Latest updates and news

New Online Workshop

Our guides and courses provide you with a lot of detail on various topics. But there are some topics that require more depth and involvement. Workshops provide an excellent way to give you extra depth and interaction with the intention of achieving a specific goal.

Our first workshop is called: Website Referral Machine

The goal of this workshop is to turn your website into a student referral machine. It's a big goal but with the wide range of tools available today, it's becoming a very achievable goal. We've been researching and collecting best practices and this workshop is the end result of all that research.

Here are a few things the Website Referral Machine Workshop will help you achieve:

  • Receive PDF reports analyzing your website before and after the workshop
  • Learn SEO best practices and apply them to your website
  • Learn funnel management, lead conversion and tracking using Google Analytics
  • Identify problems with your website and fix them

This online workshop is free for Live and Teach Guitar Members and runs for 6 weeks. The workshop will start in November (date to be confirmed). Along the way you will receive active support to implement the advice and lessons in the workshop.

Find out more and register for the workshop here

Guitar teacher success stories? Learn from horror stories instead

Why the world loves success stories

You see them everywhere. The person who made a million dollars from a simple home business or a person making six figures because of x. There are countless books written about success stories and how the creators managed to overcome all obstacles and through sheer determination achieve ultimate success.

But there's a big problem with success stories.

The problem is that what worked for one person may not work for you. Worse, by reading or hearing about a success story, you might be thrown off course from what you really need to focus on to succeed. It's really inspiring to hear how a guitar teacher went from zero students to a full schedule because of YouTube or from email marketing, but the problem is that the methods or strategies other people use may not be relevant to you and your goals.

The worst advice somebody can give you is "x worked for me so you should try it". That's terrible advice because it doesn't take into account your situation, your goals and your strengths/weaknesses. In the financial industry there are strict regulations on what finanical advice somebody can give a person. You've probably heard many disclosures along the lines of "this advice is general in nature and does not take into account your personal needs". That type of warning needs to be printed on every success story.

A success story might fill you with ambition and determination, but it can also lead you down the wrong path and take you away from the things you really should be focusing on.

A better alternative to success stories

While it may be really interesting to hear how somebody made a million dollars with a simple idea, it can be damaging to your future if you try and replicate their strategy or methods. So instead of reading about success stories, what if you read about horror stories? Horror stories are when a person tries something out and fails miserably. Maybe they spent thousands of dollars developing a business idea only to lose it all. Or maybe they work on an idea for six months only to find out nobody wants to buy it.

Horror stories are excellent from a learning and development point of view. They're far more valuable than success stories because they prevent you from falling for the same mistakes.

If you read a horror story and can figure out what decisions caused the person to fail, you can avoid making similar decisions in your own life. So while horror stories are incredibly valuable, they're also incredibly hard to find. The reason is that people love sharing their story when they succeed, but they don't like admitting to failures. You will read plenty of success stories in newspapers but you will never see a story about somebody's failure.

The last two episodes of our podcast have focused on guitar teacher horror stories. Over the years we've had teachers come to us after failing at something and with no idea what to do to recover. We're sharing these stories (with each teacher's permission of course) so you can learn the valuable lessons these teachers learned the hard way.

Failing hurts. But the lessons learned from a failure are incredibly valuable. These horror stories will give you the lessons without having to go through the painful experience involved with the failures.

Episode 19 tells a story of a guitar teacher who found out the hard way what you're really giving up when you buy into a franchise. It was incredibly tough for this teacher and a valuable lesson for every other guitar teacher out there.

Episode 20 tells a story of a guitar teacher who spent $600 and four months of time and effort trying to use webinars to promote her business. Even if you have no interest in webinars, the lessons from this teacher's story will apply to you.

We'll be adding more horror stories over time because there's a lot that can be learned from them. While we would love to share success stories - as explained above they can often cause more harm than good. So take the next ten minutes to listen to one of the above podcasts and protect yourself from falling for the same traps these teachers fell for.

Next time you read about a success story, remember that it's incredibly hard to replicate that success - especially if you have different goals.

