Teaching guitar is a great way to make some extra income whether you want to teach outside of your 9-5 job or if you’re currently at school or university. The great thing is you don’t need to be an expert with 20+ years of experience to become a teacher. Think of it this way – there will always be people who know less than you who would love to learn from you. Even if you have only been playing guitar for 3-5 years, you can still teach beginners and they will appreciate your lessons.
Anybody with some patience and a decent understanding of techniques can get started teaching guitar. This quick guide will show you three simple steps to get started teaching.
Step 1: Planning your lessons & setting up your timetable
The first thing you need to do when deciding to start teaching guitar is to decide how many students you would ideally like to teach and how much time you would like to spend teaching. Take out a sheet of paper and split it up into seven columns. At the top of each column write Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Now think about what times you are available for lessons and write the time range down under each column. You don’t have to write something down for each day and if you only want to teach three days a week then only focus on those three days that best suit you.
As an example let’s say you want to teach two days a week: Mondays and Thursdays. You have a full time job and normally get home at 5:30pm. So you decide that after you eat dinner you have available times from 6:30pm to about 9:30pm. This gives you a three hour window you can fill with lessons for both days. So you have six hours available all together.
You can either teach guitar for whole hour lessons or half hour lessons. As you are just getting started teaching you decide it’s best to keep lessons short and only offer 30 minute lessons (you can decide what works best for you and can always change it later on).
If you imagine the first lesson will be booked at 6:30pm, it will finish at 7:00pm. Now here’s the important part: from 7:00-7:15pm don’t book any lessons. Only allow the next lesson to be booked in at either 7:15pm or 7:30pm. This 15 minute gap between lessons will prevent clashes when students show up late or the next student shows up early.
Remember to keep at least a 15 minute gap between any lessons you book. From a student’s point of view there’s nothing more frustrating than showing up on time and having to wait 10 minutes because the last student started late. To be a great teacher you need to be organized and avoid issues like that.
So your available times would be:
This gives you four potential slots for students each day. So in this example you will be able to teach a maximum of eight students. It’s important to work this out so you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t overbook your timetable. Later on if you decide you want to teach more students, you can easily use the same method to set up a timetable for other days.
Step 2: Setting your rates & working out how much income you can make
Here comes the fun part: working out how much income you can make. In this example you have eight potential lesson times. If you charge a rate of $20 per lesson, you know you can earn a maximum of $160 for four hours work. That’s pretty impressive compared to going rates for part time jobs! If you decide to charge $25 per lesson, you can make a maximum of $200 every week.
The great thing with this is you can change your rate at any time. If you decide that your lessons are worth more you can advertise a higher rate for new students. There’s nothing wrong with charging a higher rate if it fits the quality of lessons you provide. Over time you will grow your teaching abilities and be able to charge more and earn more money. The best tutors can easily charge high rates and students will be happy to pay it because they know they will receive valuable lessons.
One point to keep in mind when setting your rate is to have an idea what your competitors charge in your local area. Check out newspapers or online to find tutors in your area and find out how much they charge. If the rate isn’t advertised, simply call up as a potential student and ask them what they charge. If for example they say $30 for a half hour lesson, you know that your rate of $25 is a good one and will help attract a lot of new students.
Step 3: Attracting new students
There are countless ways you can attract students.floyd rose A simple way to get started is to create a Page on Facebook and ask your friends to share it. It won’t take long for people to start contacting you about lessons. If you’re unsure whether teaching guitar is something you want to do ongoing or not, this is a great way to test it out without spending any money on advertising.
Set up your page on Facebook and ask your friends to share it with anybody they know wanting to learn guitar. Once somebody contacts you about lessons call them up or email them to try to book them in. If somebody is unsure whether they want to go with you or somebody else offer to give the first lesson for free. If you make a good first impression in this first lesson they are very likely to stay with you.
Other ways you can attract new students include:
Setting up your own website (very effective)
Listing on music teacher directories (effective)
Handing out flyers in your local area (fairly effective)
Advertising in the local newspaper (not very effective)
The important point to keep in mind is to start out simple then move towards the more complicated methods later on. If you only plan on teaching a few students a week then it wont take you long to find enough students to keep you going. Its when you decide to teach full time or significantly raise the number of students you will teach, that’s when you start to look at the other methods of attracting students.
The key points to take out from this easy guide are:
Take the time to properly set up your timetable to prevent issues later on
Work out the rates you will charge and make sure the rate is competitive
Set up one or more different methods to attract students (the free ways work best)
We could spend much more time on the details outlined above but with the basics you can still get started. Once you get started teaching guitar you will find that it’s a great way to earn money doing something that you will be sure to enjoy.
If you’re still unsure whether teaching is for you or not, just give it a go for one or two students and it will give you an idea if it’s something you want to continue or not.