The Key Elements Of A Successful Music Career

By Tom Hess

Before you will achieve anything significant in the music industry you must acquire five key elements that all successful musicians possess. Without these elements in place, your chances of becoming successful as a professional musician are slim to none.

The following are the five crucial keys needed for developing a long-term, successful music career:

Music Career Success Key #1 – Stop Worrying About What Seems Possible

All of the most well-known and successful musicians did not achieve their goals by thinking realistically about what seemed possible. On the contrary, they focused their mind like a laser ONLY on what they truly wanted. When you make your goals in line with the things you want most, you will be much more motivated to actually achieve them. More on this in a moment…

Think about this – out of the following choices, which choice would inspire you to put all your time and energy into growing a music career?:

a) Making a recording of a demo with a band and possibly playing a few shows around town.

b) Being the main songwriter for an epic album that sells millions of copies worldwide, then going on tour internationally – playing to massive festivals of fans and making a great living through music, without needing to work a regular job.

Even if you aren’t interested in getting into the music industry to release music, you can still understand my point… Don’t ever accept anything less than what you WANT from a career in music (even if what you want seems like a really big accomplishment). Don’t waste your life pursuing things that you don’t really want. If you set goals for your music career that don’t really inspire you, you won’t be motivated to achieve them and you certainly won’t ever achieve your true musical goals.

All of the great musicians you have ever known, are just normal people like you. They started from humble beginnings – whether it was without a band, having low musical skills or not understanding how the music industry works (as well as countless other situations). Imagine what kind of outcome would have happened for them had they decided that it wasn’t ‘realistic’ to sell records worldwide, tour internationally and build a huge fan base. Well, they didn’t… they chose to pursue BIG goals and this is very fortunate for them (and the music industry as a whole).

Be like them. Start building your music career based only on the goals that motivate you the most!

Music Career Success Key #2 – Manifest Your Musical Dreams Into Reality Before They Actually Are Reality

Musicians who never achieve anything significant in this industry, build paths to their goals by starting from where they are in the present moment.

On the other hand, musicians who achieve great success do something completely different. They plan their music career by beginning from the end point of achieving their goals, and work backwards to the present day. They imagine themselves having already accomplished their major goals, then build their lives around this vision. This is a much more effective way of accurately determining the actions required for putting together your music career. Find out more about this topic by reading this article on achieving your musical goals.

Avoid having to rely on trial-and-error approach in your music career by working with an experienced music industry mentor who can tell you how to build a successful music career.

Music Career Success Key #3 – Sink Or Swim (Choose SWIM!)

Your music career success is dependent on possessing the above two keys. However, simply having ‘goals’ and a plan to reach them is not enough to actually do it. You must ‘take action’ day in and day out until your goals are completed. This might seem like a common sense thing to say, but the truth is, TONS of musicians fail to take action on realizing their musical dreams and never end up doing anything.

Consider this metaphor (I discuss this in depth with the musicians who I mentor for success): You’ve been diagnosed with some kind of illness that requires a critical surgery. If you don’t get this surgery done, you will die in 6 months. On top of that, the surgery costs a huge amount of money (100k+) and you can neither borrow money to pay for it nor get coverage from insurance. So you have one choice: You can do whatever it takes to make the money you need or you can give up and allow yourself to die.

This example is on the extreme end of the spectrum, but it effectively illustrates the type of mindset needed to achieve success in the music industry. Taking consistent action to move your music career forward is different than merely knowing what needs to get done, while waiting around hoping it will magically occur on its own (allowing yourself to ‘die’ in this case).

With this in mind, hard work/consistent action does not necessarily equal music career success, when you don’t know exactly what you should be doing to reach your goals. Get started building a successful career in music with a mentor so you can understand the right actions you should be taking at all times.

Music Career Success Key #4 – Make Sure Your Musical Goals Can Pass The ‘Why’ Test

It’s a fact that everything will not always go according to plan in your music career. It is in the most challenging times that your music career dedication will be put to the test. Examples of this could include:

  • Having to work full time at a job that sucks and having no idea how to quit your non-musical day job and make it in music.
  • Playing at dumpy bars with your band, because you aren’t sure what steps you should take to start playing at bigger, better venues.
  • Working with unmotivated band members who are bringing you (and the entire band) down.
  • Working to record your debut album, but having a difficult time because you never learned how to record cleanly, in as few takes as possible.
  • Not knowing how to get tons of music fans to hear your music.

Here is what you need to do in order to maintain your commitment and dedication to achieving your music career goals:

Take out the piece of paper you have that contains the list of your written goals (that you put together in key #1 above). Then beside each one write down the big REASONS you have for pursuing them. For every musical goal you have, answer this question: “Why do I want to achieve this?” Spend a lot of time thinking about this for each goal before you write down your response, and look over your goals/reasons two times every day.