Why there is no best marketing method

People are always asking on forums, social media and in emails what is the best way to attract students or what marketing method is most effective. At some point you may have asked yourself the same questions. In this post find out why that's the wrong approach to take and why thinking in this way can hinder your progress.

Marketing methods don't matter

The most common advice you will see across forums or other websites when somebody asks how to get started finding students is along the lines of: 'send out some flyers around your town, put up some posters, get business cards printed, etc.' In other words, the typical advice guitar teachers receive is to use a few different marketing methods and see what happens.

While some times those teachers will have some success by following that advice, we often see the opposite. The same teacher will go back on the forum a month later complaining that 'nothing is working' and they need to try something else. Or they will send us an email complaining that they have 'tried everything'.

The problem here is that by focusing on methods, the important aspects of marketing are usually neglected entirely. The teacher cannot understand why nobody responded to their flyers or posters because they don't understand marketing properly. The reality is that marketing methods aren't what's important. Marketing principles are. With a thorough understanding of the right principles, you can be effective with almost any method.

So when a brand new teacher is told to 'try x, y and z', they're unfortunately missing out on the information that will make them successful.

How to become a marketing pro

While marketing is an incredibly deep subject, it doesn't take that long to learn the essentials needed to succeed as a guitar teacher. You don't need to study price elasticity, multivariate testing or the product life cycle to be effective in marketing your guitar lessons. What you do need is a thorough understanding of basic marketing principles and be able to apply them to your situation.

Marketing is a skill, just like teaching or playing a guitar. First you learn the basics, you practice, you learn more about the basics, you practice, then you start to apply it. Jumping on a forum and asking 'what is the best way to attract students' is the equivalent of a beginner student coming to you and asking 'how can I solo like Joe Satriani?'. If a student asked you that question you would explain to them that they first need to learn and develop basic skills before they can start playing any technical pieces. It's the same with marketing. First you need to learn and practice basic principles and concepts so you understand why they work before you can start using marketing methods to find new students.

Here's a quick to-do list on how to become an effective marketer:

1. Study marketing principles
2. Practice applying those principles
3. Learn how those principles apply to your situation
4. Work out what methods are suitable to your situation
5. Apply relevant methods
6. Use relevant principles to assess and improve the methods used

It might seem like overkill but in reality it's really quick and easy to go through the six steps above. The problem is that most people think they can just jump to step 5 and be successful.

How to succeed as a guitar teacher

Unfortunately we see teachers every day repeat the same mistakes over and over as they look for quick-fixes or best methods. So we created courses and resources to overcome these problems. If you want to succeed as a guitar teacher from the business point of view, here's our recommended to-do list:

1. Complete our 12 week Business Fundamentals Course - don't rush through it, really put in the effort and learn from each lesson
2. Work on building the foundation for your guitar teaching business before you go to step 3
3. Work through our Marketing 101 Course and take the time to think about and apply each principle and lesson covered
4. Apply the advice covered in the Marketing 101 course by using our BMK series of Business Guides
5. Use our Marketing Reports to get a third-party assessment of your progress
6. Continue to learn about different marketing methods and regularly review the previous course materials
7. Email us at any point along the way whenever you don't understand something

The most important advice we can give you is: don't ever give up! We've seen teachers give up because they didn't see results straight away and other teachers didn't even try because they felt it would be too much work. The only time you ever fail is when you give up so keep working towards your goals and if you work hard enough and learn along the way you will eventually succeed. The teachers who continue to put the effort in even when they aren't seeing any results always eventually succeed.

Always keep in mind that the effort you put in will determine what you achieve. Marketing is the key to attracting new students and succeeding in the long term as a guitar teacher so it's definitely something you will want to put effort in to.

Marketing 101 Course for Guitar Teachers

Marketing is the most important aspect of building your guitar teaching business. With a poor marketing approach, you will struggle to find and keep new students. We've created a comprehensive course on marketing based on what we learned studying marketing formally at University.

If you can understand and apply the principles and lessons covered in this course, you will succeed with your guitar teaching business. That may seem like a bold claim, but as you go through the course, you will learn what causes people to sign up for lessons and how you can influence their decision.

