#1
Due to the focus of this site the title should probably be; How did YOU get into teaching guitar? but any instrument goes as I'm sure the similarities are endless. I'm asking the question to those who teach professionally i.e. it is a job, not just teaching a friend a few chords.

How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?

Did you have any qualifications?

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.

What are your working hours like?

How much do you charge?

How do you advertise?

How long did it take for you to start making a profit?

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)

How long do your students stay with you on average?

I've got a load more questions to be honest, so any other information you can provide is appreciated. I'm basically doing as much research as I can to decide how to go about teaching guitar, without paying out for a Guru's guide to being the awesomist, richistist teacher in the world.
#2
I got into teach in kind of a strange way back in 1981 or so. I just put up an ad in the local music stores about teaching the styles of EVH, Rhoads, Page, Page, Hendrix, etc...and different styles beyond that.

The cool thing is all the older teachers in the stores were getting a lot of requests for the EVH and Rhoads styles but these teachers were old school teachers ala blues-rock, country, and jazz.

So, my first three students were these teachers! And I was very successful with a couple of them. I also had a couple of other students to in the process. Then after about a year one of those teachers was leaving his long time teaching job at his store and suggested me as his replacement! That's where teaching became more of an aspect of my life.

How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach? 5 years or so.

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach? I'd say I was advanced and knew quite a lot about theory and was able to cop almost anything off the record...cover gigs were my profession at the time, because I was could at picking things out by listening...we didn't have tab or the internet back then.

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach? I'd say my diatonic theory and fretboard knowledge was pretty solid but from a self-learned view. I swore by the book Chord Chemisty and it really helped me connect the notes in chords and scales together all across the fretboard better than a lot of the guys I was hanging out with.

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school? Self-employed. I played for a living from 1978 to 1992. I had some odd jobs here and there but it was pretty much 52 weeks a year with a few weeks off here and there. I taught out of the house one day a week as well as 3 days a week at 2 different music stores in the area.

Did you have any qualifications? No, just word of mouth and meeting new/potential students at my gigs. And, all the music stores knew who I was as a person and as a player and as a teacher.

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied? Never applied at a school, but taught at music stores, they knew who they were hiring at the time. So, the expectations were to be on time, teach all levels of players including n00bs, and keep the students coming back as well as a waiting list to get in. I have taught classroom type lessons, mainly theory, for different instruments. But again, it wasn't in a school.

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc. I've had a fulltime job since 1992 and have taught privately on the side out of the house...but these days I teach no beginners, ONLY intermediate to advanced players.

What are your working hours like? 8-5 at the day job and I only teach one day a week now, but keep an every other week schedule with my students. So, for 5 hours each Monday I have 10 one hour students.

How much do you charge? $30/hr

How do you advertise? craigslist, music stores, on forums when I find local people. I also have people who drive 100+ miles away you will come in for 2-4 hours grand slam lessons. So, I also advertise across the state.

How long did it take for you to start making a profit? Back in the days when I taught 2-4 days a week I made a profit right away I think. Now I do it for the fun/love of teaching and letting other great players take some of my ideas and expand on them.

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced) Intermediate and Advanced only. I offer them the best teacher in the area, a great teaching environment, a felxible schedule, 20+ years of teaching, 30+ years of performances, and the ability to teach just about any style and concept they want to learn or explore. I also offer them lessons in the direction they want to go OR in a direction I think they should go.

How long do your students stay with you on average? I don't have a high turnaround of students. I have one guy who has been a student over 2 years, and about 4 that have been with me almost a year, as well as a couple of guys who are 'floaters' (due to their ad-hoc work schedules) that have been with me about 6 months.

And I have a few others on a waiting list.
Last edited by MikeDodge at Jan 4, 2010,
#3
How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?


About a year and a half. I wasn't interested in rock stardom, my music was too weird to make money of itself, and I love teaching. It was a vague ambition at first (I was still really into physics and philosophy at that point) but it solidified over the years.

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?


Rubbish, really rubbish. I didn't just jump into "professional" teaching though, bear in mind I was 16 when I first took money for lessons and I lived with my mum and dad and charged a fiver an hour. Probably what the lessons were worth at the time.

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?


Quite good, actually. I could do everything that people on this site ask about, harmonise, create chord progressions, even do some genuinely modal stuff, although not that well. I couldn't read notation to any practical standard or have the more advanced understanding of rhythm I do now.

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?


Well, the plan is and always has been to have my own studio. However, as I live away from home and in a city away from friends and family, I had to make a jump from "real job" to "guitar tutor" and make enough money to survive the start up. As such I needed to work through music schools. That said, I don't resent them or look down on them in any way - my dealings with all the three schools I've worked for have been excellent and I owe them my deepest thanks.

