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Solstice
06-02-2006, 06:50 PM
I have been studying for a few years now and am ready to take some beginner students. I don't know how to go about building a base of students to teach. Some of my questions are:

What is usually required for a store to hire someone to teach guitar?
What kind of pay and time requirements are involved in the profession?
How competitive is the profession?
Should I teach privately or at a music store?
Is it best to go to students or make them come to me?
What has worked well for you as a teacher?
What kind of equipment is needed?
Are there any specific methods or books I should read?
Thank you. Please fill this thread with as much knowledge as you can about anything and everything regarding teaching guitar. It will be a nice find for any future teachers looking for hints and tips too.

7StringShred
06-04-2006, 06:53 PM
I have been studying for a few years now and am ready to take some beginner students. I don't know how to go about building a base of students to teach. Some of my questions are:

What is usually required for a store to hire someone to teach guitar?
What kind of pay and time requirements are involved in the profession?
How competitive is the profession?
Should I teach privately or at a music store?
Is it best to go to students or make them come to me?
What has worked well for you as a teacher?
What kind of equipment is needed?
Are there any specific methods or books I should read?
Thank you. Please fill this thread with as much knowledge as you can about anything and everything regarding teaching guitar. It will be a nice find for any future teachers looking for hints and tips too.

Though I am in your current posistion and am wondering some of the many questions you asked, I can tell you as a former student to quite a few guitar players what some of the answers are.

1. Alot of stores will hire you on knowledge basis, that's why I've been soaking up as much theory as possible, not only just for myself, but for the sake of getting a job I will actually enjoy. Some stores will want to see a music degree showing how credible you are. While helpful, that doesn't mean all of those who have a degree with music *should* be teaching.

2. Usually, when teaching in stores, you rent out a "studio" and by "studio" I do mean a hole in the wall, unless you've got a really nice music store. This means you have to pay them for the space you're borrowing, which is why most guitar teachers are around $20 per half hour. Which is perfectly acceptable, as long as the teacher has got the goods as far as teaching is concerned. Time requirements, if by chance you are talking about your availability as far as being there is concerned, the more students you obtain the more you have to be there. It is not demanded that you be there at all times.

3. That question is best answered by the guitar teachers in your scene. If you have 20 other guitar teachers in your town capable of creating little John Petrucci's then it's going to be fierce, but then again, it SHOULD be up to the students as to what they want to learn, otherwise you will never hold students. As a teacher, you *mostly* need to be able to play, and play your *** off. If a student wants to know how to play let's say, Alex Skolnick's several solos in Testament's "Electric Crown" you had better be able to play that solo as good as, if not better than Skolnick himself.

4. Privately teaching at first glance would seem easier than a music store, but most people won't view it as credible...Once again that word seems to attack with full force in this profession. Good music stores will recommend you to those who are curious enough to want to take lessons, hence giving you some students and that begins your base.

5. Both can work, you just have to know how people work. Young and old alike. You can easily intrigue or offend someone by going to them offering lessons, wether they're decent at the instrument or not. Being easily approachable as well as having a laid back/knowledgable/fun attitude will gather students faster than being dry.

6. Seeing as how I haven't really taught yet, because the only people I have experience with are my little brother and girlfriend, and both get irritated quite easily, the only advice I'd have is the golden rule. As well as make it fun, don't cram what *you* think they should know into their heads. When they ask you to teach then Ozzy Osbourne's "No More Tears", teach them that until they want to move on. If they're intrested in that song, then offer them the tools to create Zakk Wylde licks of their own so they can find what they like, throwing them a couple of Dminor pentatonic licks won't bore them if you make them fun. That's what this is all about, the love of music doesn't have to be boring, but fun and intriguing.

7. Not alot of fancy equipment is needed. A couple of practice amps, in the vein of Fender 15 watts will do just fine. However, having two cheap Line6 digital modeling amps would be alot more effective in the long run for having effects that your students will be intrested in, flange, chorus, delay etc etc, not to mention every kid that wants to hear that thick wall of Enter Sandman distortion. We all know it's true.

8. The one thing I can tell you is, don't turn away from *any* book. Glance at it, see if you can take away something intresting from it to make you a better player. I have all sorts of books, from Guitar magazines to all sorts of excercises, scales, modes as well as Yngwie books to Petrucci books, I even have a Japanese pop song book with some pretty intresting chord progressions.