When you make this a habit, you’ll be able to stay enthusiastic about achieving your musical goals whenever you are faced with any uncertainty or obstacles.

To find out more information on this topic, read this article about planning musical goals.

Music Career Success Key #5 – Don’t Try To Build Your Music Career Blindfolded

Even after you possess all four of the keys described above, you can still fail at building a successful music career. This can happen when you don’t know what to do next, are (subconsciously) sabotaging yourself or are using poor strategies for reaching your musical goals. The final key required for music career success is the training of an experienced music industry mentor.

A true mentor does not merely instruct you on what you should be doing or tell you about the inner workings of the music industry. Instead, a great mentor helps you bring out the strengths you developed through attaining the first four keys and makes sure you are on the right path toward your goals at all times, while keeping you away from the obstacles that many musicians face (that often lead to them to failure). Without this expert guidance, you are trying to make it in the music business with your hands over your eyes and are unable to truly take advantage of your know-how, musical skills and hard work.

Now that you are familiar with all five keys needed for music career success, take the following actions:

1. Focus on getting all the missing keys you do not currently possess.

2. Start music business training right now to begin reaching your musical goals faster than ever before.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a recording artist, composer and a touring musician. Tom also mentors and coaches musicians worldwide to make it in the music industry. Go to his musician development site to get free music industry advice and learn more about the music industry.

Why You Struggle To Attract Guitar Students In The Summer

by Tom Hess

You’re probably aware of how there are much less student inquiries during the summer than any other season. In most cases, guitar teachers have no solutions for this issue, leading to an added struggle tomake good money teaching guitar. With this in mind, just because there are less inquiries, does NOT mean you can’t get tons of students in the summer!

There are several reasons why guitar teachers can’t keep students during the summer. Here are these reasons and what you must do to not only ‘get’ students but grow your guitar teaching business as a whole:

Reason 1: Not Enforcing A STRONG Guitar Teaching Policy

Having a weak guitar teaching policy is a huge mistake for your guitar teaching business. Without one in place, your student base will quickly deteriorate because they will have the power to walk all over you, stop taking lessons without notice or take time off (without paying you for it). The most common teaching policy that leads to these things is a policy that lets people pay lesson-by-lesson. This kind of lesson policy leaves the door open for students to reschedule when they feel like it, arrive late, not pay on time and (in the summer) go on vacation for months at a time.

Truly successful guitar teachers charge their students per month, NOT per lesson. And if you want to get paid on time and not get taken advantage of… you should too! In addition, you don’t need to accept it as a loss when your students leave for summer vacation. To get ready for this situation, think of creative ways to train your students when they are unable to meet with you in person for a lesson. Discover tons of ways you can do this by checking out this free resource about earning a ton of money teaching guitar.

Reason 2: Giving Up On Even ‘Trying’ To Promote Your Guitar Teaching Business During The Summer Months

Because most guitar teachers understand that there are less student inquiries in the summer, they often give up on their promotional efforts during this time. This opens the door for you to market yourself to all the students that everyone else is ignoring. There are always students seeking teachers regardless of the time of year (even if there are ‘less’ in the summer). By being one of the only teachers to increase marketing efforts in the summer, you will effectively raise the percentage of students you are able to attract. This will essentially transform the summer months from your ‘worst’ time for attracting students to your ‘best’.

Reason 3: Not Having Good Promotional Ability To Begin With

In the other articles I released on how to teach guitar lessons, I discussed why most guitar teachers are completely unaware of how to promote their business. This prevents them from making a lot more money and helping their students in a much greater capacity. When you are unable to promote your guitar lessons very well, you will struggle even more during the summertime when you are being contacted by less people. This will make it extremely hard to sustain your guitar teaching business for a long period of time.

To make sure you keep your guitar students during the summer, work together with an experienced guitar teacher coach who will show you how to keep and attract students year round.

Reason 4: Not Telling Your Guitar Students In Advance About The Value Of Taking Lessons In The Summer

Guitar students generally have a host of non-guitar activities that they want to participate in during the summer. As their guitar instructor, you must help them understand why guitar is so much more important than all those other things. You must help them realize:

A) The specific reasons why getting better at guitar is more valuable for them than any recreational activity they could be doing.

B) How important it is to continue learning guitar in the summer so that they do not ‘lose’ all the skills they gained, only to have to relearn everything again in the fall (costing them tons of additional time and money in the process). This is the same thing that happens every year for your students who go to public school, so they can understand this concept clearly (and know that you make a good point when you explain it to them).

