by Andrea Basiola

personally think that knowing how to create musical ideas is something that should belong to every musician, and not only to guitarists, so this article is addressed to anyone who would like to make their playing more interesting and complete.

However what do we exactly mean by “musical”?

To me an idea is “musical” when it meets these requirements:

- it’s pleasant to listen to: it has to be well played, in time, and with no bum notes. It has to flow with the music.

- it’s rememberable: this is a very important point to me. When you can remember a melody that means you created something musical. People tend to sing or whistle !
melodies, if they do, you are catching their attention.

- it’s singable: when you can sing it like a vocal line or melody.

Every time I want to create a solo, or a melody I normally tend to respect these rules. !
This depends also on which style of music you are playing and in particular which songs, meaning that your ideas have always to be in the context of the piece and never sound “out of place”.

Here is how I personally approach the creation of a solo or a musical phrase.

  1. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THE BACKING TRACK many times until you are confident with that and you can master it. By doing this you can more easily find the right notes and melodies
  2. SING THE NOTES, this is essential. If you do it, you are not gonna go wrong, you are going straight to the point in finding only the notes that you need. Sometimes you might not find them immediately and it might take a while, but will also come up with more options for your composition.
  3. TRANSPOSE THE NOTES ON THE GUITAR: you’ll find out that if you sing the notes, you will find them much faster on your fretboard.

I still notice now how finding the right melody can vary from day to day. Sometimes it comes immediately and sometimes it takes hours or even days. It depends also on the inspiration, and how you are feeling on that particular moment.

In order to create a good musical solo, we can also use techniques and tricks that will make our composition really stand out:
1 – SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE. Playing hundreds of notes at high speeds isn’t always the right choice. If we use some rests, pauses, and even different note values, we will give something special and different to our solo.

EXAMPLE: Have a listen to the solo in “Goodbye to Romance” by Ozzy Osbourne. It starts with a slow melody and it speeds up later on. This solo is a great example because it has everything in it,with the right amount of notes and dynamics.

2 – DYNAMICS. These can be given by using different playing techniques: palm muting, bending, volume swells,, etc
You should also consider 2 key points : TENSION and RELEASE.
When a moment of release follows a moment of tension you are creating dynamics and you are actually “telling a story” with your solo.

EXAMPLE: This particular phrase is taken from the solo of the song “Took the message” from the upcoming album of my band Future Shock. It’s an idea I often use in my solos. It starts with a quite fast run up , using the A minor blues scale, and ending with a powerful bending on the 8th fret on the B string, which resolves to the root note of A.
|————————————2-5p2— |2——5—7p5—5-8-7-5———————|!
|—3-5-6-5-3—3-5-6——————— |—————————————————|!
|5—————5————————— |—————————————————! !
3. KNOWING YOUR LIMITS. When you are in the process of creating something, you always want the best. Too often we are not satisfied with our ideas, and we keep on looking for new ones, ending up in a endless vicious circle.
It’s very easy to lose the feeling and the nature of the solo. Once we find an idea that we like, we should stick to that one.

4 – THEORY CAN HELP: Knowing some basic music theory can really help you to take the “right path” in your compositions. Choosing the right scales, chords, etc… can make the difference and it will prove that you know
what you are doing and what you want to achieve.

Creative Blues Rhythm Guitar

Tommaso Zillio


Do you know how to play a creative Blues rhythm part on your guitar? Most Blues player focus all their efforts on learning how to solo and simply ignore the rhythm side of playing. This is a pity, because there is much more than power chords and shuffle rhythms out there. Let’s see some easy options.

The problem seems to be that many guitar players are afraid to study harmony… and it’s a pity because it’s not so difficult to do and there are many rewards in doing it. On the other hand most players seem to simply try and learn by heart a certain amount of patterns, and then use them rigidly. It’s difficult to be creative under these conditions.

