How to Make a Living from Teaching Guitar

Here is how you can actually make a living from teaching guitar lessons. Read on if you can play guitar reasonably well, have a lot of patience, and you can communicate with confidence and you would like to be able to give up your day job.


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    Start teaching immediately. Teaching is a skill best learned by experience and the sooner you start the better. Depending on your experience level, either start with friends and family members; teaching them for free, or offer to teach beginners for a modest rate (such as £10 per hour in the UK or $15 in the US). The classic mistake many would-be guitar teachers make is to think that they have to “complete” learning the guitar themselves before they will feel ready to teach. The fact is that you can never complete learning the guitar – it’s just too big a subject.
    • During this time, you should put together some teaching materials like a list of beginner songs you can teach along with print-outs of tabs and scales and exercises that your students can practice at home.
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    Study all you can on the subject of teaching guitar, all the while continuing to teach so that you build concrete experience that will help you make sense of what you are studying. This is by far the single most important factor to your success as a professional. The reason why it is easy for you to succeed in this business is because it is crammed to the gills with people who are not great at teaching. It’s not that they are bad people – it’s just that they haven’t realized that the job is not about being a great guitarist – it’s about being a reasonably good guitarist but a brilliant teacher! And, some great guitar players are terrible teachers, just like some great doctors have terrible bedside manner.
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    Start thinking of guitar teaching as a business. Set a goal for how much money you'd like to make per year from teaching guitar then, research other guitar teachers in your area. See how much they charge even if it means calling as a potential student. Find out what the going rate is because that's about where you should start too. (As demand for your lessons grow, you can raise your rate.) Divide your annual goal by the rate you're starting off with and that should be approximately how many lessons you need to give to meet your goal. (E.g. To make $20,000 a year charging $40 an hour, you need to give 500 lessons in a year, or about 42 lessons a month.) However, there are other things to consider. This site may help you to gain some ideas: [[1]
    • Where are these students going to come from?
    • How will you handle cancellations of lessons?
    • What about student turnover?
    • When do you get to take a holiday?
    • What do you do during the summer if no one wants lessons?
    • How much do you have to pay in taxes from this income?
    • Can you write off any business expenses, like mileage you use to get to people's houses, if you commute to teach?
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    Promote your teaching business extensively using a variety of methods. Since the business primarily is local, focus on methods such as community boards, fliers and possibly local newspaper. Traditional advertising such as ads in newspapers or radio can be very expensive so keep track of your money if you choose to advertise. Consider using discount coupons as a way to increase your responses.
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    Consider getting a professional logo if you don't have competent design skills. It will set you apart from 90% of other guitar teachers and show potential clients that you're serious about your business. This article talks about that a bit more, among other things:[[2]. Keep in mind that a logo's job is only to attract attention. In the long run, it's the quality of your teaching that determines your success. In other words, don't spend too much time or money on a logo when you can spend time developing your teaching business in other ways.
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    Build a website and use your logo. If you do a search for guitar teachers in your area (e.g. guitar lessons Denver) you will probably find very few websites, and the ones you do find will likely be very basic. Take advantage of this niche by building a simple but clean and professional looking website, and using search engine optimization to your advantage.[2]
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    Design a flier with your logo and URL. Post hundreds of those fliers around your neighborhood (coffee shops, gyms, stores, telephone poles).
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    Get some cards printed. Tell everyone you come across that you are now teaching guitar professionally and have vacancies for beginner students. Hand out your cards and also leave them in places where people will find them.
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    Communicate your enthusiasm for teaching. Don't be picky. Don't go into teaching with the mindset that you'll take only "motivated" students (i.e. students who practice diligently). Most people looking for lessons are motivated to some degree, and their motivation will also depend on how the lessons go, and how you teach them. Plus, some people just don't have time to practice, and a guitar lesson is a chance for them to relax, so that might mean going over the same simple song several times with them.[2] Don't get frustrated if people don't practice outside of their lessons, just remember they're paying you to teach them guitar, and how much progress they make is ultimately up to them.


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