C) How taking lessons with you during the summer will be a very unique experience that they MUST be a part of. Here is one way (of many) you can give them this realization:

Create a unique event that only takes place in the summer months. For instance, you can create a lead guitar technique mastery program, hold live performance coaching or even host a road trip for your students to go see a cool band. Then you can show them how to play guitar like the guitarist in the band (as a standalone program). The creative ideas you can think of are boundless – promote these events well in advance and your students will be ‘pumped’ when the summertime finally comes around.

[Notice: The worst thing you could do is ‘reduce’ your lesson rates to try to keep your students - THIS is exactly how most guitar teachers lose their students during the summer because the students perceive guitar lessons to be of lesser value than the other fun things they could be doing.]

Now you know how to retain your students for the summer, learn how to get more guitar students during any season.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player. He helps people from all over the world learn how to teach guitar. Visit his website to get free guitar teacher resources and to read more guitar teaching articles.

Why You Aren’t The Leading Guitar Instructor In Your City

By Tom Hess

Your opportunity for success as a guitar teacher is greater now than ever before. Why? Most guitar teachers these days would rather accept mediocre results in their teaching and teaching business growth than take the time to truly help their students. On top of that, even the most dedicated guitar teachers are clueless about what can really be achieved in their guitar teaching business. As a result, they are never able to accomplish great things for themselves or their students. However, since you are reading this article, you have a distinct advantage over everyone else in your local guitar teaching community who isn’t taking steps to become a better guitar teacher and further his/her business.

It’s actually a lot easier than you’d expect to become the leading guitar teacher in your local area, fill up your teaching schedule and develop a successful teaching business. To do it, you must first learn the main reasons why so many guitar teachers fail and how you can avoid the mistakes they make in order to achieve a better outcome.

These are the five biggest reasons why guitar teachers will never achieve success in their teaching businesses and the details for how ‘you’ can avoid their mistakes to become the leader for guitar instruction in your city:

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #1: Not Investing Much Time Into Growing Your Guitar Teaching Business

When you exclusively spend your time on building lesson plans, sorting through administrative tasks/payments, thinking of new materials and other smaller teaching tasks you will not become hugely successful. These things are certainly necessary to work on, however, you must also focus on building your guitar teaching business as a whole in order to become truly successful as a guitar teacher. If you neglect doing this, your guitar teaching business is likely to diminish (meaning you lose more students than you gain) over time. This is one of the main reasons why so many guitar teachers go out of business.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Invest time every week to work on building all areas of your guitar teaching business (in addition to working on general guitar teaching tasks). You should actively be working to find new ways to gain new students while retaining them longer, developing an effective referrals system, creating a solid teaching policy and putting together a great marketing strategy. On a piece of paper, write down your specific goals, detailing what you’d like to accomplish in the next several months to a year (or more). Then determine the steps needed to reach these goals and take action on them every week.

For help attracting tons of new students fast, test your approaches using this free assessment on the topic of getting more guitar students.

Use this assessment about how to build a guitar teaching business to become a more successful guitar teacher.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #2: Copying Other Guitar Teachers

When you copy what other guitar teachers are doing, you are very unlikely to ever become highly successful. Here is why:

1. The majority of people teaching guitar are not successful. Therefore, when you copy the methods used by these people (either marketing or approaches to teaching students), you will only head down the same path of failure.

2. Copying guitar teachers who seem to be highly successful will not work either. This is because you do not understand the complete strategy behind what they are doing – you only see the individual tactics. Tactics are individual actions that one takes to achieve a result. For example: hanging up ads in a music store, making your website design more professional or sending out flyers in your area. On the other hand, a strategy is the ‘big picture’ thought process that connects everything together and reach specific short, medium and long term goals. A strategy is built into the foundation of a successful guitar teaching business and cannot be understood by simply observing isolated tactics.

3. When you decide to imitate other guitar teachers in your area you essentially remove any ‘unique’ qualities from your lessons. This turns guitar lessons into a kind of commodity, where the ‘cheapest’ lessons are the best. If you follow this mindset and try to undercut everyone else in your area you will (at best) end up with very unmotivated students who are not serious about making progress on guitar. This is because most students know that ‘you get what you pay for’ and associate cheap lessons with low quality lessons.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Don’t build your guitar teaching business by merely ‘guessing’ about what might work. Use the approaches that successful guitar teachers use:

  • Get guitar teacher training to learn how to become a successful guitar teacher. This is the most effective method for developing your own unique business strategy while getting better results for your students.
  • Rather than marketing yourself as a guitar teacher who teaches ‘all styles’, select a particular style and become the local guru in that style. This will put your name at the top of anyone’s list whenever they are looking for someone to help them learn that style. Additionally, students who want to learn a specific style are generally more serious than other students who only seek ‘general’ lessons.
  • When determining the price for your lessons, charge AT LEAST a little bit above average. By charging ‘more’, your students will feel much more motivated to practice more frequently and improve because they are paying more for their lessons. Charging more helps keep them accountable to themselves because they don’t want to waste all the money they are spending.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #3: Accepting Mediocre Guitar Teaching Skills

The best thing you should do if you want to develop a terrible reputation for being a poor guitar teacher and getting no results for your students is stop trying to improve your teaching skills. Whenever you sense that you are ‘going through the motions’, you know you are in need of improvement.