Many players who know how to build their own patterns can also improvise using chords, creating more than one melody line at the same time. Think of what players like Eric Johnson can do with chords: it’s because they haven’t learned these patters by heart, rather they know how to build and modify them depending on the context. Wouldn’t you like to get started on this in a simple way?

The solution is for us to make friends with an interesting musical interval: the tritone. To hear a tritone (that can also called diminished 5th or augmented 4th) try playing the notes C and F# on your guitar. Yes, it’s dissonant! But dissonance is not bad, dissonance is “spice”. Too much, and you have ruined your music, but if you don’t put any then your music is boring.

In Blues specifically the tritone is one of the most used intervals to give that zest that is typical of Blues music. Despite the bad reputation that the tritone gets from classical music – where it was often called “the interval of the devil” and used only with extreme care – the tritone sounds great in the right context. It’s in fact the interval at the core of most chords used in Blues. To see how to use it in practice, watch this video:

What should you do now? Well, no amount of reading or video-watching will substitute for direct experience and ear training so… pick up your guitar and play everything I played in the video. You will see immediately that it’s very easy to create some nifty harmonies just by adding notes on the first or second strings as I explained.

As a side note, this is also one of the best ways to learn “Jazz chords”. Rather than committing all these patterns by heart yo are much better off to see how they are built and what kind of “freedom” you have to modify them, as we have seen here. Of course, the video contains only a small fraction of all the possible Jazz chords, but the important thing here is the method. Have fun with it!

About the Author

A professional guitarist, teacher, and composer, Tommaso Zillio enjoys particularly writing about music theory and its application to guitar playing

How To Improve Your Guitar Skills By Learning About John Petrucci’s Style

By Tom Hess

Want to play guitar like John Petrucci? If you’re like most guitar players, you ‘only’ pay attention to his fast guitar playing and complex music writing style. However, to truly get the best value from studying this great guitarist, you will need to look much more closely to identify more subtle (yet important) areas within his style. Only then will you be able to fully utilize his style to enhance your own guitar playing.

These are the five most frequently overlooked elements in John Petrucci’s style that will benefit you most as a guitar player:

1. Very Precise Rhythm Guitar Playing

In addition to being an excellent lead guitar player, Petrucci has an uncanny ability to play tight, intricate rhythm guitar parts. In spite of this, most guitarists do not pay much attention to his rhythm playing because they do not perceive it to be as skillful as his lead guitar phrasing.

On the contrary, it is equally as difficult to play and record flawless rhythm guitar parts as it is to play high speed guitar solos. There exist many subtle nuances in rhythm guitar playing that most (primarily) lead guitar players have never even heard of. Here are ‘some’ of these nuances:

  • Maintaining perfect silence (no noise) during rests between chords or notes
  • Keeping the intonation of each string 100% perfect (it’s very challenging to do while playing any chord larger than a basic two note power chord)
  • Getting rid of all the noise that can be created from vibrations in strings that aren’t being played
  • Using consistent palm muting for ALL chords/notes
  • Keeping all pinch harmonics ‘in key’ while playing them with vibrato that matches the rhythm in the music
  • Doing all these things with perfect timing
  • Doing all of these things MANY times over while recording multiple tracks for a part in a song

Additionally, the majority of Petrucci’s music is written for odd meter while using complex songwriting techniques, playing in between beats and making tons of unexpected changes to note values. This makes it difficult to play even the easiest of Petrucci’s rhythm guitar licks with perfect timing.

How Will This Make You A Better Guitar Player?

Understand that rhythm guitar playing is much more than simply playing along to the beat of the music or matching the ticks of a metronome. Then do these two things to become a better rhythm guitarist:

1. Take the time to listen to any of Petrucci’s music from his band Dream Theater while focusing ‘only’ on his rhythm guitar playing and how it matches up perfectly with the drum parts in the song. Once you do this, you will gain a totally different perspective on what it means to be a great rhythm guitar player.