In the long run, you'll never be the ultimate teacher, but what you can do is keep on progressing, don't think that just because you're a teacher you know it all. Even Steve Vai has doubts of himself sometimes, no one is the best, but what we all can do is aspire to achieve the best we can be, as musicians. I hope my reply has helped you.

-A

joeyd929
06-07-2006, 05:30 AM
I have been studying for a few years now and am ready to take some beginner students. I don't know how to go about building a base of students to teach. Some of my questions are:



What is usually required for a store to hire someone to teach guitar?
What kind of pay and time requirements are involved in the profession?
How competitive is the profession?
Should I teach privately or at a music store?
Is it best to go to students or make them come to me?
What has worked well for you as a teacher?
What kind of equipment is needed?
Are there any specific methods or books I should read?
Thank you. Please fill this thread with as much knowledge as you can about anything and everything regarding teaching guitar. It will be a nice find for any future teachers looking for hints and tips too.




I ran an ad in a local paper back in 1980 that I was giving guitar lessons and acquired 4 students. Two I kept for about a year. It was a little extra money and a good learning experience.



This past year I ran an ad in another local paper and had some free business cards printed up at www.vistaprint.com (http://www.vistaprint.com) just for the free advertizing. Well, one piece of advice I can tell you is that you need to carefully word the ad, which is what I did not do.



I always end up getting calls from parents who have kids that want to learn guitar. I decided to try traveling to the student's homes and give lessons in their house. I ran the ad and got two calls the first day. I had one that kept blowing me off by never being there when I would arrive at the house.



The second was this 10 year old kid that would not listen and had no interest in practicing. So make sure you are ready to teach kids or be careful to word the ad so you don't get kids for students. They are preoccupied with sports, school, video games, and all that kid stuff. Very far and wide you will get a kid with real desire to learn..I stopped teaching the kid after about 5 weeks, he just would not practice..



So my advice is decide what age group you would like to teach. If you work at a music store I guarantee you will get a bunch of little brats and maybe some serious young adults with some interest.



IF you teach by traveling you can pick your own students and don't have to give any money to the music store owner. The music store owners act like they are doing the teachers a favor but from my point of view we are doing them a favor by keeping regulars coming to the music store. They should let teachers keep 90% of the money.



One thing I used to do when picking students is that I would give them this little quiz. There are really no wrong or right answers but you can learn alot about a person. Some of the questions I would ask are here.



1. Why do you want to play the guitar?
2. What kind of music do you like to listen to?
3. What kind of music do you want to play?
4. Do you like sports?
5. Do you play sports?
6. Are you willing to practice at least 15 to 30 minutes a day?
7. Do you have family members that play any instruments?



These are some of the questions. Notice questions 4 and 5...All about sports. I ask this because in my experience, all the students that like sports and play sports will drop you in a heart beat to go to a game or to play their particular sport.




People that play sports and musicians are two perverbial oxymorons. The sports minded person will go with his or her passion everytime, and their passion is sports. I'm not saying I will not teach sports fans but just be prepared for a million and six excuses as to why they did not practice.

Things like
"The game was on"

"I had practice"
"I had to watch the pre game"
"I'm working on a new play"

There has to be a passion there or I will not teach them, it is just a waste of time otherwise..



Good luck, you will need it..

silent-storm
06-07-2006, 07:47 AM
you might want to take a read through this whole thread:

www.kurtrosenwinkel.com/boards/viewthread.asp?forum=AMB%5FAP495900630&id=8164&sr1=students&sr2=&ExMth=no#post8164 (http://www.kurtrosenwinkel.com/boards/viewthread.asp?forum=AMB%5FAP495900630&id=8164&sr1=students&sr2=&ExMth=no#post8216)

some good advice

don't know why it loads 3/4 of the way down and all the red STUDENTS was just part of the search function

Solstice
06-10-2006, 04:11 AM
guys thanks for all of the great advice! anybody else? keep the information coming! :cool:

bukena
06-19-2006, 04:51 PM
The one thing I would comment is that one has to be very careful in selecting your words to talk to students. Try to always be possitive and reassuring. Aviod using negative words whenever possible... it limits the student.