Did you have any qualifications?


Well, A level music, grade 6 theory certificate and a grade 6 guitar cert (long story as to why I didn't go higher, but never mind). In short, not impressive qualifications at all, but better than nothing.

Between those I was able to sit a Electric Guitar Teacher's diploma, which I did pretty well in (95%!) and I'm planning to move up to the next level in spring.

I'm also a Registered Guitar Tutor.

Those qualifications have helped and were definitely worth the cash and effort, but if I had been able to grow my business in my home town I doubt I would have bothered.

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?


Well, treating it like a real job. Show up on time, prepared, ring if sick or late, treat customers with respect and do a good job. Be a good human being and help pupils and parents get their money's worth. I have to bring my own guitar and I have to print my own teaching materials.

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.


I'm basically self employed - I do a number of small weekly slots at 2 music schools and a secondary school. My apartment is not suitable for teaching and that limits my options.

What are your working hours like?


Around 20 hours a week including perp for classes, almost all my work from late afternoon on, although I work Wednesday from 1pm till 9pm. I'm still building my base and with the recession and the fact that I'm not exactly well connected here things aren't moving too fast - they're snowballing gradually though, and I plan to be working properly in a year or two.

How much do you charge?


It depends. I had a large group class that I earned around 50 euro an hour for (which is lots), but for individual lessons my charge is 25 an hour. There are special cases I teach reduced rates for, a class including some autistic and fostered kids, and some gifted students from poorer backgrounds.

How do you advertise?


I don't, my schools do the advertising. Aside from that, it's word of mouth and recommendations.

How long did it take for you to start making a profit?


Well, there aren't too many expenses, so, immediately.

However, last year was pretty tight, I wasn't earning much and rent here is (was) ludicrous. Basically, if you like to party and you have expensive hobbies, don't expect the money to roll in from day one.

That said, I'm earning more than twice what I was then just by getting more work and better paid work. After around 18 months of working hard at this I'm earning a little more what I did in my best "real job".

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)


Well, a little of everything and a lot of metal and rock.

How long do your students stay with you on average?


Well, most of my current pupils I have had for my whole teaching career in Dublin, when I was teaching in the north it was around 2 years (although I did leave for Dublin so they didn't have much choice).

Hope the answers helped.
#4
Quote by Myshadow46_2
Due to the focus of this site the title should probably be; How did YOU get into teaching guitar? but any instrument goes as I'm sure the similarities are endless. I'm asking the question to those who teach professionally i.e. it is a job, not just teaching a friend a few chords.

Very cool idea.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?

I'd played for about 5-6 years at first, trying to work things out on guitar - all self taught. Things started to form with me a certain way back then. I was living in L.A. at the time, and people started asking me questions about the way I was playing. I started to realize I was at the start of something different...and back then which would have been the early 90's, and tried to write and publish a book. But, realized that if I wrote the book, Id have to make sure that it worked on others.

So I started advertising for students and the word of mouth (yes even in Los Angeles) quickly got me more students than I could handle. These were the early germinations of the ideas that I now call today my Academy Cirriculum....they went on to develop over the next 10-12 years. The book while completed, never got published, I just didnt have the resources to do so, and by resourced, I mean know-how and $$$ to print it, (other than about 50 spiral bound copies from Kinkos and an ad in Guitar for the Practicing Musician).

When the Big Northridge Meadows Quake hit in 94, a lot of people were left in bad shape, including myself and my students. One was killed when the apartment fell in on him. The upheaval, of that year started a series of events into my life which culminated with me moving to Fresno, where I had all but given up teaching. However over the years I'd continue to play. I was discouraged by the lack of response to the book and set it aside.

In early 2000, a lot of people, mutual friends and such saw me playing in a few Texas bands and again questions followed. The girl I was with at the time, said a few people she knew wanted lessons. I put them off. Then one day I walked into a music store where another guy that knew me, said "Sean, they need teachers and I know you have this unique approach to the guitar." Well I'll be honest with you, I didnt think I had much to offer anyone, I thought my time had come and gone years prior. But they talked (browbeated hahah) me into it, and in 5 months I had more students than the rest of the teachers combined! I was a reluctant entrant into teaching - it sort of followed me around till I said yes.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?

I was called the "anti-guitar hero", because I wasnt flashy, just smooth and on point, I really played for the band I was in and never for my own self indulgence. But Im a basic player, I would say. That which you practice you'll perfect. I didn't really practice technique and such because of some tendonitis injuries when I was younger
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?

Strong and word of mouth spread quickly when all of a sudden guys everywhere started popping up and trying to take lessons.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?