In this course you will learn:

  • How to properly understand the market for guitar students and how you play a part in it
  • Why people buy products and sign up for services
  • How to change the way you write and speak to motivate people to choose you as their teacher
  • The main aspects of marketing and why most guitar teachers are missing most of the picture

You will also have plenty of opportunity to actually practice your marketing skills within the course. Marketing is a skill like any other and requires practice over time. The course has been designed to give you as much practice as possible before you start applying your skills on your guitar teaching business.

Access the Marketing 101 Course Now

At the end of the course you will have the opportunity to receive ongoing marketing lessons and support not found anywhere else on this website. Highly recommended for all guitar teachers.

Invoicing and billing system available to members

We've just released a new features Live and Teach Guitar Members can access at no additional cost. This feature allows you to create and send invoices to your students and collect payment electronically all within your website (which is also available at no added cost as part of membership).

Our invoicing system allows you to even create an automatic recurring bill that will automatically collect payment from your students at a regular interval. For example you could agree to a monthly fee with your student, send out one invoice then that automatic billing will collect the monthly amount every month without any extra effort on your part.

The system is compatible with PayPal,,, Stripe and Google Wallet so you have complete flexibility with payment options you offer your students.

How it works

You log on to your website and create an invoice. An email notification will be sent to your student with a link to the invoice. The student clicks the link and will be taken to the invoice on your website (only they will be able to see their invoice). Below is an example of what the student will see:


As you can see the invoice is built into your website so it retains a professional feel. The student simply checks the details in the invoice then clicks the 'Process Payment' button at the bottom to complete payment. Once payment is completed you will receive a confirmation email and the invoice will be marked as 'Paid' on your invoice Dashboard.

Why we're offering this to members for free

Having a simple system to manage your payments or issue invoices is very handy to have as a guitar teacher. There are alternative systems available from standard accounting software such as Quickbooks or services designed more specifically for teachers such as Music Teacher's Helper. We reviewed a range of different options and our conclusion was that most of the systems available today were extremely overpriced (such as Quickbooks), were too complicated with unnecessary features, or charged you depending on how many students you have (eg: Music Teacher's Helper charges $29 per month for a teacher with 40 students).

We wanted to offer teachers a simple alternative that would get the main job done without any unnecessary complication or high price tag. With our invoicing system you can have unlimited students, send as many invoices as you want all at no additional cost. Other services such as Quickbooks or Music Teacher's Helper may have more features, but for most teachers this service will provide you with what you need at no cost.

Here's a summary of the main features:

  • Unlimited students and invoices
  • Works with PayPal,,, Stripe and Google Wallet
  • Save templates for invoices so you can create and send them quick
  • Receive email notifications when payment has been completed by a student
  • Keep a running history of all payments and invoices for each student
  • Invoices are built in to your website which adds to your credibility
  • Automatic recurring billing is available to collect payments regularly
  • Ability to control discounts, tax and currency

We've created step-by-step tutorials to help you get the most out of this system so if you already have created your own website as part of membership, check the tutorials out here. If you haven't already created a website, you can set it up using our tutorials here.

We're constantly looking at adding more features to make it easier to manage your guitar teaching business and this is only one of many more we have planned. This feature is available right now for Live and Teach Guitar Members at zero additional cost.

Find out more about our invoicing system here and start simplifying your business by collecting payments electronically now.

New printable lesson resource: Creative Challenges

Previously, Live and Teach Guitar Members had access to two main types of printable lesson materials: lesson plans and worksheets. We've just released a new type of resource that fills in the learning gaps from the other two type of resources: Creative Challenges.

To understand why Creative Challenges are so important, let's first have a quick look at the other two types of resources and how they affect your student's development:

Lesson Plans

Guitar Lesson Plans usually present the student with an overview of a certain topic or technique on one or multiple pages. A simple technique such as bends may only require on page to convey all the information on how to perform a bend, while a topic such as music theory can take multiple lesson plans as it's a massive topic.