In all other industries (such as the medical industry as a single example), you would be stripped of your license if it was discovered that you haven’t been properly training to keep your qualifications high, or if you claimed to know how to do help people, but did not. Unfortunately, guitar teachers do not require licensing in the same way and many of them never learned how to teach (or teach simply through trial-and-error).

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Understand that your guitar students are not paying you for anything other than RESULTS – their musical lives are in your hands. You will either help them become great musicians or hold them back causing them to struggle for many years before getting back on track with their goals. This is why you must always work to become a better teacher so you can give your students the best possible results.

Note: merely being a great guitarist or going to university to study music is NOT the same as actually learning ‘how to TEACH guitar lessons’, so simply having guitar playing skills is not a substitute for consistent training on how to become a successful guitar teacher.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #4: Having A Poor Mindset About Earning Money From Teaching Guitar

How can you absolutely guarantee that you won’t earn good money teaching guitar? Answer: Believing that it is ‘wrong’ to want to make a huge profit (6 figures+) through guitar lessons. Another way to be unsuccessful at earning good money is to refuse to market your lessons – relying only on word of mouth. Many guitar teachers either feel it is wrong to make a lot of money teaching others and never take the right steps to promote their teaching businesses. Here is why this is a MASSIVE lose/lose for them and the students in their area:

You’ll struggle to earn enough money to get by since you won’t be taking the necessary actions to grow your business at a bigger level.

Guitar students in your local area will suffer because your belief system will cause you to build a business that prevents you from growing beyond a certain number of students. There are countless guitar players in your area who truly desire your help but will never get the opportunity to work with you due to your views. With this in mind, it is definitely realistic to want to teach 100+ students once you have the correct systems in place (and you can do so working 15 hours or less per week!). Watch this video about how to grow a guitar teaching business to learn more.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

Take on the mindset that highly successful guitar teachers have about earning money. These teachers know that:

  • By earning more money, they will gain the ability to re-invest what they make back into their business to benefit their students. When you earn more money as a guitar teacher, you can offer your guitar students many new benefits that you couldn’t before such as recording equipment, great quality rental instruments, bigger learning spaces, etc.
  • To earn more money you need to become the greatest at what you do. The desire to developing a flourishing business needs to be part of the motivation for offering the greatest results to your students. This is why guitar teachers who get the best results for their students invest into a trainer who trains them to become a successful guitar teacher.

Once you fully understand that you have the power to totally transform the musical lives of your students, it becomes you duty to gain as many students as possible so you can help them achieve their musical goals.

Why Guitar Teachers Fail, Reason #5: Having Little Or No Passion For Guitar Teaching

You can have all the guitar teaching skill in the world but it will do you NO good if you don’t have passion for what you are doing. Without passion, teaching guitar for a living becomes the same as working a 9-5 day job (causing you to accept lower standards). Since working a ‘normal job’ does not feel rewarding enough to motivate you to improve, you are unlikely to take action to grow your guitar teaching business and become a better teacher. Result: you will inevitably fail. In addition, your guitar students will quickly pick up on your lack of enthusiasm and mirror it back to you (by not practicing, apply what you teach them, etc.).

On the other hand, the most successful guitar teachers have a very strong passion for teaching guitar. Although they DO teach guitar to make money, they also teach because it is something they truly enjoy doing. When you are passionate about teaching guitar, your students will notice and respond positively.

What You Need To Do Instead To Become The #1 Guitar Teacher In Your Area:

To grow a passion for teaching guitar, you need to identify your greatest ‘reasons’ for wanting to become successful at it. Think about the goals that teaching guitar at the highest level will achieve for you. When you understand your greatest reasons for teaching guitar, you can use your excitement for achieving your goals as a motivator for teaching. This will help you to both enjoy the process of teaching lessons as well as use your motivation to inspire your students. When your students are inspired on a consistent basis, they will naturally achieve much more.

What is the next step to take?

Once you understand the ideas discussed above, it’s time to start implementing what you’ve learned so you can become the leading guitar teacher in your area. By applying the points of this article into your guitar teaching business, you will become more successful than you could have ever imagined – all while helping your students become excellent guitarists and musicians.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player. He helps people from all over the world learn how to teach guitar. Visit his website to get free guitar teacher resources and to read more guitar teaching articles.

