approach.
After teaching over one thousand students as a professional guitar teacher and helping many other teachers learn how to become more productive in getting results for their students, I have spent a great deal of time figuring out the whole story behind what makes some teachers successful and others mediocre in order to best help my clients attain great results in their guitar teaching businesses. After much research, I have observed that most guitar teachers posses some kind of balance between two sides in their mindset. These sides consist of one side that focuses on strengths and another that focuses on weaknesses. The guitar teachers who have highly successful guitar teaching businesses have mastered the ability to channel the side of them that focuses on using their strengths to their advantage while guitar teachers who do not experience much success tend to think mostly from the side of them that focuses on weakness (more on this shortly).
Previously, I have created many guitar teaching articles that deal with specific ideas on what you should ‘do’ as a guitar teacher to make your guitar teaching business more successful (if you have not yet had a look at these article, get your free guitar teacher business to get more ideas for making money as a guitar teacher). For the purposes of this article, I am going to explain to you a concept that will be instrumental in your growth and success as a guitar teacher. When I personally train guitar teachers to become more effective in their teaching strategies, they become very familiar with this idea.
The Psychology Of A Guitar Teacher
As guitar teachers (and people in general), we all have different parts of our psychological makeup that direct our behavior in every action we take. Similarly, the way you develop expertise as a musician or guitar teacher depends on the skills that you focus on most. That said, for each ‘strong’ quality you possess in your musical or teaching abilities, there exists an opposing (and connected) ‘weak’ quality that often keeps you from reaching your full potential. If these weak qualities remain undetected, they will quickly overwhelm your strong qualities until you take the time to identify and correct them. This commonly occurs to all guitar teachers (experienced and inexperienced (usually without them even knowing about it).
If you have not yet become a successful guitar teacher, it will be very important for you to learn how to gain the most benefit from your strengths while avoiding the negative side effects of the weaknesses that come bundled together with them. If you are unable to do this, all of your efforts to learn how to become a great guitar teacher will be destined to FAIL!
Every guitar teacher will a successful guitar teaching business knows about this, and fortunately; you can learn this for yourself regardless of whether or not it is something that comes naturally to you.
To give you an example, here are some of the most frequent qualities I see in the guitar teachers I train. In the following chart, I will show you how each strength in one’s personality can also contain an underlying weakness. In fact, there could actually be MANY weaknesses listed beside their corresponding strengths. However, in order to avoid an extremely lengthy article, I have decided to narrow it down to one weakness for each strength.
It is essential to identify that each one of the strengths in the left column of this chart are certainly good characteristics to have and will be helpful in making you a better guitar teacher. However, you must also recognize the different ways that these strengths can also turn into weaknesses until you take the initiative to learn how to stop them from doing so.
|Guitar Teacher Strength
|Opposing Guitar Teacher Weakness
|You are an advanced guitar player.
|While teaching less experienced guitarists or guitarists who have never played before, a lot of guitar teachers with highly developed playing skills have trouble relating to the mindset of their students. This is a problem because beginner students make up the majority of all guitar students you will teach. It is essential to be able to identify with beginner students who have not yet developed significant guitar playing skills.
|You have already been teaching for a long time.
|After teaching guitar for a while, it becomes hard for these types of guitar teachers to break away from the methods they are used to. This approach becomes very limiting over time as continually using the same methods does not bring great results for new students. In order to achieve great results for your guitar students (and take a step forward in your teaching skills), you will need to innovate and break away from some of the methods you are accustomed to.
|You are excited to teach guitar and get the best results for your guitar students.
|Having a great deal of passion for teaching guitar is certainly a necessity for any guitar teacher; however, it is very common for guitar teachers in this group to ignore the business aspects of teaching guitar. This results in helping less guitar students because they simply cannot afford the time to do so. In fact, the more income you make as a guitar teacher, the more you can use your money to increase the overall value of your guitar lessons.
|You have a very disciplined approach to learning guitar and take music very seriously.
|Guitar teachers who possess this strength generally cannot relate to students who are learning guitar “just for fun”. The truth is that almost all of your guitar students will be interested in guitar as a hobby, and until you can relate to their basic guitar playing goals on their level, you will have a hard time getting them to come back for lessons.