From a teacher's point of view Guitar Lesson Plans allow you to discuss a topic in detail and give your student the first steps to understanding that topic. Many teachers use Guitar Lesson Plans exclusively - similar to teaching out of a method book, however this presents a problem. Guitar Lesson Plans do a good job of explaining the overview of a topic, but don't allow you as a teacher to get into the details of a topic or look at the topic in multiple ways. When you only use Guitar Lesson Plans (or a method book), you're only giving your student lessons from one perspective and in one format. Students need a variety of different materials to help understand a topic in depth.


Worksheets provide a way for you to go deeper into a topic as well as a way to test your student's understanding. Unlike Guitar Lesson Plans, which mainly present information to the student, Worksheets require the student to get involved and think about the topic. So if you're covering music theory, your student may feel they understand the topic after going through the Guitar Lesson Plan, but when faced with a Worksheet, they often find out their understanding is limited. The Worksheet allows you to uncover any gaps in your student's understanding and work on them.

Using a combination of Lesson Plans and Worksheets will prevent your student from mistakenly believing they understand everything when they do not. Since Worksheets are usually completed outside of the lesson, they give you a true indicator of the student's understanding as well as their dedication to practice.

Creative Challenges

'Creative Challenges' are what we call short tasks that require the student to think creatively and work out their own solution to a given problem. The student needs to think about the topic in new ways or else they won't be able to solve the challenge. This gives you excellent insight into how your student thinks about a certain topic, it reveals any misunderstandings or knowledge gaps the student may have and it forces the student to be creative. This can't be accomplished with Lesson Plans or Worksheets or any method book.

By presenting an unusual challenge to your student, you are basically testing their knowledge and skills. If they fail at the challenge, it gives you the opportunity to work on the skill or topic. Think of the challenges as a way to uncover any gaps you missed in the past. They're also very effective in motivating your student. Students will often 'switch off' mentally when presented with a scale exercise, lick or drill because it's so mechanical they don't need to think about it after the first couple of times. But when they're presented with one of these challenges, they are forced to focus because the solution isn't clearly spelled out. The student needs to come up with their own solution.

Creative Challenges are very different to typical lesson materials guitar teachers often use so that's why we've created an entire podcast episode explaining why they're important and how to use them. Check out Episode 13 of our Podcast for more details.

Our Recommendation

There are some guitar teachers who continue to teach out of standard method books. While we believe it's good to incorporate method books into your curriculum, we don't recommend centering your lessons around the content in the book because 'one size never fits all' when it comes to a student's learning needs. The only way you can fully meet each student's needs is to use a combination of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Creative Challenges.

Using a combination of these materials, you will be able to cover topics in multiple ways and test your student out in different ways. You will also have the flexibility to change your curriculum at an instant and give your student relevant materials as needed.

We're constantly creating new Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Creative Challenges so you will never run out of new material for your students. Check out our new Creative Challenges section to see how these resources are so different to Lesson Plans or Worksheets.

Teaching Children Guitar Properly

If you've read any articles online on how to teach children guitar, you will notice a common theme in the advice given: fun.

Want to teach children guitar? Make lessons fun. Have trouble with your student? Fun is the answer. How do I teach children guitar? Fun.

On the surface it makes sense that children need to have fun during lessons. If they do not enjoy the lesson they will zone out, won't practice and can become a problem. But unfortunately this advice isn't very useful to a guitar teacher starting to teach kids. In this post you will find out why 'fun' isn't the real answer and you will learn what it means to give effective guitar lessons to children.

Why Fun isn't the answer

What's the difference between a guitar lesson and a game of Guitar Hero or Rockband?

Obviously the difference is one teaches the child a real instrument and the other is a toy guitar. A child can sure have a lot of fun playing along to songs in Guitar Hero - but a game of Guitar Hero won't teach them the real thing. That's the entire point of Guitar Hero, to have fun. The problem with structuring your lessons around 'fun' is that you can easily lose sight on what's really important. A child can 'practice' Guitar Hero for a long time, have a lot of fun, but will never accomplish anything. The same thing can happen in your lessons when fun is the main goal or focus.

Let's think about this a different way: how do you think a parent would react after paying for a couple years of guitar lessons only to find out their child hasn't actually learned anything substantial? Do you think the parent will be happy knowing their child had fun in each lesson but never accomplished anything?

