How To Teach Guitar
If you know how to play the guitar, you can monetize your skill by teaching guitar. However, this is not just a walk in the park. There are several factors to consider for you to understand how to teach guitar.
Just like any teaching job, you have to first be passionate about your subject. You can’t sustain your guitar students’ interest if you adopt a nonchalant approach. In summary, while it is smart to make money from whatever skill you have, you have it in mind that your first duty is to impart knowledge.
Before you start teaching guitar, you have a lot of planning to do. And when you eventually get your guitar students, you still have more planning to do. This article will give detailed insights into what must be done or avoided.
Do You Need Qualifications To Become Guitar Teacher?
People want to learn from someone that can prove that they have sufficient knowledge about a topic. To teach guitar, you necessarily don’t have to own a music certificate from a prestigious music school.
However, having one will definitely not hurt your chance at obtaining clients. Yes, it will help but it is not a necessity. Instead, you should have certain qualities as a guitar teacher.
What Are The Qualities Of A Good Guitar Teacher?
There are several things guitar students expect to see in their guitar teachers. This includes passion, knowledge of the guitar, patience, good teaching skills, and effective communication. Let’s go through each of them.
Being Passionate About The Guitar
You are not allowed to have narrow-minded thinking that your teaching is merely a means to an end. If you’re just doing this for money, your students will find out in no time and they wouldn’t be invested in learning from you anymore.
We would like to point out that this is not an attempt to dissuade you from making a living selling an essential skill. However, you must be passionate about the instrument as this will help to sustain the interest of your guitar students. They will need your positivity and passion to aid them in the learning process.
When it comes to teaching, patience is not just a virtue but a required skill that you must quickly learn. And when it comes to teaching guitar, a lot of patience is required.
When teaching your guitar students, you will need to maintain your calmness. If you happen to be short-tempered, being a guitar teacher might not be the right career path for you. This is because all your students will not learn at the same pace.
You are bound to have struggling guitar students and only your patience will help to ease the learning process for them. Also, if you happen to have a kid as a guitar student, you will need that patience with the young lads unless you want angry parents at your doorstep for losing your cool with their kid.
Knowledge Of The Guitar
You definitely should not attempt to teach guitar if you are at the beginner level yourself. People want to learn from an experienced guitarist. Even if you do not have a lot of references, you can still teach as long as you have continuously learned how to play the guitar and have successfully improved your skills over time.
For instance, at an intermediate level, you should have enough experience to pass on as a guitar teacher to a beginner. However, you should also keep learning to get better and improve your guitar playing skills.
Good Teaching Skills And Communication
Being good at playing the guitar does not automatically make you a good guitar teacher. Just like playing the guitar is a skill, teaching is also a skill.
You have to know how to bond and connect with your guitar students and how to read their moods. Know how to correct their mistakes in a way that does not affect their confidence. Praise them when they do well. And be a good source of motivation to them.
In summary, effective communication between you and your guitar student matters. They should always be able to come to you when they are in doubt. This is efficient in making them learn faster. When it comes to teaching guitar, you have to let go of your ego and do what is best for your students.
This is an important part of being a guitar teacher. Before you claim to be a teacher, you have to be able to play different music styles or genres.
Your guitar student may not be interested in your guitar repertoire, so you have to be able to teach a wide range of music styles to your guitar students, at least until they find their own niche. Also, being versatile will definitely come in handy when looking for guitar students to teach, which brings us nicely into the next section of this article.
How To Find Guitar Students
If you know you have those qualities mentioned above, the next step is to try to get clients. Finding your first guitar student might seem like a herculean task. However, there are few effective ways to go about it. To do this, though, you have to be prepared to spend some money.
This is one of the cheapest ways to advertise and find guitar students. Get a good graphic designer to create a professional-looking flyer for you. Make sure to add information on how you can be reached to the flyer.
Print as many copies as necessary, go to music stores and ask for permission to put up your flyers from the owners. You should also try to put up flyers mostly at guitar stores since people that go there are your target audience.
You don’t have to limit your flyers to music and guitar stores, though. Posting flyers in strategic locations in your neighborhood or city will also be helpful in advertising yourself. You can also create business cards and hand them out to as many people as you can.
Use Social Media
We live in a digital world and everything has been made easy by the internet. This fact can’t be overexaggerated. If you happen to have a lot of followers on your social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you can easily find guitar students by posting about your guitar playing experience and availability to teach.
It will help if you have uploaded videos of you playing the guitar on these platforms more than once. This helps to show the students how good you are and in turn, how much you can impart to them.
If you do not have a massive number of followers, there is no need to panic. You can still reach a lot of people by paying for your content to be promoted online. Another way is to make use of Facebook ads. This is called digital marketing and is very effective in reaching a large audience. This requires money, of course.
Create A Website
An official website will give you credibility. You can easily learn how to create a website online if you don’t have the funds or enlist the help of a professional if you can afford it. A professional is likely to know how your website can gain traffic and provide advice on how SEO works.
On the website, you can create a price list, guitar lessons schedule, and how you can be booked. You can also drive traffic to your website via social media platforms as we’ve explained before.