2. Learn how to make your rhythm guitar playing tight using this guitar recording resource.

2. Excellent Performing Skills In Live Situations

Most fans of John Petrucci overlook the fact that he plays with great consistency during live shows. In addition to playing ‘highly complex’ music, Petrucci is also taking advantage of a highly developed skill set that gives him the ability to play excellent live shows. Fact is, playing live is totally different than playing at home or in the studio. Most musicians who are not used to the pressure of playing in live settings will struggle to perform well even if they are great at recording in the studio (or playing while alone in their room). Playing live presents challenges such as low lighting levels, playing when you can’t hear yourself, playing without much sleep, playing while being tired and covered in sweat plus a wide variety of other issues. It takes a real master guitarist to consistently perform his music as accurately as possible under these circumstances.

How Will This Make You A Better Guitar Player?

Know that ‘playing’ and ‘performing’ are two completely separate things and treat them as such when it comes time to practice. To play at the highest level, you must invest a great deal of time into practicing ‘performing’ while trying your best to recreate the challenges of playing in a live setting (like the ones mentioned above). Only then can you become perfectly consistent while playing live on stage.

That said, even if you aren’t interested in touring with a band as a pro musician, it is still highly important that you learn how to perform in live settings so you can be confident while playing in front of others. Learn how to overcome musician stage fright.

3. Guitar Solo Phrasing Ability

Guitar players who attempt to emulate Petrucci’s soloing style often focus on his ‘speed’ when they should be focusing on his ability to smoothly connect melodies together with excellent phrasing. This is what makes his guitar solos seamlessly transition from one melodic idea to the next with clear ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’ points. By listening to his work with Dream Theater you can hear tons of examples displaying this quality. Here are just a few:

  • “Voices”
  • “The Spirit Carries On”
  • “Forsaken”
  • “The Best Of Times”
  • “Ministry Of Lost Souls”

After listening closely to the solos above, you will clearly hear both a start and end to each phrase. Additionally, you will notice how each time a phrase is played, it sounds like a natural progression from the one that was played prior. This has the powerful effect of moving the music forward and taking the listener on a journey.

Petrucci’s phrasing approach has a lot in common with the one used by Yngwie Malmsteen. Yes, both players have an overall style that is very different, BUT both use the same approach when it comes to connecting the phrases of their solos together in a smooth, flowing manner. Learn more about Malmsteen’s specific musical style by checking out this Yngwie Malmsteen electric guitar lesson.

This soloing approach used by Petrucci is entirely different from the one used by the majority of guitar players. In most cases, guitar players simply play through the notes of the scales they have memorized without trying to build distinct phrases. This causes their guitar solos to sound ‘random’ and does not provide a smooth sense of progression for the listener.

How Will This Make You A Better Guitar Player?

You must abandon the approach of mindlessly running up and down scales during guitar solos and instead focus on:

1. Putting together articulate phrases that sound like clear musical statements. Find out how to do this by reading this guitar soloing article.

2. Create a solo based on a specific melodic theme that will be ornamented using different guitar techniques. This will be much less difficult once you can think about soloing similar to how a singer writes his/her vocal melodies. See a demonstration of these concepts by watching this video on how to create a guitar solos.

4. Innovative 7 String Guitar Playing

I have already written a 7 string guitar column where I discussed a crucial mistake made by 7 string guitar guitarists: focusing too much on the lowest string, making their playing boring and repetitive. John Petrucci does not make this same mental error. Instead he uses the expanded range of the instrument much like how a piano player takes advantage of the wide range of the piano. A great pianist will not remain in just one octave range throughout an entire song. He will utilize the entire range of his instrument to give himself the potential to achieve the highest degree of creativity possible.

How Will This Make You A Better Guitar Player?