Tom Hess is our resident author, for other information including how to become an online guitar tutor go to

What You Must Do To Become A Successful Guitar Teacher

By Tom Hess

Having no success building a thriving guitar teaching business? One of the greatest ways to become more successful is to look at how successful people think in other fields. For instance, if you have ever watched the Olympics, you know that there is an extremely thin margin for error that decides who takes the gold and who never make it to the podium at all. Only a precious few of these athletes win medals while the rest have to go home with nothing.

Truth is, teaching guitar in your local community is not so different from this. There are tons of guitar teachers around the globe, but only a tiny fraction of them build successful businesses and get significant results for their students. Everyone else works just as hard at becoming successful but are unable to realize their goals, make a great living through guitar teaching and produce great guitar students. How do I know? I’ve been in both positions. Many years ago (when I first began teaching guitar) I struggled while trying to put together a profitable teaching business before becoming the world’s leader in online guitar lessons and mentor to many guitar instructors all over the world.

Most guitar teachers who are struggling in their businesses think that successful teachers simply ‘know more’ about music or guitar instruction. There is ‘some’ truth to this, however, these things are NOT the greatest factors for why some people are able to build highly successful guitar teaching businesses why others don’t know how to help their students get big results and end up working full time day jobs just to get by. Over the years I discovered that the main factor for becoming the most successful guitar teacher in your local area is related to that which makes up the foundation of your teaching business (not simply ‘how you teach guitar’).

Of course, it should be understood that you always need to work on becoming a better guitar teacher by improving your teaching methods. However, if you want to achieve great success in your teaching career, you must focus less on working IN your guitar teaching business (by ‘only’ working on daily tasks relating to actually teaching lessons, preparing materials, etc.). and you must invest more time into working ON your guitar teaching business as a whole.

There are many things that make up the core of any massively successful guitar teaching business. Some of these things include: developing a specific guitar teaching niche, putting together student referral systems, creating a solid teaching policy, understanding the process for attracting new students on a consistent basis, building Win/Win partnerships and much more (you can discover what specific elements are needed for building your guitar teaching business by downloading this free guitar teaching eBook). Truth is, the majority of guitar teachers either ignores the elements mentioned above or do not develop them enough to quickly expand their business in order to overcome local competition.

If you haven’t already become the number one guitar teacher in your area, here is some good news:

1. It’s much easier than you would think to change the way you run your guitar teaching business. It just takes a strong desire to get started – the work is not actually very hard at all. Most of the guitar teachers I train are surprised when I show them how easy it is to become successful in this business.

2. The benefits you will get from doing this will be HUGE, both for developing your guitar teaching business AND helping your students.

This is how building a strong foundation for your guitar teaching business will help you ‘break through’ and achieve success that is far beyond what most will ever experience:

You Will Help Your Students Make Fast Progress And Get BIG Results In Their Playing

Here is why this will happen:

1. As discussed above, when you work hard to develop a strong foundation for your guitar teaching business, you will naturally attract more serious clients. These people will have a much higher level of motivation to get better on guitar and closely follow your instructions for doing so. This means they will get better at a much faster rate than other guitar students. As a result, all your other students will (usually unconsciously) become inspired to get better so they can reach the same level as your serious students. By applying what you learn from this article to develop your guitar teaching business, you will inspire all your students to get better results.

2. Once your guitar teaching business begins growing and you make a lot of money, it will be much easier for you to get better results for your students using unique approaches you never could’ve used if you were struggling to make ends meet (like the majority of guitar teachers).

You Will Naturally Attract Tons Of Serious Guitar Students

Any guitar teacher would prefer to work with serious, highly dedicated students who practice often, respect lesson policies and make the fastest progress. These kinds of students are fun to work with, but most guitar teachers are clueless when it comes to attracting them. In order to get these students to work with you, you must first create an environment that is optimal for these students to work in. Working on the elements above will help you do this.

Your Students Are Going To Take Lessons With You Longer

Once you are able to attract serious guitar students, you will also be able to keep your students taking lessons for longer periods of time. The reasons why this happens are a) serious students are more likely to study longer with you and b) finding creative ways to inspire your students to keep studying with you is a critical aspect of building a successful guitar teaching business in the long term.

You Will Make A Great Living From Teaching Guitar

When you start thinking of guitar teaching as a ‘business’ and invest time into developing the foundation that is required to run it effectively, it’s very likely you’ll be able to make a lot of money (100k+) while working relatively few hours in a week. However, before you can do this, you must do the things that most teachers don’t do. I talk about this in more detail in this free online resource on how to make money as a guitar teacher.