With the use of a few words, advertise yourself and post a link to your website for people that need more details. You can also use Youtube for this by creating a channel. You can start by creating short free lessons on the most searched topics, and then drop a link to your website for more fleshed out lessons.
Reach Out To Schools
You have a shot at getting guitar students if you approach schools in your neighborhood. You can try phoning several schools around you or send emails to them to inquire about guitar teaching vacancies.
However, if this proves to be tedious, you can try mailing letters using the post office. If you want to avoid carrying several envelopes around, go the “mailshot” way. This involves dispatching a mail to several people or locations.
Simply enlist the help of a direct mail service company, also known as mail houses, for this task. Make sure your letter contains a well-written cover letter of your teaching experience, playing skills, and improvements (if you have no teaching experience) and your curriculum vitae. The addition of a copy of any music certification you possess might help to increase your chances.
Creating A Price List
This is the most dreaded or ignored aspect for guitar teachers. Although we said you shouldn’t do this for money, money is still very important. You have to understand that you can help your students better if you have better earnings.
For instance, you will be able to lease a teaching studio, buy recording equipment, create more learning materials that will help you and your students. Believe it or not, without a proper pricing system in place, you will wear yourself out easily.
If it involves giving private lessons and you have to transport yourself to the venue via public transport or a personal car, make sure to add this to your teaching fee. These little expenses have a way of eating into your finances. However, if your student comes to your home to learn, you can charge at an hourly rate.
If you intend to offer your teaching services online, you also need to create a price system. If you want to teach via a website, simply upload instructional videos, and create e-books that can be accessed by paying a specific amount.
You should keep it in mind that you have to calculate what it cost you to create the videos and online materials before you make a decision on your pricing system. Your prices don’t have to be exorbitant, however, they don’t have to be too small either. Try to strike a balance.
One great thing is to check out what other similar teachers are charging and see how you can undercut the market without selling yourself too short.
Finding A Venue For Teaching
This is another thing to consider as you try to become a guitar teacher. If you are lucky to find a school to employ you, a teaching venue is not a problem. Also, you if a parent or guardian approaches you to give private guitar lessons to their wards, then you are in luck. However, if none of these is available to you, you have to look for other alternatives.
You can have the class online. Skype is a good option for this as it is for online video calls. Not just that, it allows up to fifty participants to join the call. This is good news for you especially if you have more than one student to teach. You can also use a park if there is one in your neighborhood. But ultimately, the best would be to save up for a studio.
Teaching Kids How To Play The Guitar
This is an honorable mention. In your search for guitar students, be prepared to have parents enlist your service for their little kids. Having a kid as your guitar student is a different ball game entirely.
Kids get carried away easy and might not be easy to control, so you will need the patience mentioned above in truckloads. Also, every human reacts well to being rewarded, however, children take this seriously. It also helps with their development in whatever they are being taught.
So, it is advisable to have a specially designed certificate to give them whenever they show improvement in their guitar lessons to keep them motivated. Any child that gets rewarded for doing something will always try to do better in order to earn more rewards. You should also try to come up with games to boosts their spirits and make the class fun for them.
What To Teach In Your First Guitar Class?
The first thing is to be confident, especially if you are new to teaching guitar. You might be a tad nervous but you have to show that you know what you are doing. Also, you have to learn how to ease your students into their guitar lessons. This is why you need to create a teaching syllabus centered around the topics they need to learn.
On easing your students in, a very helpful tip that has proven to be effective is to teach them the caged system. This acronym is gotten from the eight chords, C, A, G, E, D, Am, Dm and Em. It does not matter if you are teaching kids, teenagers or adults.
In as much they are beginners, this is the best way to go. It really helps them to make quick progress in their guitar lessons. You are not to teach them all the chords at once. Your first guitar class might be focused on how to get the guitar in tune, followed by the teaching them the g chord. Then, you can proceed to the next chord when they get the first one right. Don’t forget to throw in advice on how to care for the guitar.
Please click on the Youtube link below for more on what to teach beginners:
How To Create A Guitar Lesson Syllabus
A syllabus is simply a document with information on what will be taught in a course. A syllabus isn’t just limited to academic institutions, you can also apply to your guitar lessons to help you teach your students more effectively. You do not want to waste all that time to teach them, only to realize that they haven’t learned anything. The money might be good but your pride as a teacher will be bruised.
Giving guitar lessons does not just require you to meet up with your students and begin teaching them how to play the guitar, it goes beyond that.
Imagine guitar lessons as an academic pursuit as well as a creative one. Your goal is to impart knowledge on your students and you cannot achieve that by giving them guitar lessons in a haphazard way.
This is why we are going to go further by showing you how to create a guitar lesson syllabus.
Depending on the age range of your students, you have to create a syllabus that will make learning the guitar very smooth, easy and enjoyable for them. Let us begin.
What skills do you want to teach your students to make them great guitar players? This is one of the most overlooked questions that guitar teachers fail to ask themselves before proceeding with guitar lessons.