That's the problem with the common wisdom of 'making sure your lessons are fun'. It sets the wrong goal for you as a guitar teacher. Fun is an important aspect of lessons with a child as you will read later, but understand that focusing on fun can distract you from running an effective lesson.

So how about we set a more appropriate goal for lessons: to learn.

It may seem obvious that the goal of guitar lessons is to learn, but it's an important reminder. Now that we have an appropriate goal, let's look at how to teach children guitar so they actually learn.

A child's needs in a guitar lesson

If you properly understand a child's needs during a lesson, you will be able to tailor the lesson to their needs effectively. 'Fun' is the common solution people think up because it feels like it fits the student's needs. Understanding needs is explained in full in our teaching guide TPS-01. It's worth reading as it will help you correctly identify your students needs.

Quite simple, if you misunderstand a child's needs during a lesson, problems arise. For example if the child needs to go to the toilet and they do not tell you, you might mistake the squirming in their seat as impatience or boredom. Trying to make the lesson more fun definitely won't help a child needing to use the bathroom. As another example, if your student doesn't like the song you're currently teaching them, the usual reaction is that they won't put much effort in and will become bored. A teacher's usual reaction to this is to try and encourage the student, but no amount of encouragement can persuade a child who really doesn't like the song.

The point to take away here is that understanding the child's needs during a lesson can play a big part in the success of the lesson. Learn to identify a child's needs and come up with solutions specific to those needs.

Giving a successful guitar lesson to a child

So far we've explained that the main goal of a guitar lesson is to learn and that lessons shouldn't be focused around fun as a goal. On top of this we've looked at why it's important to learn to identify a child's needs during a lesson so you can meet those needs. Now let's look at how to take this further and give your student an excellent lesson.

In the guide TTQ-04, three general rules are presented to give an effective guitar lesson to a child. They are:

1. Being able to see progress
2. Being rewarded for their progress
3. Being constantly challenged in a positive way

These are the keys to a successful guitar lesson with a child. If you can constantly achieve these three goals, your student will walk out smiling every time. The guide TTQ-04 explains each point in detail so let's just have a brief overview on why each point is important.

Progress: a child needs to see their own progress in the same way they want to 'level up' or win when playing games. Without a sense of improvement or achievement, the lesson will feel hollow to the child - it will feel like a chore. Your student won't know they're improving unless you constantly remind them so be sure to focus on letting them know any time they make progress. For example, in our printable resource KID-01 a simple progress chart allows the student to clearly see their own progress. Such a simple tool can change the way a child views guitar lessons.

Rewards: any hard work your student puts into the lesson should be rewarded as it reinforces positive behavior. Likewise, whenever the child improves, they should be rewarded. While this could mean actual prizes, even a simple 'well done!' can be enough of a reward. If the child is rewarded throughout the lessons, they will continue to work towards other potential rewards. For example, in our KDS series of lesson plans, a simple reward is built into the lesson plan - the student can color in a relevant picture when they successfully complete the lesson. A very simple reward, but suitable to the task.

Challenges: if a song or task is too easy, the student will get bored (no matter how fun you try and make it). If the task is too hard, the student will become frustrated. The key is to set tasks that challenge the child, but only challenging enough to give them a bit of a push. The tasks need to be achievable. A child will enjoy working hard for an achievable task - especially if they can see their progress (1) and know they will be rewarded for their work (2).

When you view guitar lessons for children with these three rules in mind, it becomes clear what you need to do to give an effective lesson. As soon as one of the three points above aren't being met, you will experience problems. So constantly checking that these three points are being met is the key to success.

One more word on Fun

While you shouldn't focus your lesson around fun as a goal, it's still important that your student enjoys the lessons. You can still make the lessons fun through your enthusiasm and attitude. If you set an appropriate task for your student, your enthusiasm will enhance the lesson. So while we've been very clear in this article that fun isn't the answer - it's important to remember that it is part of the solution. Don't set tasks because you think it will be fun, instead set appropriate tasks and be enthusiastic while teaching.

