A look at how you can teach guitar as a way to increase the money you make from music. Includes the three ways in which you can deliver your lessons, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions I often get.
Hey guys, today we're going to look at how you can make an additional income from your music by teaching others to play guitar. There are always new people wanting to learn how to play guitar, so if you tap into that market there is money to be made. Some guitarists make a full time living from this, but even if you could earn a side income from your efforts, I'm sure that'd still make it worth while? If so, read on for all the info.
There are three ways you can run your guitar lessons. First, by holding them face to face in person. The second is via teaching live over the internet. The last, and probably my favorite, is via setting up a online course, and getting people to enroll in that course. I'll show you why this is my favorite method later, and why it could be a good earner for you.
In all honesty, you don't have to pick just one of the above methods of teaching guitar. If you want you could even use all three methods to increase the amount you make from guitar lessons, so have a look at each and decide which is best for you.
A quick note; this guide is part of the "Full Time Musician" series I've been writing, and one that aims to get musicians earning more from their talents. I hope you find it useful.
The Difference Between Playing Guitar and Teaching Guitar
Before we go any further, I have to point this out:
Just because you can play guitar well, it doesn't necessarily mean you can teach it.
The art of passing your knowledge onto another person is a completely different skill than being able to do something yourself.
In order to teach guitar well, you need to be able to see things from their point of view. You need to take things step by step, and you need to be sure not to miss anything out. It's all to easy to assume your student will know something because it seems obvious to you. Remember though, it's only obvious because you learned it from someone or through experience. If you're this person's first teacher and they haven't got any experience yet, chances are they don't know these "obvious" things. So make sure you're through and cover all the basics in full.
If you're new to teaching guitar, try to remember back to when you were first starting out. What questions did you have? What did you want to learn? What were the most important things you learned?
You should also think back to your lessons if you had any. What did your teacher do well which you can also replicate? What are other top teachers of guitar doing that you can replicate? You shouldn't copy their lesson plans of course, but get an idea of what makes a good teacher and apply it to your own lessons.
Being a talented guitarist definitely gives you a head start when it comes to getting people to take your lessons, but be sure you can effectively pass on your knowledge to others.
Do You Have to Be Qualified to Teach Guitar?
This is a question I was first asked when I suggested a guitarist friend of mind gets on teaching: do you have to be qualified to teach guitar? Well, yes, you do. Not in the sense where you need to take a course and receive a certificate saying you can teach guitar, this isn't always what guitar students are looking for. That said, you do need to know what you're talking about, and be able to impart good practices on your students. You don't want to teach them bad technique, so if you're not fully confident you can make the people who approach you a better guitarist, then you may want to get better yourself before anything else.
Other than that, a lot of newbies look at the ability to play well and having shows behind your belt qualifies you enough to give you a try. This isn't always the case, but often it is. So you don't need qualifications, but you do need to be able to teach your students something valuable and worthwhile.
With that said, let's look at the main three ways you can go about doing this:
1. Teaching Guitar Lessons In Person
The first and most traditional method of teaching guitar to students is doing lessons in person. Not much explanation needed for this; you have a student or students, and you meet up with them either at your house, their house, or a studio. You then teach them how to play guitar.
You can either do this in the form of:
1. Taking your own private lessons, or
2. Teaching in a school, college or academy.
The second method will require you to apply for jobs and work for others, while the first will mean you're your own boss. You can choose which jobs you take, and which you don't. It'll also mean you have the potential to earn more money, although being a hired guitar teacher can be a more consistent income if you secure a long-term contract.
If you choose to teach guitar and work for yourself, you should set up a website to get your brand online and make it easier for people to find you. This'll be one of the main promotional tools you'll need to advertise your services.
2. Teaching Guitar Lessons Live Online
The next option is to teach your lessons online via a video call service such as Skype. It's practically the same as the option above where you're your own boss and teaching lessons "face to face." The difference though is that you're doing it over the internet.
This method can be convenient as you don't have to travel to teach your students. You also have the option of doing more lessons in the day, as the elimination of traveling means you can jump from lessons to lesson with much smaller breaks inbetween. You could even do three back to back hour lessons if you want with only a 5 or 10 minute break inbetween each.
While the benefits of saving time and comfort will obviously be big draws to some people, if you're a fan of meeting with people in person, this option may not be ideal for you. You won't be able to physically adjust their hand movements if a student is having difficulty picking something up, and you'll be staring at a computer screen the whole time (some people don't like this). If these things aren't an issue for you though, the above plus points along with the fact you'll be able to target your lessons to anyone in the world are good reasons to consider this business model.
3. Teaching Guitar Online Via Pre-Recorded Lessons
The final way to make money via teaching guitar lessons is by setting up a pre-recorded course or membership package. What this involves if you pre-recording (via video) all the lessons you think a student will need, loading it up to your website, and delivering it to students as they enroll on to your lessons. So basically you'll be creating a membership site where people can buy your video lessons and receive them instantly once they pay.
The benefit of this model is you don't have to be there to deliver the lessons to each student. Once you've recorded all the videos needed to complete the package, that's it, that's the teaching stage of things done for you!
This business model doesn't require as much of your time as the above two methods do once it's done. As all your lessons are already recorded, you can now deliver them as many times as you want to as many students as need them. So say for example you do a promotion and 20 people want to get your lessons on the same day the promotion goes out. Of course that wouldn't be possible if you were teaching each person individually. But if you have your lessons online and they're automatically sent out, it doesn't matter if you have 1 of 100 students in a day, it'll still generally require the same amount of effort from you: nothing! Bar any customer "help" emails of course, but these are rare if you have a good automated system in place.
While I'm a big fan of this method of guitar lesson, I'm going to look at both sides and look at any possible draw backs. First of all, the time it takes to put it together. As you'll need to record all the lessons before you sell this course, it can take a while before you have anything to offer. Some people will get demotivated during this stage, and possibly give up with the whole thing. That said, if you're persistent and keep up at it, you'll be creating something which can keep bringing you money from teaching guitar well into the future with minimal additional effort.
So What Is The Best Way to Make Money Teaching Guitar?
Well, that's really down to you. All of the above have their good and "not as good" points. It'll all depend on who you are, how you work best, and what you'll be most comfortable doing.
I'm personally a big fan of method three, as although it can be some work to set up, after that you can keep earning money from it without exchanging your time.
Teaching guitar can be a great way to make an additional income from your music career, but remember that you'll need to market your services to people if you want to earn as much money as possible from your efforts. You can't just expect people to find you and instantly know you're teaching guitar lessons, you need to reach those potential students where they are and convince them to let you teach them guitar.
So there you have it, now you know how to make money teaching guitar. Are you going to give any of the above a go? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you're currently teaching guitar using any of the above three methods (or using another way), let us know how you've found it all and how it's benefited your life. :)
About the Author:
By Shaun Letang. If you need help with the marketing side of things, you'll want to check his free ebook on the subject to get you going.