Whether you play lead or rhythm guitar, you must avoid this habit of continually focusing on the extreme higher or lower pitch ranges. If you play 7 string guitar, this is even more important (because this problem is more obvious). Learn how to become a more balanced and creative guitarist using these free resources:

1. Free 7 string guitar player mini course

2. Resource about playing rhythm guitar riffs

5. Mastery Of Various Songwriting Approaches

In Petrucci’s band Dream Theater, he writes music using a wide variety of different styles. This is made possible by Petrucci’s ability to write not just for guitar, but also for all other instruments used in the band’s songs. Being able to do this (while writing very complex music) requires complete mastery of different songwriting approaches instead of simply writing using the same approach every time.

Additionally, Petrucci (Dream Theater’s primary songwriter) may be a guitarist, but his music is not skewed toward ‘guitar’ parts only. In fact, a lot of Dream Theater’s songs are written in a way that focuses on the rhythms, melodies and motives of drums, synthesizer, piano or bass while guitar serves more of a minor role (when necessary).

Unlike Petrucci, the majority of guitar players write their music in a highly improvisational manner. In most cases, all of their songs are written by simply hoping that something ‘cool’ will happen while they are playing through the same licks or chords over and over. Then they will simply try to mold these disconnected, random ideas into a complete song. If you use this same approach, you have a lot to learn before you will be able to write in a highly creative and self-expressive manner. Although improvising new songwriting ideas is an approach that can produce results, you are greatly limiting yourself if this is the only approach you use. In fact, since so many people write music this way, there is a good chance that your music will sound a lot like the music of everyone else (rather than something that is ‘unique’ to you).

How Will This Make You A Better Guitar Player?

To become a more creative songwriter, you need to do these two things:

1. Use a variety of songwriting techniques so that you are never constrained to just one method for writing music. Study the information in this article to learn how to become a great songwriter.

2. Read this article to find out how to become a more creative musician.

What Is The Next Step To Take?

Now that you know what makes John Petrucci’s guitar playing style more amazing than what most give him credit for, begin consistently doing these three things:

1. Listen to the music of Petrucci’s band (Dream Theater) while focusing specifically on the things that have been discussed in this article. Even if this is not your preferred style of music, you will benefit greatly from listening to it with the deeper level of understanding you have now. This will help you to identify and separate the truly magnificent guitarists from the guitarists who are merely ‘good’.

2. Look deeply at your own guitar playing skills and identify what areas in your playing need the most improvement (within the context of the topics in this article). Understand that all the concepts I’ve talked about here are universally applicable to all guitarists. You will become a much better guitarist and musician once you have fully mastered them.

3. Use the resources throughout this article to strengthen the weak areas in your playing.

Once you do these three things on a consistent basis, you will make progress on guitar at an accelerated rate (much faster than any casual Petrucci fan who is unaware of the topics in this article).



About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and guitar player. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Visit his website to get free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar playing articles.

Why You Struggle To Make Progress Towards Your Guitar Playing Goals

By Tom Hess

One of the biggest misconceptions in the guitar playing community is thinking that making fast progress will lead you to your musical goals more quickly. Truth is, there are endless guitarists who actually ruin their ability to achieve their goals because they make ‘too much’ progress ‘too fast’ in one area of their playing, and little or no progress in other important areas. As a result, these under-developed areas end up holding back their progress. Then it takes them months if not years to balance things out and get back on the right path toward reaching their musical goals.

Why Uncontrolled/Mismanaged Progress Is Destructive For Guitar Playing:

Unbalanced guitar skills are caused directly by making progress too quickly in one area of your playing while ignoring other (important) areas. After teaching guitar for many years, countless guitar players have come to me with ‘unbalanced’ skills and expressed great frustration because they were unable to be fully creative in their playing. In most cases, players focus primarily on improving technique and speed while ignoring improvisation, ear training and other important skills. As a result, the guitarist is unable to ‘think’ as fast as he can play, leading to unbalanced overall playing, and a glaring weakness in overall musical creativity. In the end, they are held back by their weaknesses – unable to fully reach their highest guitar playing goals and take advantage of their main strengths. This is like fixing-up an old car and investing all of your money into purchasing the most high-powered engine you can find while completely ignoring the fact that the brake pads are worn down, the tires are bald and the suspension is terrible. This will obviously lead to issues in your car’s performance and you will not get the maximum benefit from your engine until these other factors are taken care of.

