Want to teach guitar? This article explains the top 5 most common mistakes guitar teachers make. Too many guitar teachers fall for these mistakes which cost them money and students over time. Once you understand the mistakes most guitar teachers make, you can focus on preventing them. If you can avoid these mistakes, you will end up a better teacher and your students will receive better quality lessons.

1. Using the trial-and-error approach to learn how to teach guitar

The problem:

This is the most common mistake guitar teachers make as almost all guitar teachers start out with a trial-and-error approach to teaching. The first year of lessons by most teachers are essentially experiments to see what works and what doesn't. While it's a good learning experience for you as a teacher, it's a horrible experience for students. Having a teacher who doesn't really understand how to teach is an extremely frustrating situation - especially if you're paying for the lessons!

How to overcome this problem:

The best way to prevent this issue is to bypass it completely. Learn proven teaching methods. Understand how students acquire skills and effective methods to teach those skills. Find out in advance how you should structure your lessons. Taking the time to study proven teaching methods before you start teaching takes the guesswork out of your lessons. The sad truth is that even after years of trial-and-error, many guitar teachers still have poor teaching skills. Don't be one of those teachers.
We have detailed training courses to teach you effective teaching methods and strategies straight away. See the methods in action in case studies and learn to apply the methods before you have your first student.


2. Worrying too much about guitar skills and not considering teaching skills

The problem:

When you get to the point where you start thinking about teaching guitar, you can safely assume you're skills are good enough to teach somebody. You may not be able to teach everybody (yet) but there will be people out there ready for you to teach.
All new guitar teachers question their own guitar abilities and whether they're good enough to teach. Unfortunately all this focus on guitar skills distracts from what really counts: teaching skills. It's your ability to teach that makes the difference, not your guitar abilities.
It doesn't take long to realize that teaching skills are far more important than guitar skills. Who would you prefer as a teacher:

1) A teacher with fantastic guitar skills and poor teaching skills
2) A teacher with average guitar skills and fantastic teaching skills

It doesn't matter how fantastic teacher 1 is at guitar if they can't teach. Teacher 2 will always provide better quality lessons for their students.

How to overcome this problem:

If you want to become a great teacher, learn and develop your teaching skills. Once you understand how to teach a skill, it doesn't matter if you haven't mastered the skill yourself because you will still be able to teach it to your students. We have developed comprehensive guides and courses to give you all the teaching methods and strategies you need to become a great teacher. If you're new to teaching these resources will get you started on the right path. Many new teachers have used these guides and courses to kick-start their guitar teaching careers because the methods work.


3. Not focusing on the student's goals

The problem:

Your student will come to you for a reason. Whether they want to learn a specific style or they just want to try something new, they will have some sort of reason why they want to learn guitar. A common problem with many first time teachers is they forget to focus on the reason why the student has come to them. It's not just new teachers who fall for this trap, even experienced teachers can get caught up on other topics and forget to focus on the student's goals.
If your student has come to you because they want how to play style X, it's crucial you focus on the style and help your student learn the style. If your student doesn't feel like they're learning what they came to you to learn, they will leave. It's as simple as that. Even if you know in your heart that you're providing the student with the necessary groundwork to achieve their goals, if the student doesn't feel like they're making progress towards their goal, they will leave and find a different teacher.

How to overcome this problem:

To prevent this issue you need to constantly remind your students how the content you're teaching directly relates to their goals. If your student wants to learn certain songs and you feel they need to learn some finger exercises first, you could say 'these exercises will help you develop the skills you need to play the songs you want to learn. After you master these exercises you will find it a lot easier to learn the songs'. If your student feels like they're working on something that will help them achieve their goal, they will pay more attention and put more effort in.


4. Neglecting the business side of teaching

The problem:

Music is a very creative and personal thing for many people and as soon as the word 'business' is used some people are put off. Some teachers feel that thinking about the business side of teaching would demean what they are doing. It's almost as if talking about money for your service is a bad thing.
If you want to provide free lessons out of the goodness of your heart, that's great. For the rest of us who need income, we need to make sure we get the business side right. If you want to make a living teaching guitar, neglecting the business side of teaching can be the most expensive thing you could do to yourself. You don't want to get into a situation where you're barely making a living and struggling to pay your bills. Without proper management of your finances, it's too easy to lose financial control.

How to overcome this problem:

Even the most basic understanding of marketing and basic bookkeeping is enough to prevent most issues. We've created detailed business guides to help teachers effectively run their teaching businesses. From income and expense trackers to in depth marketing strategies, you can put yourself in a better financial position as well as prevent problems in the future.


5. Not earning the money you deserve

The problem:

When was the last time you evaluated your lesson rates and how they compare with the market? Are you missing out on opportunities because your rates are so high they put students off? The more likely case is that you don't charge enough and aren't earning what you should be.

What it you raised your rate by $5? How much of an impact could it have on your income? If you teach twenty students a week that extra $5 per student you could be earning works out to $5,000 every year. What if your rates are so low your students would be willing to spend an extra $10 per lesson? How would an extra $10,000 a year help you out?
It's important you get your rates right as having the wrong rate can cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the years. That can be the difference between struggling financially and not having to stress about money. It's that important to get right from the beginning.

How to overcome this problem:

It's so important to set your rates right as it can make a significant difference to your earnings over your lifetime. We've created two detailed guides to help teachers set their rates properly. BPL-08  Setting Your Rates 1: Comparing the Competition provides a detailed guide on how to compete effectively and work out the most effective rate compared to your competitors. Case studies are included to show step by step how to apply the information.

BPL-09 Setting Your Rates 2: Prepaid Lessons & Discounts discusses the effectiveness of discounts you offer students. These two guides provide you with all the information you need to get your rates right. There is a tool in BPL-01 Planning your lesson service you can access to work out your ideal situation and help you plan your income. We've created these in depth resources because we understand how important it is to get this right.


How we can help you become an effective guitar teacher

Having access to the right resources, guides and courses can mean the difference between becoming an average teacher or an excellent one. We've helped teachers across the globe plan, market and improve their teaching business.

Live and Teach Guitar Members have access to all the resources and guides they will ever need and whenever a member faces a problem, they contact us for support. We can help you succeed as a teacher because we've helped other teachers just like you succeed time and time again.

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