Hi, I'm thinking about doing private guitar and bass tuition, as it sounds like a good way to make extra money, and get some teaching experience.

My main issue is, I'm not too confident on where to start with teaching, and despite the fact that I've been playing for almost 10 years, I'm not incredibly confident on my music theory, but I've spoken to some friends who do teaching as a side job and they have said that it is incredibly easy, because if you are teaching at an beginner/intermediate level, you would generally know more than the student if you have been playing for a while.

As I'm new to teaching, i am thinking about setting my rate at £30 for a lesson lasting an hour, however, for new students i will offer the first lesson for free. Is this a good idea? On one hand it will attract new students, and if they feel that they haven't really gotten anywhere then they won't feel ripped off, but at the same time, I'm sure not many people do this when they first start teaching, and it might cause more loss than gain. I'll advertise myself with business cards in music store windows, give them to friends, anyone wanting to learn guitar or bass, basically.

Think of that next time you are not allowed to laugh.
Is 30pounds a standard rate per hour? If so, sounds good. If not, lower your price.

Honestly, I don't see an issue with the first lesson being free. Usually, the first lesson is along the lines of "What do you want to play? What bands/styles do you like?". Then, you really get into things on the second lesson. If you charge 30pounds for what amounts to talking to the new student, that's kind of lame anyway.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 7, 2014,
I'm sure I've heard of some teachers offering the first lesson for free, but I have no idea about what percentage of teachers do it.
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I teach as a way to help me survive at university, I have a range of pupils from ages 8 to my oldest at 46! I always offer the first lesson for free because some times I don't satisfy the way the person wants to learn guitar or my methods of teaching just aren't right for everybody so I never have any hard feelings if someone tells me they don't think I'm the right teacher for them! However, £30 for a lesson? that's expensive! I charge £20 for an hour 1 to 1, very competitive rate in Manchester! Especially if you are only teaching beginners - intermediate players! £30 would be understandable if you were offering theory tuition a long with the lessons, but if you aren't very good at theory, no offence but I don't think teaching is for you.
free first lessons just sounds like honest business to me. but £30 = $50...i paid $55 per hour for a piano teacher with real credentials who prepared me for grade exams. £30 for some guy who has been playing guitar for 10 years is wayy too steep.
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Hey, great question!

My response is coming from the perspective of someone that teaches for a living, and is governed by some core ethics and values, that I have to feel in my conscience are being followed. And so as I share my thoughts, I hope you will take these things in that light, and not as one criticizing your decision. I think teaching is a noble thing, and not everyone can do it. But, we all start somewhere.

The first thing I would suggest, is that you look at yourself. Are you worth the standard rate, as it is right now. I would say that you are not. The reason is, you have no teaching chops, no teaching experience.

Teaching is not a given, it's management of the goals, it's understanding how to build structure into those goals, but a lot of it when starting out, is simply trial and error, because you don't know yet what works. You havent learned the difference between reaching out to a 32 year old taking a lesson with you after work to a 14 year old girl smacking her gum and swinging her legs indifferently because Mom said she had to learn an instrument. Two motivations, how do you harness both people?

More importantly, how do you deliver VALUE for both of them, for what you are being paid? How do you manage personality types?

You haven't learned that yet. You haven't developed the flow for that. So, I suggest that you may not BE at the marketplace level that the other teachers are, for the same price. This is a conscience thing, and for me it boils down to, "am I giving honest value for my skillsets and abilities and knowledge, to this person who just paid and entrusted themselves to me"?

That being said, It's important that you do place a value on yourself, your time, your efforts and preparation. Because you will have these first students as guniea pigs. I suggest price yourself humbly, but in reason. Don't UNDERvalue yourself, or else people will not value you either. They are looking to improve and learn and if you dont look like you think your lessons are that good based upon your price, then why would they?

So in my area, standard monthly is about 80.00. I'm $100.00. But you might be fine at 60, if you were starting out. I know someone at 45 around here, but I wouldnt advise going lower.

How long should you keep that rate? At some point, if you do well word of mouth begins to travel. When you have about 10-12 steady students, raise up to market. You are now in the stream, and there should be no issues with that. After all you have 10-12 happy campers in your system. It's justified.

Secondly, I don't think 1 lesson free is a good barometer on how anyone will fare at lessons. I would suggest making one lesson free, but package that with a monthly rate. So if your price would be 60 a month, do 45.00 for the first month. This gives you 4 opportunities to sit in with that student, and learn their personality and they yours, and begin to build those early successes, and establish that trust relationship. One and done is far too soon for either of you to make a good determination as to if this is a good fit.

Good luck and wish you the best of success!

Also, watch good teachers. Look at people who give good lessons and make note of their approach, how they break things down. Learn the benefits and nuances of making a complex thing simple.

Last of all take something you know well and try to play opposite handed. If you are right handed, switch hands and try it left. This will help you stay grounded as to how challenging it can be for your beginners, and remember what it's like to be new and unskilled. We tend to forget how hard it is for these guys, and that remembrance can definitely influence your teaching approach and how patient you are and inspire you to find better ways to break down something for them.


Last edited by Sean0913 at May 7, 2014,
Thanks for the responses, guys.

Having quickly searched for guitar tutors in my area online, most are charging around about £20 at a minimum, and quite a few of them have a similar level of experience as i do, albeit with more teaching experience. I think i'll see how things go at £20 per session, maybe £15 for a half hour session.

Sean, thanks for all the advice. Not many guitar tutors around the area charge monthly, and usually do it on a lesson by lesson basis, but if (or when, hopefully) i start teaching, i might look at offering students the option to pay for a months worth of lessons at a discounted rate, so maybe knock ten or fifteen pounds off if they pay monthly.

EDIT: As for good teachers, i would say my main inspiration would be my previous teacher, who was willing to help out with pretty much any style, even though his forte was jazz, and he put emphasis on the fact that learning new skills comes slowly at first.

Think of that next time you are not allowed to laugh.
Last edited by donender at May 7, 2014,