Here are the most common reasons why unmanaged/out of control progress happens for many guitarists:

Reason One: Guitar players falsely believe that they need to fully master certain skills before they practice other areas. This causes them to consistently practice in only one area of their playing while ignoring others. This is a very common occurrence that I’ve seen countless times in the hundreds of students I’ve had over the years. Here are two of the most common examples of this:

Example One: Guitarists use up every moment of their practice schedule to focus on increasing speed/building technique and learning about music theory, trying to master these things before they begin integrating them into their improvisation and songwriting. These players may increase their ability to play with good technique and understand concepts in music theory, but they will remain a novice when it comes to applying their skills in any kind of self-expressive manner. Truth is, improvising requires practice of a very specific set of skills at the same time that you work to improve your general guitar playing. There is almost nothing more disappointing than having to start from square one after spending countless hours building your skills in a totally unbalanced manner.

Example Two: Many guitarists who want to become great improvisers attempt to memorize the entire fretboard before working on their improvising skills. They spend many months working to memorize each note for each fret as quickly as possible before finally working to become better at improvisation. As a result, they are surprised when the time comes to improvise and their ability to recall individual note names on the fretboard is completely useless because they never learned how to integrate this knowledge with the understanding of how each note feels while being played over specific chords. Again this mismanagement and out of control progress leads guitar players away from the goals they intended to reach.

To get a better idea of how to prevent these approaches from affecting your playing, watch the video about the most efficient guitar practice method.

Reason Two: In some cases, guitar players seem to ‘naturally’ make progress faster with specific guitar skills while struggling to improve in other areas of their playing. This situation occurs because the practicing approaches in their weaker areas are nowhere near as effective as the ones they use with their strengths. This commonly happens with guitarists who learn guitar on their own OR with people who take lessons with guitar teachers who have not helped tons of other guitarists reach their goals.

How Can This Be Solved?

Before I reveal what needs to get done in order to bypass the issues mentioned above, there are two errors you must avoid:

1. ‘Distributing practice time equally for all areas of your playing’: After reading about the above problems, you might be thinking that the best approach to guitar practice is practicing all your skills for an equal amount of time. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE! Truth is, your guitar playing skills to not grow in the same manner at the same rate. With this in mind, it makes no sense to reserve the same amount of practice time for all areas of your playing because this will only lead you back to the problem of becoming ‘unbalanced’.

2. ‘Practicing EVERYTHING so you don’t have any weaknesses’: Before you consider using this bad approach to practice, consider the fact that all of your favorite guitar players have major weaknesses in tons of areas that are outside of their particular playing style. That said, although their playing suffers from these weaknesses, it doesn’t matter for them because these ‘weaknesses’ have nothing to do with the kind of music they like to play. They have mastered the strengths that matter most for their musical goals. For example, top-notch metal guitar players are usually unable to play fingerstyle passages on a nylon-stringed classical guitar. Blues players usually have no ability to transcribe and play Paganini compositions for guitar. However, these players fully understand the difference between ‘weaknesses that matter’ (that keep them from reaching their musical goals) and ‘weaknesses that don’t matter’ (that have nothing to do with their musical goals). The weaknesses that are most relevant MUST be improved upon in order to achieve your musical goals. Any other weaknesses can be overlooked.

These are the steps you must follow to make sure that your guitar playing doesn’t become unbalanced:

1. Read this article about accomplishing musical goals to better understand what you should be working on in your guitar playing right now.