Your Guitar Students Will Tell All Their Friends To Take Lessons With You

One of the perks that comes along with having serious guitar students is the increased amount of referrals you will get compared to the amount you will get from ‘regular’ students. Chances are, your most serious students already know several other guitar players who are also serious about improving (and will be interested in working with someone who can help them get better). Once they find out that their friends are taking lessons with you, you will instantly be put on the top of their list when it comes to choosing a local guitar teacher to work with.

Now that you know the main difference between highly successful guitar teachers and mediocre teachers, it’s up to you to decide which group you want to be a part of. If you are 100% serious about becoming a highly successful guitar teacher, this is what you must do right now:

1. Get as much information as you can about how to build a strong foundation for your guitar teaching business by downloading this resource on how to make money as a guitar teacher.

2. Invest some time each week into working ON your guitar teaching career rather than only concentrating on preparing lessons, teaching materials, etc.

3. Take the same path as successful Olympic athletes: find an experienced trainer who helps other guitar teachers achieve the greatest success possible in their local areas and who will show exactly how to do this for yourself. Your trainer will not simply tell you what needs to be done, but will hold you accountable for completing all the necessary steps for building a successful teaching business.

When you follow the steps above you will put yourself on a whole new level above all the local teachers in your area and achieve more success in your teaching business than ever before.

Start making good money as a guitar teacher by reading this eBook about make money as a guitar teacher.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player. He helps people from all over the world learn how to teach guitar. Visit his website to get free guitar teacher resources and to read more guitar teaching articles.

Tom Hess is our resident author, for other information including how to become an online guitar tutor go to

How To Consistently Attract New Guitar Students

By Tom Hess

One of the biggest challenges you will face as a guitar teacher is learning how to attract students on a continual basis. However, if your first solution to finding more guitar students is to advertise more… you’re on the wrong track! Most guitar teachers focus only on advertising as much as possible and end up back where they started with only a few students. Truth is, advertising is only ‘one’ part of the big picture when it comes to attracting tons of new students.

In a moment I will show you how to get more guitar students by proving that you are the best guitar teacher to work with. Before you read the rest of this article, test your knowledge to see how much you know about how to attract more guitar students. This (combined with the information in this article) will help you understand what areas you need to work on now so that you can quickly begin attracting lots of new students.

The following six points will help you understand what you must do to clearly demonstrate your overwhelming value as a guitar teacher so you can attract more students:

1. Help your guitar students learn what they NEED (not just what they think they ‘want’)

One of the biggest mistakes you can make for the long term growth of your guitar teaching business is only teaching your students what they ‘think they want’. Make sure they stay on the right path and don’t let them distract themselves from reaching their greatest musical goals. You will often run into situations where students ask to learn something outside of what you plan to teach them during a lesson. Students generally do not understand what is needed to become a great guitarist (this is why they are ‘students’ and NOT teachers). You will almost always know more than the student when it comes to what is really needed to achieve mastery in any particular area of their playing. Simply put, you will attract a lot more students when you are able to produce excellent guitarists and musicians through your teaching. This will not happen if your students are distracted by things that do not help them reach their greatest goals.

2. Enrich your students’ musical lives by expanding their guitar playing goals to make them bigger in scope

In most cases, people who want to learn guitar from you either:

1. Have no clue what can truly be accomplished with guitar. They have a very limiting understanding of how to set truly BIG goals.

2. Don’t have faith in themselves and as a result pursue very small goals based on what they think is possible rather than what they REALLY want to accomplish.

For instance, many of your guitar students might think that they merely want to learn how to play fast guitar licks, specific songs or styles. Fact is, if you showed them how much they could truly achieve, they would want to accomplish much more. Mediocre guitar teachers will simply help their guitar students learn songs, play cool licks or reach other small goals during their lessons. Eventually, the student will be able to do these things and will quit because there seems to be no reason to continue (since the teacher never made them aware of the greater musical possibilities beyond their basic objectives).

You MUST open your students’ minds and help them understand how much potential they truly have to achieve BIG things. This will make them much more motivated and excited to learn with you. As a result, they will stay with you much longer and tell everyone they know about your lessons as they progress toward their goals. Give your students the absolute MOST they can get out of guitar lessons – don’t allow them to accomplish very little when they should be accomplishing a lot.

3. Personalize your guitar teaching to meet the unique needs, goals and learning styles of your guitar students

Here’s a question you should never ask: “What is the greatest method for teaching guitar students?”. Instead, you should be asking the following question: “What is the best way to consistently get MASSIVE results for my students?”. The answer to this question (as you might suspect) is very complex. However, it starts by using the following line of thinking:

The greatest, most successful guitar teachers do not merely teach ‘guitar’ they teach ‘people’. What am I talking about exactly? Do not search for an all-encompassing teaching method. Instead, search for strategies that will help each of your students achieve their specific musical goals as quickly and effectively as possible (while keeping them highly motivated throughout the learning process).