Your enthusiasm and attitude can dramatically enhance the quality of your lessons with children, but only when the three points above are met. Keep this in mind whenever it feels like things aren't going well in a lesson. The solution is to find out which of the three points aren't being met or whether there's a different need not being met.


This post has given you a general overview of giving effective guitar lessons to a child. The resources and guides mentioned go into more detail and will help you work out any specific actions you might need to take. If you need further help in teaching children guitar, contact us here and we'll provide you with support. Teaching children guitar is challenging, but at the same time it can be very rewarding when done right.

Looper pedals: A guitar teacher's best friend

The benefits of some gear are obvious: a metronome will help a student with their timing, a tuner will keep the student's guitar in tune (well duh!) and a drum machine will teach the student to think creatively and jam along with different rhythms. While most guitar teachers are familiar with these tools, many have not had the chance to see how a looper pedal can enhance your lessons.

There are so many looper pedals available today which means you have plenty of choice on what features you want and what price you're willing to pay. Being able to instantly record and play back your student's playing can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your lessons. The reason a looper is so valuable to a guitar teacher is because it can give your student instant feedback. Feedback is the key to learning and development.

If you don't already have a looper pedal, read through our guide TTL-07 Looper Pedals to find out how to use them in your lessons. Once you realize how effective they can be as teaching tools, you will want to get your hands on one quickly. The guide will also help you compare different pedals to make sure you choose one right for you.

Once you get a looper pedal and use it in your lessons, you will never look back.

Fretlight guitar

Using Fretlight Guitars in Lessons

We're constantly on the look out for gear to help guitar teachers give more effective lessons. Fretlight guitars have been around for a long time and present a unique way for a guitar teacher to teach certain topics in a lesson. If you haven't heard about them before, in a nutshell they're guitars with a custom fretboard that can light up scales, chords and even play back (visually) Guitar Pro TABs.

Fretlight guitar

Fretlight make a lot of claims on their website on how their guitars can help guitar teachers succeed, so we found and contacted over 40 guitar teachers who use Fretlight guitars in their lessons to get some unbiased feedback. In our guide TTL-06 you will find out:

  • What guitar teachers think of Fretlight guitars
  • Feedback on Fretlight's Certified Teacher Program
  • Best practices for Fretlight guitars in lessons
  • Fretlight's weaknesses to avoid in lessons

Like any technology, how you use it plays a massive part in it's usefulness as a teaching tool. Read through TTL-06 Fretlight Guitars to get the complete picture.

Electric Crown Guitar Studio Students

Guitar Teacher Interview: Don Parkhurst Jr

Reading how other guitar teachers think about guitar lessons and how they approach them is a great way to get new ideas for your own lessons. In this interview you will see how Don Parkhurst Jr from Electric Crown Guitar Studio in Lebanon, USA gives his students a wide range of options in addition to the traditional face-to-face lessons. Don also shares some great advice for people wanting to learn guitar so check it out.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where your studio is located

Well I’ve been playing guitar for over 30 years and teaching for the last 10 years. I started out both working at a local music shop and beginning my own guitar teaching business. I’ve since left the music shop to focus more on my own business here in Lebanon, Connecticut called Electric Crown Guitar Studio.Don Parkhurst Jr

You offer your students a wide range of learning options, tell us about the different ways your students learn in your lessons

I think it’s very important to offer my students many different options to both keep things interesting and giving students a full range of experiences to help prepare them for real world situations. Here are a few options I offer:

  • Full band backing tracks: We take both the real tracks and backing tracks minus the guitar parts of songs the student wants to learn to help teach them about correct timing and different challenges they will face when playing with real musicians. These tracks are presented in a variety of speeds to help each student progress at their own pace.
  • Recording Sessions: I also record each student along the way so both myself and the student can analyze the recordings together. This helps with determining what sections need additional attention and also gives them a real sense of how they are progressing. Once the student is ready we record them for real. I’ll then mix them along with the backing track and in the end they have a demo of themselves playing along with a full band, many times including vocals!
    In addition to working on songs during our regularly scheduled lesson I also provide additional recording sessions where students have the opportunity to get more time in to complete their project. This leaves a potential combined total of 2 hours of instruction/recording time per week.
  • Live Performance: This is a very new thing I’m offering as part of the guitar program. Students get the opportunity to go up on a real stage and perform their songs. This could be solo or with other musicians. While some students are not comfortable performing in front of people I encourage my students that are ready to take advantage of this opportunity. This helps in preparing them for joining or starting a real band of their own!
  • 24 hr. video exchange lesson support: I encourage all of my students to contact me between lessons with any questions they have. There is a member’s support area where students can upload a video of themselves demonstrating what they are having problems with. I can then view it and send a video response back. This is great because nobody is left waiting until their next lesson to get questions answered.
  • Video Exchange lessons: If students can’t come to the studio to study with me we can also do video exchange lessons. It works in the same way as the support lessons I outlined above except these lessons are more involved covering a variety of subjects.
  • Skype lessons: I also offer Skype lessons for anybody that wants a more real-time type of lesson experience.
  • Coming soon: My students will have the opportunity to perform in a professional video production studio and their performances will be broadcast on public access television stations! How cool would that be to see yourself on TV?

What styles do you focus on and what songs are popular among your students?

While I can teach a variety of styles the main styles I teach are Metal, Classic Rock and Modern Rock. I get a lot of request for songs by Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Ozzy etc… and on the Classic rock side I get a lot of request for Pink Floyd, Lynard Skynard, Aerosmith, Cream etc… Again though I work on whatever songs my students are interested in providing it’s at an appropriate skill level.

What are some of the things accomplished by your students?

Many of my students go on to form bands of their own playing cover material, their own original material or a combination of both.

Electric Crown Guitar Studio Students

Walk through a typical guitar lesson and how all the extra services you offer make a difference to a student's development

A typical lesson would most often start with going over any area’s the student struggled with while working on the previous weeks material. If there were no problems at all then we would move onto running through a couple skills (Lead techniques, theory, rhythms etc…) For the remainder of the lesson we will work on cover tunes, improvising, original compositions etc… Focusing on only one of these area’s per lesson of course!

As I already mentioned earlier we will play along with backing tracks and record the student’s performances. We’ll then sit together and analyze how the performance went to determine what they need to work on more in the upcoming week.
This approach works great because let’s face it - it’s a lot more fun playing songs along with real band backing tracks then along with a metronome. The nice thing is that even at slow speeds students can practice with full backing tracks. I have software that slows everything down without making it sound like a mess. Also many times these backing tracks will be the actual band with drums, bass, vocals etc… minus the guitar. How cool is it to be able to play on a track with James, Lars and Cliff from Metallica? Nothing against Kirk but you’re now the guitar player!

Students bring these backing tracks home with them to practice along with by the way. There are usually a total of 3-5 tracks at different tempos. Sometimes even certain sections looped over and over.

As time goes by we eventually start recording their performances and work on getting them ready to perform their songs live for an audience!

How do you use technology to give your students more than the traditional face-to-face lesson?

When I was younger and studying with my guitar teachers it was basically “Here is what you will be working on during week and I’ll see you next week.” The next week the teacher would depend totally on me to tell him what we were working on. This meant that they hadn’t put much thought in beforehand, actually none, as to what we went over in the previous week. They took a wing it approach. Now while I had some excellent teachers I felt that they all could have improved in this area. When I began teaching I decided not to teach in this way.
I give each student a lesson plan sheet where I list different areas of study. Under each category I write down assignments and instructions for the upcoming week. I then record all this information on my computer which allows me to review exactly where we are at now, where we were three months ago etc… Each week I sit down and review this for every single student and decide what we are going to work on in the next upcoming lesson. Having said that if someone has a question about something and we veer off the plan then I’m open for that also because these can end up being the best lessons. We can always work on the planned stuff the following week. Generally though I know exactly how the lesson will go before they step a foot into the studio.

I also create all kinds of sheets to keep track of practice, metronome readings etc… Keeping records of all these things will produce more consistent and quicker progress.
Another thing that would often happen to me back when I was taking lessons was I would either forgot what they had said or I didn’t fully understand what I was supposed to do. I didn’t ask questions during the lesson so it was partially my fault also but the result would be that I would end up clueless and not working on any of it during the week. I’d have to go back and basically do a repeat of the lesson I already had. Technology has changed this!