2. Learn how to put together a guitar practice schedule that helps you maximize productivity in relation to your specific musical goals. Then take initiative to use your practice schedule consistently and make progress toward these goals. Test your ability to create an effective guitar practice routine and get better results from your practice.

3. Don’t fall for the trap of only practicing what you are good at while not practicing in areas where you are weak. Your (‘relevant’) weaknesses will always hold you back from achieving your ultimate goals – you must fix them first before you can fully use your musical strengths.

4. Don’t assume that some musical skills need to be fully mastered before you can even begin working to improve in other areas of your playing. Learn how to effectively develop different areas of your guitar playing by learning this guitar practice method.

5. Locate a great guitar teacher who has already helped other guitarists reach their highest goals and understands how to help you reach yours by providing you with many effective strategies. Find the greatest guitar teacher for you by downloading this free resource about how to locate a guitar teacher.

By following the steps mentioned above you will avoid the frequent problems of uncontrolled guitar playing progress and get on the fast track to achieving your musical goals.



About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and virtuoso guitar player. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Visit his website to get free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar playing articles.

How to Create Non-Standard Guitar Chords

Tommaso Zillio

The good old “cowboy chords” are good to learn when you are getting started with the guitar but they get old really fast. Most players have no idea what or how to learn after they got these chords, and so they get stuck with them forever. Here I will show you something that will help you learn new and fresh chords.

Most amateur guitarists spend all their life using only a handful of “cowboy chords”. While they may know about the existence of other chords, they may think that it is too difficult for them, or simply they are not interested. Well, if the simple chords are enough for them to express themselves, this is ok I guess… except that most people who hear what can be done with just a tiny little bit of music theory knowledge invariably thinks “I want it, I want to be able to play also these ‘non-standard’ chords”.

In my view, the most important thing to know is the sound of each chord, not how it is named. Knowing the name of a chord is definitely important in order to communicate with other musicians, but too many people tend to get stuck at how complicate the name of the chord is, not at how it actually sounds. And this is a pity because many chords with complex names are actually easy to play and use on the guitar.

The WRONG solution to this problem (and sadly the one that most people follow) is to get a book with lots of chords diagrams and plunge through it. Again, chords do not work alone: even if you find the “perfect” chord, then you are left with the problem of finding other chords that will work with it… and this is even more frustrating! (been there, done that). Also, in my experience it is really difficult to remember these chords if the only thing you do with them is to play them once or twice before you pass to the next diagram.

In the video below I explain how to create a whole SET of original chords that work well together. The system I explain is easy and can be used to find chords that match your “perfect chord”, if you have one… or you can just use it to create completely original chords from scratch. There is practically no formal theory involved, as you will see.

How to Create Non-Standard Guitar Chords

Like most guitar exercise, what I explain in the video will work for you only if you implement it as part of your daily practice. You just need few minutes a day for few week for this exercise… but if you’re anything like me you will WANT to spend more time on it because you are discovering new sounds and having ideas for new songs.

Another related benefit that you will get from practicing this way is that you will get to know your fretboard much better than before. Of course this is easier if you already know your notes on the fretboard. In case you don’t, just let me know and I will record my next video on the system I used to learn the notes on my guitar in little time and with little effort. In the meantime, enjoy your non-standard chords!

About the Author

A professional guitarist, teacher, and composer, Tommaso Zillio enjoys particularly writing about music theory and its application to guitar playing

The 7 Guitar Teaching Questions That Will Cause Your Failure

By Tom Hess

Do you have a lot of questions about how to grow your guitar teaching business? Truth is, you must continue asking questions and learning before you will grow as a guitar teacher. However, you must also ask ‘the right’ questions. If you ask the wrong questions (like most teachers do), you will ‘never’ expand your business and become successful on a large scale.