In regards to cancelations... I always explain to my students that they are paying me for two things: My knowledge and ability to communicate with them AND MY TIME. They are reserving my time. If someone comes and offers me twice as much money... I'll turn them down because I already made the commitment with them... they reserve my time. I get paid for cancelations, I'll give them the class on another date, and most of the time they never make arrangements to take those classes.

bukena

silent-storm
06-19-2006, 06:09 PM
The one thing I would comment is that one has to be very careful in selecting your words to talk to students. Try to always be possitive and reassuring. Aviod using negative words whenever possible... it limits the student.bukena

When in doubt give them what my boss used to call a 'sh*t sandwich.' You layer a negative aspect of what they are doing in between two highly praised good things that they are doing so it kind of slips by with less of a sting.

live
06-20-2006, 11:44 AM
I've had about 5 students for about 1 year but now I only have one who is more like a friend from the gymnasium (high school)... But it's okay - he can learn a lot from me and I can motivate him and teach him new approaches and I kinda teached him some very necessary things... The positive effect with the deal is that I can concentrate on my degree! After that I'm going to hire at a local music school / music store
________
Free ikea gift cards (http://bestfreegiftcard.com/ikea-gift-cards/)

SkinnyDevil
06-20-2006, 02:36 PM
I have been studying for a few years now and am ready to take some beginner students. I don't know how to go about building a base of students to teach. Some of my questions are:

What is usually required for a store to hire someone to teach guitar?
What kind of pay and time requirements are involved in the profession?
How competitive is the profession?
Should I teach privately or at a music store?
Is it best to go to students or make them come to me?
What has worked well for you as a teacher?
What kind of equipment is needed?
Are there any specific methods or books I should read?
Thank you. Please fill this thread with as much knowledge as you can about anything and everything regarding teaching guitar. It will be a nice find for any future teachers looking for hints and tips too.

How well do you play? What skills do you have? Why do you want to teach? How confident are you in your abilities not only as a player, but as a teacher?

Many stores just let you teach (they usually don;t "hire" you as such - just rent the space) if you play pretty well. Some make you give a lesson to each of the instructors so they can evaluate you. Others have other screening processes.

Time & pay? Depends on how well organized you are, but it can be VERY time consuming even for the most organized person. Pay? How much do you want to make?

Very competitive...depending on your location.

I do not travel to homes, but I do teach at several locations. I have developed my own method, but alway ssggest you buy several books (Progressive, Suzuki, whatever) to have some sort of framework to start with. I also book & bill by the month, NOT by the lesson.

Gear? Guitar, paper, pen/pencil, CD/tape player.

See where you stand on this rating system. All the teachers in my network must be at least "silver" to join.

http://www.skinnydevil.com/excellence.html
SDML Guitar Awards - Awards for Guitar Excellence {...i n s p i r e ...}

jazz_snob
06-20-2006, 10:25 PM
What is usually required for a store to hire someone to teach guitar?

1. You already have students (they will ask you this!)
2. They have room for another teacher
3. They like you (hint: get a referral from someone they know, customer, employee, etc)


What kind of pay and time requirements are involved in the profession?

Well I did spend a fair amount of time getting some lessons together (you know, stuff on paper and photocopying) but its a great gig. Basically once you get your "stuff" together there should really be no "extra" time other than the actual teaching.


How competitive is the profession?

I don't think its "competitve". In every situation I've been in we (fellow teachers) all felt like we were in the same boat. The store was signing up the students, and they basically put them w/ whomever has the time slot available. However, getting _into_ a store you could be up against some stiff competition (like recent college grads, etc).


Should I teach privately or at a music store?

Definitely at a store. You don't want those rocker types coming to your house! Also, liability/legal reasons probably. The only teachers that I went to their house to study with were top-notch guys --- what i call "world class" players (one for jazz, the other for classical).


Is it best to go to students or make them come to me?

I think this was covered in "at a music store", above. Plus they are selling instruments all the time so there is an influx of "new blood" as it were.


What has worked well for you as a teacher?

Being able to play any style (or fake it) on the fly. Having ability to listen to the CD they brought in and say "ok lets play it like this" (ie having my ears/musical knowledge together). Being able to work w/ kids (you may want to set a lower age limit, like 10? or 12? I usually tried to interview the child and parent directly if they were under 13).


What kind of equipment is needed?

Your guitar. Binder. Store usually provides amplifiers and music stands.


Are there any specific methods or books I should read?