|You play several instruments in addition to guitar.
|When guitar students look for someone to teach them guitar, they are much more prone to seek the help of an ‘expert’ who specializes in guitar rather than someone who teaches many different instruments. By marketing yourself as a teacher of many instruments, you may actually end up doing more harm than good to your reputation as a guitar teacher.
|You have achieved many things in your professional music career.
|As you invest a lot of time into your music career, it usually leaves very little time to improve your teaching skills so you can teach guitar at a high level. In fact, this is a major reason why many pro musicians who are already successful in their music careers are unable to help their students achieve BIG results.
|You always have a collection of new ideas that you want to work on to grow your guitar teaching business.
|The guitar teachers in this group often experience frustration as they begin working on new projects on a consistent basis, yet never make significant progress because they never see their projects all the way through.
|You spend a lot of time rationalizing different possibilities in any given situation.
|While it is a great quality to be able to map out different possibilities for the scenarios that may pop up in your guitar teaching business; this can often lead to “over-analyzation”. While it is important to think things through, it is also important that you take the necessary action to do what needs to get done in order to realize your guitar teaching goals.
|You usually get things done on your own.
|Being able to work on your own is important; however it is also important that you do not neglect asking for help when it is necessary. To quickly build a successful guitar teaching business, seek out the advice of someone who has already achieved your guitar teaching goals.
|You have a strong and persistent work ethic.
|It is common for people who are persistent to also adapt the trait of being stubborn. This can hold you back from cutting out ineffective teaching methods or approaches in the way you run your guitar teaching business.
|You enjoy offering all you can for your guitar students and making every lesson as enjoyable as possible.
|Guitar teachers who seek to give their guitar students as much value as they can have a tendency to overcompensate and give “too much”. Additionally, these types of teachers have a hard time with confrontation and struggle to enforce their teaching policies.
|You often think of new and innovative ideas.
|These types will often take steps to innovate before they fully understand the fundamental way that things work (that work just as effectively). Being an innovator is a great quality to have, but only when innovation is used without sacrificing the conventional methods that already work well.
What is the next step?
You now have a detailed understanding about how the strengths and weaknesses of your personality work together to get you to behave in a certain way. Take advantage of this knowledge now by reading the steps below and taking action to begin growing your guitar teaching business:
1. Read again through the chart above to identify your own strengths and weaknesses as a guitar teacher and for running your guitar teaching business. Learn more about this by taking this free guitar instructor personality assessment.
2. Invest the time to come up with a solid plan for how you will maximize the benefits you receive from your strengths while avoiding the negative aspects that may come along with them. Take note of the daily actions you take as a guitar teacher and compare them the chart above in order to help you identify and eliminate any limiting thoughts that will keep you from becoming a great guitar teacher.
3. Know that becoming stable and balanced in your “guitar teaching personality” means consistently planning ahead and seeking out the advice and training of an expert who has been in the same situation as you. It is very common for guitar teachers to act in the moment rather than take the time to map things out and plan ahead. Although they probably understand that it is important to make plans, they simply cannot get into the habit of thinking ahead. If this describes you, or if you are not really sure about what “weaknesses” you need to focus on eliminating, then you will get the most benefit from working with someone who can help you with this.
4. Make a commitment to refine your current approach in your guitar teaching business by keeping the above ideas in mind.
With the advice of this article in mind, you definitely should continue to expand your understanding of all the things that you need to “do” in order to improve as a guitar teacher. However, keep in mind that until you figure out your natural strengths and weaknesses, what you “do” will be limited to small results. As soon as you truly learn how to take advantage of your strengths and minimize the effect of your weaknesses, you will be able to make quick progress to grow and expand your guitar teaching business to great new heights!
About The Author:
Tom Hess is an electric guitar teacher online, recording artist and the guitar player of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He trains guitar teachers from around the world on how to build their guitar teaching businesses in his guitar teacher program Visit his website tomhess.net to receive many free guitar teacher resources, and to read more articles about teaching guitar