Today I own a physical Academy which consists of myself and other students that have been through it, graduated it and were then trained to teach. When I started I worked from someone else's music store. I also own a guitar store, from which the Academy derives its name.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

Did you have any qualifications?

No - hahah I was the reluctant guitar teacher, I didnt feel at all qualified or smarter than anyone else. It was a bit of a shock to the system seeing how others responded.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?
They wanted me to encourage the students to buy things from the shop - I told them I couldnt do it in good faith, because the stuff they sold was junk. And Ive always refused to sell junk (That's why I sell ESP and G&L and not ack...F****r Don't hate!).
Quote by Myshadow46_2

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.

I own a building.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

What are your working hours like?

The Academy runs 6 days a week, closed Sundays -
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How much do you charge?

We charge $80.00 a month, depending on if we have any openings for students. When I started I kept it at $60.00 as long as I could till the cost of everything went up so high in 06-7
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How do you advertise?

I don't/and didn't at all. Word of mouth did it all, which is part of what convinced me that we had something unique and special. Although the Newspaper did catch wind of it and ran some features on us and some of our students. Then the High Schools started to take notice.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How long did it take for you to start making a profit?

Wow, I mean what you invest is sweat equity - all I ever did was seek to keep doing what I love doing. The money followed, but Id say for me profit comes right at the start, we invest it back into the community, I do a lot of Big Brothers, Boys and Girls Clubs etc., work a lot with churches, and other places locally equipping people sincere about learning etc. There's a lot of forms of "Profit"... money's never been a motivator for me. I love the intangibles, of seeing someone go where they never would have had we not existed.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)

We'll teach all levels - I prefer... and feel we are best suited for the Intermediate and Advanced though - what we would teach beginners, I feel they can get anywhere, and there are a few independent instructors who will often swap their intermediate and advanced guys with us for some of our beginner students, and then when those instructors have taught the beginner students the basics, they funnel em over our way, and we take them the rest of the way. It's very cool how we are recognized and respected and its not a competitive thing at all. They realize they can't do what we do, and we aren't trying to take every beginner with a First Act guitar from WalMart.

As for what we teach - Its very theory based, made simple. Scales all over the neck, Chords, Triad theory, Diatonic Harmony, Composition. The graduate Knows every scale in every key in every direction. They are like chord computers and can rattle out notes in chords and scales, like no ones business. They can compose, they can analyse, improvise and are self sufficient on the guitar. Once you know all your scales (stopping sort at Jazz-level stuff), chords, triads, seamless application of theory and diatonic harmony, and be able to do anything you want, the student can go off in any direction on the guitar musically, basically just play and enjoy for the rest of their life, and when they run into something, its not going to be over their head, in most cases. It's a total solid musical foundation, and now they have the rest of their life to build upon it.
Quote by Myshadow46_2

How long do your students stay with you on average?

They don't leave willingly - Graduation, moving, school issues, etc...some have to stop for Football season and beg us not to let their slot go and will pay to keep it open though they arent using it. Openings last less than an hour. One graduate brought a friend in from work on his last lesson so that the friend could have his slot at the end of the final lesson. I have had students make excuses to stay around learning and exploring advanced concepts for as long as 6 years so far....
Quote by Myshadow46_2

I've got a load more questions to be honest, so any other information you can provide is appreciated. I'm basically doing as much research as I can to decide how to go about teaching guitar, without paying out for a Guru's guide to being the awesomist, richistist teacher in the world.


Glad to help, but if you can just find contentment and not worry about money and teach from the heart and hold to some core principles you'll be a happier human being. Teaching is a gift, and Ive been fortunate to make a living doing two things Im passionate about...helping others and the guitar.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 4, 2010,
#5
How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?

About six years.

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?

Intermediate.

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?

Strong.

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?

I started with teaching privately out of my home. (my parents' basement). These days, I teach in the public school system, but not music.

Did you have any qualifications?

At the time, no. Just a couple of years of playing in bands, some private study, and some high school music. Now, an honours degree in music (classical guitar), Bachelor of Education, and Ontario Teachers' Certificate.

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?

In the earlier days, I looked at teaching at a music store. Their expectation was *usually* that you had at least some college level (or university level) music courses, but not necessarily a diploma or a degree. Sometimes, being friends with the owner's son or being in his band was enough.

To work in a public school in Ontario.... is a whole other kettle of fish.

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.

I taught at my home mostly. I went through a period where I taught at people's houses, but I won't do that again. I wouldn't teach for a store either.

What are your working hours like?

When you run your own show, you choose what your hours are, though typically expect a lot of evenings and weekends.

How much do you charge?

When I quit teaching guitar privately, I was around $15 for a half hour lesson, which pretty well reflects the going rate around here. I've recently started teaching voice, and I charge $17 for a half hour lesson.