As someone who has trained many guitar teachers around the globe, I have answered a massive amount of questions on what it takes to build a successful guitar teaching business. There are countless questions that should NEVER be asked, because they are based on false assumptions and myths about becoming a successful guitar teacher. Even if you are able to find an answer to one of these questions, you will still end up going down the wrong path, eventually to fail in your guitar teaching business. Understanding what these specific questions are and why they are so destructive for your guitar teaching career will help you succeed where most guitar teachers fail. The following are 7 destructive ‘common sense’ questions that will cause you to fail in your teaching career:

Question #1: What Is The Best Way To Advertise Guitar Lessons In A Bad Economy?

This question contains the entirely unfounded assumption that you must utilize different marketing whenever attracting students during a slow economy versus attracting students a booming economy. This dangerous misconception could not be more wrong. If you ever receive advice for this question from another guitar teacher, understand immediately that they do NOT run a highly successful business.

Guitar teachers who achieve massive success use the same marketing strategies no matter how well the economy is doing. Rather than asking how you should change your advertising/marketing approach in relation to the economy, you should learn the most effective way to build your guitar teaching business in any economic condition. Then, you must use that approach religiously throughout the year. This is the best and only way to make sure that your business will continue to expand as teachers in your local area lose more and more students when the economy struggles.

Question #2: Where Should I Advertise My Guitar Lessons?

This question will greatly limit your opportunity to develop a guitar teaching business for these reasons:

1. There does not exist any ‘perfect’ place where your advertisements will always be effective in bringing in more business for you. There are tons of ways to effectively market your guitar teaching business and you need to learn them all. This is how you will continually grow your business.

2. When you focus exclusively on a single method of gaining new students, you make your guitar teaching business extremely vulnerable. If you are unable to continually get great results from the single method you chose, your teaching business will crumble very quickly. You MUST diversify your advertising and marketing approaches so that you are not relying on only one all-or-nothing approach at any given time.

Moral of the story: Don’t look for a single, best approach to advertising your guitar lessons. Instead, learn how to develop an effective strategy consisting of ‘many’ approaches in order to expand your business faster in a much safer manner. You will learn a wide assortment of powerful strategies by working with a guitar teaching success trainer.

Question #3: How Do I Attract More Students?

Of course you DO need to attract new students on a consistent basis – however, guitar teachers typically (and falsely) believe that getting more new students is the ‘only’ way for them to grow their income from teaching.

Simply put, gaining additional guitar students is only one of many ways that you can earn money in your business. There are tons of additional ways to earn good money as a guitar teacher (many that you would never expect) and you must learn them all in order to be successful. A lot of these concepts are discussed and explained in this free resource about earn more money teaching guitar.

Question #4: “What Would You Like To Learn Today?” (Many Guitar Teachers Ask This To Their Students)

At first, it may seem logical to ask your guitar students what they would like to learn during each lesson. Fact is, this is an extremely damaging question to ask and it will actually hold your students back from making significant progress. Whenever I help a guitarist choose a teacher to work with, I ALWAYS tell them to avoid teachers who ask them such a question. These are the reasons why:

1. As the guitar teacher, YOU are the one with the expertise. Your guitar students are your ‘students’ for a reason, and it is not their job to decide how they will become better players.

2. Your students cannot differentiate between the things they ‘want’ to learn and the things they ‘need’ to learn. Certainly your students should be allowed to tell you what they ‘want’ to learn, but because they are inexperienced, it is impossible for them to know what they ‘ought’ to be learning to accomplish their goals. Students will do more harm than god by trying to dictate to you how to teach them.

To overcome this, you must put time into learning how to teach guitar in a way that will bring bigger results for your students.

Question #5: What Do I Need To Teach My Students?

Seeking an answer to this question is very destructive for both you and your guitar students. Why? Your students are not taking lessons with you just so you can show them random stuff on guitar. They come to you in order to get a very specific ‘result’ or ‘solution’. You must help them get this by creating a highly personalized strategy for each student.

The majority of guitar teachers make the all-too-common mental error of teaching random guitar playing information/licks/songs to their students because they think this is what they are supposed to do as ‘good teachers’. On the contrary, you must design a specific strategy around your students’ unique goals to truly help them make progress on guitar.

