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Teaching Guitar Online

It's no surprise that many students and teachers are turning their attention to the internet. The internet connects the whole world in ways that we might never have thought possible. Imagine being able to speak face to face with someone who is the opposite side of the planet in absolute real time (Ok, there is a little latency!).

This means, that we as teachers can utilize this global network for our own business. Perhaps you're teaching local to you and finding that you've probably seen every student you possibly can, where do you turn? The internet!

If you were to set up a business model offering lessons through Skype you are essentially opening your diary to the world. This could be massively beneficial for you as you are now tapping into a global market.

The main considerations when offering Skype lessons are always based around time. Of course you have to consider your timezone and what you are willing to work against where you might get your business from. If you are based in the UK and your potential students are 12 hours ahead in Australia, scheduling could be a little tricky. You have to have a clear mindset of what hours you are willing to take on these lessons.

When you set up to teach online, be sure you have a stable internet connection, good quality webcam and a microphone so you can communicate clearly with the student. When I teach on Skype I like to plan ahead for the lesson so the time on the call is spent wisely. Have a plan for how to spend that time so the student get's the biggest benefit. You could send any materials over at the start of the session so the student has the same notes as you to refer to.

Finding New Students

One of the biggest challenges with teaching is actually filling your diary and keeping it full. Students will come and go, slots will fill and empty quicker than you can say "teach me something new!". How do we as teachers be proactive in making sure that the bookings keep coming in. After all, we've got a business to run.

Advertising is king here. Keep your social media pages up to date, list your business on every local directory you can think of, even pay for some advertising runs on social media if you think there is enough demand in your area. Keeping your social media pages up to date will show potential clients that you are still busy and that you are actively working in the field. A social media page with no activity will look like a business that is not functioning.

Never underestimate word of mouth. Students will talk to other people they know and this will generate interest. Treat each lesson as your best one yet and the word will soon spread.

Sign up for online teaching directories. There are some fantastic services such as mgrmusic.com that specialize in pairing students with teachers in their local areas. If you can create listings on any websites like this, it's worth doing to keep your name out there. Having your name listed on various directories will not only make you more visible to students, but it will boost your SEO and improve your chances of ranking high in search engine results for teachers in your local area.

How to Find Students

Starting a teaching business is the easy part. You come up with the concept, you commit to doing it and now you need to bring people through the door to turn your business idea into a working model. What options exist for promoting yourself and attracting students?


1. Having a Great Website
Having a website that looks good is key to being taken serious. Your website for many people will be the first port of call. They might find out on Google or via an advert so you should be sure to get a website built that is informative and looks professional. It doesn't have to be over the top, but it has to serve its purpose.

2. Social Media
Social media is the most under rated business exposure tool currently. Advertising via these platforms is very cheap and also the tools available for free advertising are incredible. Create a page for your business and share this on your personal page. Ask friends and family to share it and post it in your local groups. The numbers will soon grow and more and more people will see your business.

3. Join a Teacher Database
There are many companies around that offer assistance to teachers in the form of being listed in their database. The benefit of working with a website that does this is that they may already have fantastic SEO linked to their website so you have a higher chance of appearing in local searches. musicteacher.com as an example is a teaching database website that provides each teacher with their own personalized local website as well as being included in their database. This really helps your business get seen.

4. Word of Mouth
Probably the most powerful advertising tool is word of mouth. Once you've gotten a few students through the door, if you do a good job they will tell other people. Get students to leave reviews on your social media pages to help others see the service you provide.

5. Local Listings
Post adds on all your local listing pages. Gumtree, local message boards, local newspapers. Anything that people will read when looking for a service is worth you putting your details into. The more places you can list your business, the higher the chance you'll get seen.

Is Social Media Good For Teachers?

Social media is everywhere these days. You can't go 5 minutes without hearing someone mention one of the big platforms. Can these networks be used for music teachers in a constructive way? Is there a way to harness the power of social media for business?

1. Reach Your Local Area
By starting a business page, you can actually rank on Facebook searches when people search for your specific service. It boosts your overall SEO if you have a website linked to your social media pages as these websites have huge SEO authority. Name your page after the skill you provide, for example "Singing Lessons in London" but if you live in a big city, be more region specific. This will help you a lot in the search results.

2. Advertise to the Right Crowd
Social media advertising is often considered an underused, underpriced service. You can create adverts and designate a specific postcode region, age range and interest selection for the target audience. This means your advert could land in the news feeds of the people who need to see it.

3. It's a Digital Portfolio
Most social media platforms allow you to showcase photos and videos. This is beneficial for teachers as this acts like a digital portfolio for us. We can showcase our abilities via video so that potential students get an insight into what we're about. It also means that we can be seen as credible. If you're good at what you can do, a video will prove that to people.