How do you advertise?

Internet now for vocal students, and word of mouth. In the past, I have put fliers up in grocery stores and libraries and such, and have run ads in the paper, local music magazines, etc.

How long did it take for you to start making a profit?

When you work out of your home, there is no overhead, so everything right away is profit.

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)

I taught all levels of guitar players, focusing mostly on rock and classical. Even at that, though, 99% of my students were beginners or intermediate students. Currently, I teach vocal production. The student can apply that to whatever genre they choose.

How long do your students stay with you on average?

Couple of years.... some a lot more, some a lot less.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#6
How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?

almost 10 years

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?

Good enough to teach. But as a musician, it is never good enough for me.

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?

Above average. I was doing things people learn in their second year of uni

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?

Self employed. I teach privately in my own home on sundays and mondays

Did you have any qualifications?

grade 3 (of 4) contempory guitar
grade 3 (of 8) theory
grade 2 (of 4) Music craft.
units one and two of vce music, 10 years of guitar lessons

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?

not valid

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.

I teach at home on sundays and mondays. I teach after school and during lunchtimes at school.
What are your working hours like?

Easy, I make sure it doesn't interfere with hours I need to work on my own thing
How much do you charge?

$15 half an hour.. but I'm 16. My private teacher charges $55 an hour
How do you advertise?

I have a sheet of paper up in the music department of my school, and the guitar teacher at my school reccomends people to me if they want/need extra lessons
How long did it take for you to start making a profit?

As in, make all the money back I spent on gear and exams and school fees? It'll be a long time before that happens..

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)

I offer my students a head start and look into the highschool music expectations. If they are already in highschool I help prepare them for VCE or exams.

How long do your students stay with you on average?

None have left me yet. But started middle of last year..
#7
Thanks, so far most of those I'd like to reply have and I'm really appreciative of the input. I want to teach but just needed to see how others have got into it to help me formulate a plan, so to speak. I guess this isn't the most opportune time, being in the midst of the recession, to start; but as I've been made unemployed I think it may *fingers crossed* be a sign!
#8
How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?


4 or 5 years, but i never pursued it seriously till recently... it's been 9 years now since i started playing guitar, and i started teaching late last year.

How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?


pretty good, really. i know my theory, i write rock songs with my band all the time that kick ass, and i've always made a habit of being technically sound.

How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?


as good as it is now, which is pretty good.

Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?


self-employed all the way. why would i need a boss for teaching guitar? all it takes is me, a student, and guitars. music schools take a big cut; they have to pay for the boss' salary and the rent and upkeep of the building. this means the student pays more, but the teacher makes less.

Did you have any qualifications?


i can play really well, and i can explain it just as well. no official credentials though.

If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?


n/a

If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.


I drive my vehicle to the student's homes and teach there. I have a couple students who come to me at home as well.

What are your working hours like?


lax right now. i only have 10 students, so it's about 10 hours a week, lol.

How much do you charge?


25 bucks an hour plus 5 or more for travel if it's not really close to me.

How do you advertise?


for free online, with sites like kijiji and craigslist. i also post ads on local campuses

How long did it take for you to start making a profit?


right away, i guess... i already owned my jeep and guitar when i started, so there was not really a start-up fee, and the business costs nothing but time to operate, so there's no overhead.

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)


all of the above.

How long do your students stay with you on average?


i've only been teaching four or five months, but i've still got most of the students i started with. this question is a bit tough for me to give a good answer to at this time.

hope that all helps!
#10
How long had you been playing before you decided you wanted to teach?
about 3-4 years
How would you rate your playing when you decided you wanted to teach?
enthusiastic
How would you rate your theory knowledge when you decided you wanted to teach?
that of a 16 year old
Did you decide to become self employed or did you look for work elsewhere e.g. a music school?
self employed
Did you have any qualifications?
btec in popular music which is an average qualification for a 16-17 year old
If you found work at a school or established music business, what were their expectations of you when you applied?
to motivate,be a teamworker,be creative
If you are self employed, how do you operate? E.g do you rent a room, teach from home, teach at the student's home, teach from a school etc.
i teach in a school,from home,in rehersal studios and in a church meeting room
What are your working hours like?
4 days a week.
How much do you charge?
£40 per hour
How do you advertise?
mostly word of mouth and www.rgt.org
How long did it take for you to start making a profit?
instantly

What do you offer your students? e.g. what genres you teach, What level do you teach (beginners\intermediate\advanced)
motivation,achieving goals,self esteem
How long do your students stay with you on average?
nearly always keep in touch even when we dont have lessons.
I require a term's notice 10 weeks in writing should a student wish to stop lessons.