Here is what you should do:

1. Stop focusing on finding new ‘things to teach’ and start looking for ways to help your students accomplish their specific guitar playing goals.

2. Know how to analyze the ‘symptoms’ of problems that your students share with you and identify the core problems that must be solved.

3. Become effective at guiding your students toward their highest musical goals.

For a complete understanding of these things, get a guitar teaching success trainer.

Question #6: What Is The Best Way To Approach Teaching Make Up Lessons?

This is a very common question asked by guitar teachers. Unfortunately, no matter what answer you get to this question, you will end up damaging your guitar teaching business. True experts who have achieved massive success in their guitar teaching businesses will tell you that you should a) never teach make up lessons and b) completely abandon the idea of using a lesson cancellation policy. There are countless reasons why teaching make up lessons will ruin your guitar teaching business. Here are just two:

1. When you teach make up lessons, you are working additional ‘unpaid’ time. This causes you to lose money in two ways: First, you lose an extra spot in your teaching schedule where you could be earning more money with another student. Second, you lose time that you could be working to grow your guitar teaching business and bring in additional students. This effectively limits your growth as a guitar teacher and puts your free time in the hands of students who do not respect your time in the first place.

2. Your students will lose respect for you as a guitar teachers when they feel like they can walk all over you and ‘show up’ to lessons at their own convenience. Even worse, these kinds of students will not feel a need to practice at home or make a lot of improvement. As a result, they will make very slow progress. Eventually, you will end up damaging your reputation as a guitar teacher because word will get around that you have a schedule full of mediocre students who never reach their goals.

So what is the solution? You must require that all of your students pay for every single week of the year regardless of whether or not they decide to show up (with NO make up lessons). This is the same approach used by universities. They have a strict ‘no refunds’ policy that applies to all students whether they come to class or not. This is also the same policy that highly successful guitar teachers use to earn $100,000+ every year.

Question #7: How Much Money Should My Guitar Lessons Cost?

When you ask yourself this question, you immediately set yourself up for failure because you begin thinking with the mindset that you must ‘compete’ with the price of other teachers or charge something that is fair in relation to those in your local area. To make matters worse, basing your rates on the rates of everyone else makes your guitar lessons seem like a commodity. This forces potential students to focus ONLY on the cost of lessons, causing them to view your guitar teaching as ‘the same thing’ offered by any other teacher. This effectively drains all incentive from them to choose you over anyone else in your local community.

Additionally, by asking this question you make the assumption that there is only one way to offer guitar lessons (in 1 on 1 format), which is a completely limiting approach. Fact is, there are plenty of creative guitar teaching models you can use to get far greater results for students while developing a flourishing business and offering many pricing options to your customers. Discover these methods by checking out this free guitar teaching video.

The cost of your lessons should be directly based on the unique value you offer to your guitar students instead of whatever anyone else is charging in your community. Focus on working as hard as you can to increase the value you offer to your students, get big results for them and adjust your prices accordingly.

After reading this article you have learned how even the most ‘common sense’ guitar teaching questions break down because they are based on false assumptions on how to become successful as a guitar teacher. To keep these problems from damaging your guitar teaching business, follow these steps:

1. Use the resources mentioned throughout this article to find out more information on how to become the best guitar teacher in your community.

2. Alter your current style of thinking and start asking yourself high quality questions within the topics of each of the seven questions above. Then take action to implement the advice I gave to you in order to expand your business to new heights.

By doing these things you will put yourself years ahead of any local competition and will achieve great success as a guitar teacher.



About The Author: Tom Hess is an electric guitar teacher online, recording artist and the guitar player. He trains guitar teachers from around the world on how to build their guitar teaching businesses in his guitar teacher program. Visit his website to receive many free guitar teacher resources, and to read more articles about teaching guitar.