Sad but true: almost 100% of guitar instructors choose 'mediocrity' as their standard of achievement. These teachers fail to make a big effort to move beyond merely having enough students to 'get by' and have no real commitment to getting great results for their students. In addition, of the guitar instructors who have great ambition, only a select few are able to reach their greatest potential because they have no clue of what can really be achieved.
The good news is, it's not as difficult as you think to become the leading guitar teacher in your local area with the most students and the most profitable business. The first step to doing this is understanding why the majority of guitar teachers are unsuccessful and learning which steps to take in order to achieve success for yourself.
These are the five biggest reasons why guitar teachers will never achieve success in their teaching businesses and the details for how 'you' can avoid their mistakes to become the leader for guitar instruction in your city:
When you copy what other guitar teachers are doing, you are very unlikely to ever become highly successful. Here is why:
1. The majority of people teaching guitar are not successful. Therefore, when you copy the methods used by these people (either marketing or approaches to teaching students), you will only head down the same path of failure.
2. Even when you attempt to copy what the more successful guitar teachers in your area are doing, you do not know the entire strategy that goes into their efforts - you are only seeing a small portion of the 'tactics' being used. A tactic is one action that is taken to complete a single objective. This includes things like placing ads in the news paper, improving the design of your guitar teaching website or putting flyers in different locations around town. In contrast, a 'strategy' is the overarching mental process that connects tactics together in order to achieve many different medium and long-term goals. A strategy exists well below the surface of what you observe and it is something you will be unable to imitate without a deep understanding of the inner workings of someone's business.
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.
Rather than copying individual tactics from other guitar teachers and blindly developing your business, use the approach of successful guitar teachers:
* Work with your own guitar teacher coach to learn how to teach guitar better and develop a successful guitar teaching business. This is the greatest way to construct your own business strategy while using the most effective guitar teaching methods to get the best results for your students.
* Rather than marketing your lessons as 'general' guitar lessons, focus on ONE musical style to teach and become the leading expert in your area for that specific style. This will instantly place you at the top of anyone's list who wants to play that style of guitar and will help you get the attention of more serious students. At first, this may seem illogical, however, 9 times out of ten, guitar teachers who teach in a specific (but still well-known) musical style niche are much more successful than those who attempt to become a jack-of-all-trades.
* When determining the price for your lessons, charge at least a little bit above average. By charging 'more', your students will feel much more motivated to practice more frequently and improve because they are paying more for their lessons. Charging more helps keep them accountable to themselves because they don't want to waste all the money they are spending.
If you believe that it is 'wrong' to desire making a ton of money as a guitar teacher, you will NEVER become the lead instructor in your area or earn good money teaching lessons. You will also not achieve success in your guitar teaching business if you think that you don't need to market yourself because you can just 'teach guitar really well' (or that word of mouth is the only ethical way to build a business). A lot of guitar instructors think it is unethical to desire making tons of money from teaching guitar. This causes them to never take action to promote themselves and grow their businesses. Here is why this kind of mindset is Lose/Lose:
* You'll struggle to earn enough money to get by since you won't be taking the necessary actions to grow your business at a bigger level.
* Guitar students in your local area will suffer because your belief system will cause you to build a business that prevents you from growing beyond a certain number of students. There are countless guitar players in your area who truly desire your help but will never get the opportunity to work with you due to your views. With this in mind, it is definitely realistic to want to teach 100+ students once you have the correct systems in place (and you can do so working 15 hours or less per week!). Get more information on how to do this by watching this video on how to build a guitar teaching business.
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 get trained by a experienced coach on how to develop a successful guitar teaching business.
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.
When you exclusively spend your time on building lesson plans, sorting through administrative tasks/payments, thinking of new materials and other smaller teaching tasks you will not become hugely successful. These things are certainly necessary to work on, however, you must also focus on building your guitar teaching business as a whole in order to become truly successful as a guitar teacher. If you neglect doing this, your guitar teaching business is likely to diminish (meaning you lose more students than you gain) over time. This is one of the main reasons why so many guitar teachers go out of business.
In addition to performing any of the usual guitar teaching tasks you must complete, invest time each week into furthering your guitar teaching business. For example, take the time to develop strategies for gaining new students, keeping students longer, getting referrals and creating a strong teaching policy. Write down all of your medium and long term goals as well as the actions you must take to reach them. Then take action each week based on what you have written down.
For help gaining a lot of students fast, assess the effectiveness of your current methods using this assessment on the topic of how to get guitar students.
Learn how you can develop a successful guitar teaching business by using this assessment for building a guitar teaching business.
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).
Understand that your guitar students don't just pay you for results - they open themselves up to your direction for determining their musical future. You are in the powerful position of having the ability to greatly help them or hold them back. This is why you should take 'becoming a great guitar teacher' extremely seriously.
Note: merely being a good guitar player or going to college to learn more about music is not the same as actually learning 'how to TEACH guitar', so being a good player is not a viable substitute for working with a trainer to learn how to develop a successful guitar teaching business.
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.
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.
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.
Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.
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