We recommend that you begin with the foundations, depending on the skill level of your student. For the sake of conversation, let us say that they are beginners. Here are the things you need to teach them:
The most important thing to start with is to teach your students music theory. You don’t have to necessarily take then through the entirety of music theory. But you do have to provide them with the basics of music theory that will have an impact on how you end up molding them as guitar players.
You must impart the knowledge of music theory to your students to help them understand the elements of music and aid your students in the classification, analysis, and composition of music.
Some guitar players would usually go through most of their careers without knowing much about music because they have got great ears for music. However, using your ears can only take you so far in your career as a guitar player and you don’t want to be responsible for training guitar players who know nothing about music theory.
Tablature is also one of the fundamental skills that you should teach during guitar lessons. You must also have learned to read tabs when you started as a guitar player which is why it is almost a no-brainer that your students should also do the same.
Tabs are a penned down version of the guitar string. Teaching your students tablature aids in giving your students understanding the guitar neck.
Let’s face it, people tend to be last when it comes to this aspect of music. They would rather just do their own thing as far as it sounds good. However, you need to curb this bad behavior in your students by introducing sheet music to them at the initial stages of their guitar lessons.
Raise your students like classical musicians. Using sheet music makes learning new works easier for your students and also improve their knowledge of music.
Pentatonic scales are the best scales to teach your students since most guitar music has them as their basis. You don’t have to stop there, though, tutor your students about minor and major scales along with harmonic scales to give them an edge over the average guitar player.
Mix things up and also include the Circle of the Fifths. Doing this will show them how pieces of chromatic are related to one another.
To help them assimilate better, break down the scales. Have your students play two notes in each scale. And then scale up from there. Get it?
Basic Strumming Patterns
You students cannot play the guitar until they can strum and this is popular opinion. Which is why you need to teach them some basic strumming patterns during guitar lessons.
You don’t necessarily have to dump all the techniques on them, as this can be very counterproductive to their learning process.
Simply pick two or three strumming patterns for them to work on until they are comfortable with the process. Here are some strumming patterns that we recommend:
- The Universal Strumming Pattern: This involves using a combination of the quarter and 8th notes.
- The Indie Rock Strum Pattern: This pattern is achieved with the combination of the Quarter, 8th and 16th notes.
- The Modern Strum Pattern: This pattern also uses with the combination of the Quarter, 8th, and 16th notes.
If you feel like things are getting boring for your students, you can always switch to teach guitar maintenance. They have to understand that a guitar player always treats his guitar with the same care and love as one does a baby.
Now that you already know the skills that you want to teach to your students, the next step is to break down these skills into schedules in a way that will neither overwhelm nor bore them to death.
Time And Scheduling
The best way to create a syllabus is to break down every lesson into time frames and strictly adhere to them. By doing so, you get the best out of the guitar lessons and you are able to measure the progress of your students (we will shed more light on this).
So how do you properly schedule your guitar lessons? Let us walk you through the process.
How Much Time Can You Spend Per Lesson?
Unless you are a music teacher in a school, you possibly cannot spend the whole day on guitar lessons. One of the most enjoyable about being a guitar teacher is the fact that you can have more than one student. So, this begs the question, what is the amount of time you can spend on every lesson optimally for your student’s growth while also not burning yourself out.
You must take your time to make this decision. Of course, you also have to factor in how much you are going to be paid and how many students you need to give a private lesson every day. The average time frame is usually between 30 to 45mintes per lesson.
Break Skills Into Categories
Now that you know how much time you are going to spend per lesson, you now need to figure out how to effectively teach your students the skills highlighted. We recommend that you break them down into categories such as Music Theory, Scales, Chords, Guitar maintenance, and so on.
Depending on how quickly your students can assimilate, you could take two categories per lesson. This translates to 15 minutes per category for 30-minute lessons.
However, you need to be flexible with your scheduling. If your student is unable to grasp what you are teaching, then you may need to teach one category per lesson. It is all you and your client.
Measure Their Progress
Before you begin gauging how well your students are doing, you need to play your part, How? You need to spend some time (let’s say 10 minutes in every 30-minute guitar lesson) checking their progress.
To properly measure the progress of your students, we recommend that you take regular assessments using the “show me what you know” approach. This is a performance-based method of gauging how well they understand and can perform what they have been taught.
This involves replicating everything you have taught them within the selected time frame. To ensure that they haven’t forgotten other lessons out of the regular assessment time frame, we suggest that you also give them holistic assessments on everything you have taught them students about the guitar, from time to time.
Teaching guitar is not something you should rush into once the notion occurs to you. You have to weigh your pros and cons and plan to the very small detail.
Also, when you achieve this dream, keep trying to become a better teacher. Come up with new ideas that will be of benefit to your students. Also, you should never stop learning as a teacher. There is always room for improvement.
Another good tip that will help your guitar students is to have group lessons. Try not to settle with private guitar lessons. Bringing your students together for lessons is effective in improving their playing skills as it’s sometimes much easier to learn in a group, rather than alone. Seeing someone else getting it right can be a great motivation for the other students who might be finding it a little difficult.
Anyway, with that said, go out there and get your first student!