I have a powerful online audio/video exchange system where every student has full access to me whenever they need it. If they got home and forgot what it was they were supposed to do or their not sure if they are playing something correctly all they have to do is record a video of themselves and post it in their personal support site. I can then send them back a video response showing them what they need to work on. It’s great because when students get stuck they can contact me and continue moving forwards. Here at my studio, gone are the days of “How was I supposed to do that?” Help is there at the exact moment they need it!

I also have a facebook page where I regularly post additional tips to help students along with anybody else move forwards with their journey into the world of being a musician!

What advice do you have for somebody wanting to learn guitar or currently learning on their own?

My biggest advice is to find a good teacher and study with him or her. If they are any good at what they do they will bring you to where you want to be in a fraction of the time it would take by doing it on your own. I know because my first five years of learning to play guitar was all self-taught. I was very self-motivated also which is, as I’ve come to find, not the norm. I did have a couple failed attempts at lessons because once a teacher wanted to work on anything I didn’t I would drop him like a bad habit. I got to a point where I knew certain fundamental well but I couldn’t figure out how they related to these other concepts I have learned. It was like a puzzle where you have groups of pieces scattered about but without looking at the box you would have no idea of how they relate to each other. I finally got serious and took lessons for real!

I have to say that in that one year, actually maybe in 6 months, I learned more than I did in the first five years combined. I was a little more advanced in certain areas while at a complete beginner’s level in others. My technique was wrong in many places and I was generally an inconsistent mess. It was hard on my ego at first to be working on basic beginner’s material after playing for five years but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I actually eventually developed a passion for understanding music theory for which I still enjoy discussing with other musicians today!

The point here is that when you have a good experienced teacher in front of you what you really have is someone that has already been where you are at, made all the time sucking mistakes, learned how to overcome them and even more importantly learned how to explain effectively how to avoid and overcome these mistakes and pitfalls. In short you’ll a lot save time and frustration!

Now I hear many people say I can just teach myself through the internet. There are tons of youtube videos, sites and blogs on learning how to play guitar. Why would I pay for lessons? I have to say that I’ve seen some great tutorials on different areas of learning the guitar. The bad thing here is that there is no real plan set out for you. Just as the case was before I started lessons I developed big holes in my playing because I had no structured plan to follow.

Even more importantly you have nobody there to correct you from developing bad habits that take much longer to break then learning correctly in the first place. There is absolutely no replacement for having your own personal guide to help you navigate through this confusing world of becoming a competent musician.
Now having said that I need to mention that I think all of these online sites and youtube videos are a great additional resource. I wish I had all this when I grew up! If you don’t understand a certain subject just to youtube and you’ll find tons of videos on that subject. It’s like having your own huge personal library at a click of the button. I have some videos on different subjects on my own site.
Now using the internet to study from doesn’t necessarily mean you are limited to random bits of information. There has been an explosion of Skype and video exchange type lessons online recently. As you already read earlier I myself have begun teaching online using these formats. These lessons can be a very effective way to study because you still get the benefit of having a teacher watch and critique your performances.

So while I still think that live in person lessons are best, Skype and video exchange lessons provide an alternative when you can’t find a good local teacher, you don’t have time to travel to a teachers studio or in the case of video exchange lessons you simply can’t coordinate a consistent weekly time to study with a live in-studio or skype teacher. One nice advantage you have with these online formats that you don’t get with live in-person lessons is you can watch your video lessons over and over again.
So in conclusion you can get by to a degree with lesson sites and videos off of Youtube but as soon as you can afford it go find a local teacher or one on the web that can provide the personal attention you really need. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me telling me how they tried to learn on their own off the internet and finally decided to look for a real teacher to study with. As good as online videos, even some books and online courses are the one thing you can’t replace and never will be able to is having your own personal mentor guiding you to where it is you need to be!

Check out Electric Crown Guitar Studio at or their Facebook page.