4. Work with a proven expert to improve your guitar teaching skills

#1 mistake made by most guitar teachers that ruins their local reputation (taking away their ability to earn good money): teaching guitar lessons with a trial and error approach. There is almost nothing worse than telling your students that you have learned how to teach guitar through trial and error. Many of them will take this as a sign of your own incompetence and will pursue lessons with someone else who seems more capable of helping them get results. Think about it. Would you pay someone to fill a cavity in your tooth if they were working on a trial and error basis? Would you sit down in that dentist’s chair? Didn’t think so! The same applies for your guitar students. They are not stupid, they can tell a hack teacher from someone who has really perfected the craft of guitar instruction. Don’t overlook this point – find an expert guitar teacher who will show you exactly what you need to do to get the very best results for your students.

With this in mind, I’m sure you are already aware that I give guitar teacher help in my guitar teacher training program. You may think that the only reason I wrote this article is to promote this program… but it’s not. Truth is, it really doesn’t matter to me who trains you to become an excellent guitar teacher. I’m merely informing you that you need to do this in order to become successful in your guitar teaching business.

5. Truly care A LOT about helping your students (and show this to them!)

You will be able to attract students and retain them for extended periods of time once you can show them that you care more about helping them than any other instructor ever will. You can do this in many ways and here is one of them: Use some of the profit you earn from teaching lessons to put together exclusive events, parties or jams for your students (All for FREE). As soon as your guitar students see that you are using your own money for their benefit, it proves that you really care about helping them and they will trust you much more.

6. Make it clear to potential guitar students that your guitar lessons are very unique and special when compared to any other lessons being offered locally

You will struggle to attract a lot of guitar students when your lessons are judged purely by price alone. When this happens, your students will view all guitar teaching as a simple commodity where the only point in working with one teacher over another teacher is to save a few bucks. In this case, they will always select whoever is cheapest. To overcome this objection, you must help them understand the major benefits they will get while working with you (that they cannot find anywhere else). Additionally, you must communicate to them that you will be able to offer them these things while simultaneously saving them time and money. The question is, how can you prove this? Here are a few ways:

  • Show any potential guitar students a list of the students you’ve trained to become excellent guitarists and musicians.
  • Explain how you’ve actually been ‘trained’ by an experienced guitar teacher trainer to get the best results for your students. Keep in mind that this is totally different than having a degree in music, since this kind of degree will not help you improve as a guitar teacher.
  • Don’t teach exclusively one on one lessons – use a variety of unique formats that will bring your students tons of additional benefits and help them advance their playing faster. Watch this video about how to earn a living as a guitar teacher and learn more on this topic.
  • Become the local expert a style your target students want to learn.

After doing all these things, two things will occur for you:

1. Potential guitar students will identify you as the one and only option for helping them become the players they want to become.

2. Other local guitar teachers will start losing students because their students will soon discover that YOU are the one who helps guitarists achieve their goals faster than any other teacher in the area.

The Next Step You Should Take

After reading this article you have discovered many ways to attract a lot of new guitar students. To get the most benefit out of this information, begin implementing these ideas into your guitar teaching business right now. Once you do this, you will quickly gain many new students, earn more money and develop a positive reputation in your local community as the best guitar teacher.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to test and see how much you know about how to attract more guitar students.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional guitar teacher, composer and the guitar player. He shows guitar teachers from around the world how to make money teaching guitar. On his website, you can find guitar teacher resources, and guitar teaching articles.

Find Out How You Can Become A Guitar Teacher

by Tom Hess

When thinking about getting started teaching guitar, do you feel any of these things?

  1. You want to start teaching guitar lessons but aren’t sure exactly what to do or how to do things.
  2. You aren’t always sure how to teach, demonstrate or explain things in ways that all guitar students will understand and be able to learn from.
  3. You get nervous when thinking about what will happen if your guitar students simply won’t ‘get it’ no matter how many times you try to show them how to play or understand something on the guitar.
  4. You aren’t sure how to determine if you are doing a good job as a guitar teacher or not.

If you can identify with the points above, you are not alone. It is very common for almost all beginning guitar teachers to have the same concerns as you. In fact, even long time guitar teachers will run into these problems if they have not made the effort to locate someone who has already been highly successful as a guitar teacher (and can show them what they are doing wrong). In most cases, these people will teach guitar for years without ever truly making significant improvement in their guitar teaching skills. Here are 11 common guitar teaching mistakes that less experienced teachers make. If you can stay away from these, you will be well on your way to becoming a highly successful guitar teacher.