4. Love What You Do
You're making a living by talking about your instrument of choice. Enjoy it. Never forget that you work in an extremely privileged position. You make your living doing what you love.

It is certainly wise to get onto social media and promote your business. Check out this really useful guide to Social Media Marketing and start your social media journey with your own business. You will be surprised at the incredible reach you can achieve.

4 Teaching Best Practises

There are no set rules when it comes to working as a music teacher, but as teachers there are a few ideas that we could all be better at applying to our day to day practice in order to make the experience better for our students.

1. Be Real
Students that are just starting out want to feel that they can trust their teacher. They don't want your private music lessons to feel contrived or feel like they are stuck in some schooling system. Be the best version of you that you can be when teaching. Never forget the frustrations of a new learner because that was you once. Don't put on a front, just be yourself.

2. Inspire
Give your students reason to feel inspired. This could be you showing them some success stories that you have had in your own career or stories from the careers of others. Inspiration will help your students push themselves and be better. You should never enter into a lesson with the aim of just getting through it. You want to make each lesson matter.

3. Teach The Student, Not The Subject
Every single person in the world has different thoughts, views and likes. There is no blanket method for teaching music. Spend time getting to know your students and teach each person in a way that works for them. Listen to what they like and cater the lessons around what gets them interested.

4. Love What You Do
You're making a living by talking about your instrument of choice. Enjoy it. Never forget that you work in an extremely privileged position. You make your living doing what you love.

If you've just started your first teaching business and you're getting ready to take your first student this can be a nervous time. Enjoy it. You're probably more prepared than you realize. Remember to listen to the student and take on board what they need. If you're an experienced teacher, keep pushing and keep improving. We can always do more to be better teachers.

The internet is a valuable resource for new teachers with some fantastic websites we can learn from such as Youth Music Network where you can find loads of great articles written by other teachers and musicians.

Inspiring Students

How should we as teachers focus on inspiring the next generation of learners. In 2019, the internet is a massive force in how people of all ages consume content and learn skills. The vast expanse of the internet means that anything can be found instantly with the click of a button.

This means the world is now very fast-paced. We can order items online nd have them brought to us the very same day. The same applies to knowledge transfer.

Does the age of instant gratification now mean that people are less willing to work for a skill? Does it mean they are lacking inspiration when something isn't obtainable in an instant?

As a teacher, it is your job to inspire as well as educate. When everything is so instant, how do we inspire? These points are especially true when teaching children as children and younger students are the most likely to not want to pursue a project that will require a lot of hard work. We need to find ways to inspire them to push through and remind them that learning an instrument does take time in an age of instant gratification.

1. Fun and to the point lessons – If your student has a goal in mind, this could be learning a specific song or melody, then focus on that as your priority. Map out the skills they need to hit this target. THis will bring on some inspiration for them to push harder.
2. Reassurance – Remind them they are doing great. It's hard feeling inspired when you are pushing so hard to master a new skill. Keep their spirits high and their motivation levels up.
3. Fast Progress – We as teachers can't guarantee that a student will pick something up in a set time frame. We all learn at different speeds and the amount a student applies themselves to their practice will determine just how fast something can be learnt. Use your students goals to map our a realistic course of lessons that they can get through at a good pace and start to see results.

Every student will draw inspiration from somewhere different. Its our job as teachers to be aware of this and look for new ways to keep their fire burning. Inspiration is the key to progress and will help students push to the next level. We have to think outside the box to find new and exciting ways to inspire.

Breaking Bad Habits

As teachers it's very easy for us to not only fall into bad habits of our own, but also to not spot those in our students. Bad habits can manifest themselves as many things such as a lack of practice, a lack of structure, a technique that has gotten sloppy or a general lack of keeping up with various aspects of playing music.

What can we as music teachers offer to our students to help them break out of these habits?

1. Structured Practice Routines
Habits can be formed by falling into bad routines. Let's say a student is stuck on playing a particularly tricky part in a song, you have to ask the question of how much they are committing themselves to getting better at it. Introduce a structure and goal system for these instances. Encourage them to work on that part for 5-10 minutes everyday and measure improvement over a week.

2. Accepting the Habit Exists
One of the easiest things to do is to ignore the habit altogether. It's important to be mindful that bad habits do exist and learning to spot them for both teacher and student is critical. Encourage students to think about what habits they may feel are bad and plan how to get out of them together.

3. Think Outside the Box
Let's think about the habit as it stands and use the example of the bad habit being a sloppy technique. It could be a particular scale run for instance. Let's imagine why this is sloppy. Is there a way we can re imagine thing to make it more economical to play? Perhaps the finger arrangement choices could be better or the positioning on the instrument could be better. There are often simple answers to complex issues on any instrument. This can be the key to breaking the habit.

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Editors: musicteacher