Well, you need to know what you are doing, whatever level you're at. If the students aren't learning or having fun, they won't come back. On a related note, when I set up at a new store I go to their book section to see what they have for "noobs" (like mel bay or whatever). Then you have something you can tell brand new students they have to buy so they can work out of it and the store already has it in stock.

I kept about 20 students in my schedule usually. Was some good $ and fun times. I'm going to try and get back into it since I could use the extra dough.

Solstice
06-28-2006, 08:20 AM
See where you stand on this rating system. All the teachers in my network must be at least "silver" to join.

I've got all of bronze except the 5 strum songs, a bunch of silver, a few gold, and nothing in platinum.

TheTerminator
07-02-2006, 01:54 AM
I'm a guitar teacher. I have about 50 students and I teach out of a store on the line of RI and MA. Let me give some insight into the store vs. private teaching debate.

People claim that teaching privately allows you to make more money than teaching at a store because you don't have to give a cut of your earnings to anyone. Sorry, but that's nonsense.

First of all, YOU have to advertise. CONSTANTLY. YOU have to put ads in newspapers, YOU have to have business cards made up, YOU have to make fliers, YOU have to get YOUR name out there. There's a lot of time and money involved in this. And, like I said, it's constant. When you teach at a store, THEY find you the students, THEY advertise in the newspapers, THEY are basically doing EVERYTHING for you.

When I walk into the place where I teach, it's pretty damn nice opening a little book and seeing 50 names on my schedule and it's pretty damn nice knowing that if three of them quit today, I'll probably have those spots filled in a week's time. That's the other benefit of teaching at a store; people are always coming in and buying guitars, amps, strings, tuners, etc., etc., so that means they're always inquiring about lessons.
The consistency of teaching out of a store or 'music school' (as some of these places are called these days) far outweighs the benefits of teaching out of your house or finding students on your own in my opinion.

Also, when you pay for a room at a store, you're not just paying for "the room." You're paying for air conditioning, heat, lights, electricity, etc. SOMEONE has to pay for that crap. And, if you were doing it out of your house, YOU would be doing that anyway with your own money.

There is, however, a line between a store taking a fair amount and just dicking over teachers. A fair deal these days is for the store to charge $17 a half hour and to give the teacher $11 out of that $17. So, the teacher ends up making $22 an hour AFTER he or she gives the store its share. I've heard stories of some shops literally taking 50% (or more!) of the profit. That is just ridiculous. So, you must watch out for that, too.

EricV
07-02-2006, 02:20 AM
I agree... I teach at a school right now, and also used to teach at stores, and I always liked the fact that I didnīt haver to deal with logistics in both cases. At the school, the office prepares the schedules, advertises, takes care of getting the money, sets up the contracts etc.
For a while I used to teach private students exclusively, but whenever I work at a school or store, I find myself limiting the amount of time I teach private students
Eric

ChrisJ
07-02-2006, 03:23 PM
The only other thing that has yet to be discussed is this.

Teaching in music stores or privately means that you will be mostly catering to teenagers, which is fine by the way. But you will have to satisfy them. I don't know about you guys but when I started lessons at about 13, I wanted to learn "Stairway to Heaven" and "Purple Haze." I mean that's why most people start anyways, to learn tunes that they enjoy. My teacher at the time would bring my records home with him and have the whole song transcribed (in standard notation, not tab) for me for my next lesson. He would keep the original chart and give me a copy. He would use the chart for other students as well, he had a box full of them. He would show me how to play the tune and take home another record for the next lesson. He must have been busy transcribing tons of tunes at home or between lessons. After a few years of that, I finally started to get on to more "conceptual" studies such as chord scale relationship and what not. When I was younger, I taught at a music school also and was stuck figuring out Iron Maiden tunes for the kids but like my teacher i brought the tunes home and transcribed them. It was good for my ears and transcribing skills. Anyways, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it is important to use your lesson time properly and spend time after lessons preparing. Even if you don't like the tunes it is important to do it to keep the students interested.

-CJ

forgottenking2
07-02-2006, 07:02 PM
I have done that exactly. I must have taught at least 500 songs last year alone ranging from girly pop (Kelly Clarkson and Avryl Levigne mainly and some others I can't remember) to heavy metal, some traditional country as well (I had a lady who was in her 70s and wanted to learn those tunes) it was fun. I learned a lot about what is stilisticly correct in certain styles and I kept everyone happy but like Chris said, it's time consuming. The internet helps but you have to double check the tabs. You don't want to get there with a wrong tab or be like, "hey I couldn't find your tabs at powertabs.com so we'd better pick another song". Also, half the time I would have to figure out at least part of the song on the spot so I could show them something normally they would walk out with a partial transcription and I would finish it by the next week. I am not doing much teaching anymore (I had to get a full time job that pays more and keep the teaching part time, plus school doesn't leave much time left anyways) . Now if I could remember all those songs. I kinda jumped the gun on not making copies of them for myself (duh!!) so I guess I was double working a bit.

My experience with it. In short: Chris is right.

-Jorge

TheTerminator
07-04-2006, 04:58 AM
As I stated in my previous post, I have about 50 students. What I normally do is play a song, like say, "Crazy Train," or "Bark at the Moon" and say, "Do you know that song?" and they usually do. So, I ask if it would be cool to learn that song and they're always totally into it -- even the ones who don't know it.

I've made a list of like 20 songs that I do this with:

- Pride & Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughn
- Knockin' on Heaven's Door - the GnR version
- Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
- Time of Your Life - Green Day
- When I Come Around - Green Day
- Brain Stew - Green day
- Sweet Child 'o Mine - GnR
- Crazy Train - Ozzy
- Bark at the Moon - Ozzy
- Enter Sandman - Metallica
- Wipe Out
- La Bamba


And, a bunch of other ones. I've learned that you automatically keep students interested if they simply playing SOMETHING cool. Most of the time, even if they don't know the song, they'll go home and download it.

I have a 14-year old girl who went home and literally downloaded "Bark at the Moon" and is freaking RIPPING through it! Not the solo... yet... but, the verse riff...it's hilarious.

I'm gonna start doing some 'oldies' tunes, like "In the Still of the Night" and "Sleepwalker." I think that stuff would be kinda fun to do...

jrvipond
07-21-2006, 03:45 PM
This is all good stuff. I'm intending to get going teaching full time within the next 6 months so all this advice is gold dust.

Tell me though, what problems did you all encounter when you first started teaching guitar? Anything, like organising your time and resources, how you approached teaching at different levels, how long it took you to get established and how did you overcome them?

Jon

SkinnyDevil
09-18-2006, 12:58 PM
(Solstice said) I've got all of bronze except the 5 strum songs, a bunch of silver, a few gold, and nothing in platinum.
You'll need a lot more than 5 strum songs if you plan to teach. I'd suggest having 5 strum songs (simple 3 or 4 chord songs) in several styles (folk, rock, country, etc.). The song totals assume you also have plenty of songs you can play that are not simple strum songs, but remember that most students aren't going to attempt "Stairway to Heaven" until they can play "La Bamba" or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" suimply because they'll meet qith quicker success on simple songs, and learn a lot in the process.

I firmly believe that one must understand basic chord construction & modes, read at least a little, have a real understanding of the fretboard, and the like to begin teaching. That said, I didn;t have all of that when I started teaching years ago, but I suspect I did a dis-service to my students in that respect.

My suggestion is to use the ranking system as a set of goals and go after each one systematically. Then you'll have an objective set of criteria which you knwo you've mastered...and the confidence to go with it.

(Jon said)Tell me though, what problems did you all encounter when you first started teaching guitar? Anything, like organising your time and resources, how you approached teaching at different levels, how long it took you to get established and how did you overcome them?
It took me 20 years (hahaha!). I'm a somewhat successful self-employed musician and I've been teaching a long time (I currently have about 75 registered students). I took off a number of years after gettign burned out on teaching, which was my fault for being less than properly prepared. When I went back to teaching about 5 years ago, I came in with a more solidified method and a realistic view of the free market.

Problems can be placed in two categories: teaching problems and business problems.

The biggest biz problems I see with other instuctors (the same problems I had) are no concept of how to market your services to either teaching venues or students. Much of that is discussed in this thread, but suffice it to say that hanging flyers on phone polls or taking out a small ad is not going to enable you to teach full-time in most markets. I'd be happy to expound on this if you have specific questions.

The biggest teaching problems I see (again, the same problems I had) are lack of preparation and no guiding method. I always suggest to a player who wants to teach to use some specific method (Suzuki or Mel Bay or whatever) and then tweak it as they go to fit their teaching style and their student's needs. Again, I'd be happy to expound if you have specific questions.

Hope this helps...