Mistake #1: Not focusing on the student’s goals for guitar.
A lot of guitar teachers make the mistake of teaching guitar lessons in a totally improvised manner when it comes to the content of each lesson. Teachers like this do not take the time to plan out what they will be teaching or why they are teaching it to their students. Often they will simply decide the day’s topic based on whatever the student brings up in the first few minutes of the lesson. This can cause many problems because such teaching approach as a whole lacks any direction, and the student’s goals as a guitar player are not likely to be achieved.

On the other hand, some guitar teachers will essentially ‘over plan’ their guitar lessons. These people will start with an idea of how they think they should teach guitar lessons, and will continue teaching that way to all of their students. This approach will fail also because it does not treat each individual guitar student as a unique person with unique needs. Not everyone learns the same way, so teaching guitar to students without being flexible with your overall guitar teaching style will not bring good results.

Mistake #2: Misunderstanding how to teach what a student ‘wants’ versus what he/she ‘needs’.

Most teachers approach guitar teaching from these perspectives separately:

  1. Focusing on what a guitar student WANTS.
  2. Focusing on what a guitar student NEEDS.

The mistake in this is that guitar teachers are stuck on one extreme, while neglecting the other. If you teach guitar using the first approach (teaching only what the student wants), you will soon find that this approach doesn’t work. Many guitar teachers understand that what a student says he ‘wants’ is not always the same as what he needs. That said, it is much better to teach a guitar student what they ‘need’ than what they ‘want’. However, in order to truly help your guitar students improve, you must balance out both approaches.

The greatest guitar teaching approach is to focus on the students’ goals, while also showing him/her that what they ‘need’ is the same as what they ‘want’. You must consistently keep track of their goals, and then show them what they must do to achieve those goals (while also explaining how these things work together). By doing this, you will help your guitar students gain motivation because they understand that they will be enjoying themselves throughout the learning process. This will help your students stay on track and reach their goals.
Mistake #3: Not helping your guitar students apply new guitar ideas.
One of the easiest ways to find out if a guitar teacher is doing a good job teaching is to look at his/her students. For the most part, you will see that people have guitar students that have learned a decent amount of ‘stuff’ on guitar. Unfortunately, after a closer look you will notice that these students do not actually know how to use any of this information to make great music on guitar. This is the result of a very common misunderstanding that guitar teachers make.

Most guitar teachers put an unnecessary amount of energy into showing their students new things to play on guitar. It is much more important that your guitar students understand the ways to apply what they know. This prevents a situation where your students, having already learned a lot about music and guitar, struggle to use their skills in actual music.

Remember, you don’t always have to teach something new to your guitar students each lesson. It is critically important to train them to actually use the things they already know.

Mistake #4: Not understanding how to work around or fix a guitar student’s playing mistakes.

If teaching guitar to students were as easy as plugging in the right answer to an equation, there would be little work for guitar teachers to do. In reality, your guitar students are ‘human’ and cannot be programmed so easily. While teaching guitar lessons, you will encounter times when your guitar students are distracted, disinterested, or are simply in the mood to play something different. In addition, some students don’t always want to play everything to perfection. The mistake that teachers make is to “let it slide” too much. In other words, they allow bad habits to build up for the sake of not being too strict. Many times this results not only in sloppy guitar playing, but could also possibly lead to injury!

On the other hand, some teachers are overly strict with their guitar students while fixing bad habits. Unfortunately, this can be a problem as well because most guitar players are not willing to take constant corrections on every little detail. As a result, such guitar teachers cause their students to feel discouraged or unmotivated since they are not getting the chance to enjoy playing and learning guitar.

The most successful guitar teachers have the ability to merge ideas together. It should be your goal to fix all of your students’ bad habits as time goes on. To do this you must prioritize the more urgent ones that need to be taken care of first. The most important problems to fix are the ones that can lead to any kind of physical injury. After this, focus on your guitar student’s picking hand (Often guitar players zone out on their picking hand in everyday playing situations, and will be oblivious to any bad habits).
Mistake #5: Not expecting your guitar students to give their best effort (or at least try).
You will have some guitar students who will give you 110% when it comes to practicing at home and putting out consistent effort to become a better guitarist. However, the majority of your guitar students will not give you nearly as much effort. The reason this happens so often with most guitar teachers is because the teacher does not set any kind of standard for effort on the student’s part. Because of this, the student does not have a clear idea of how much practice and effort is required in order to be able to play guitar how they want. The greatest guitar instructors will let their students know that they expect a certain amount of effort, and will help the student to understand why this works to benefit them. In addition, it is important not to have the same expectations for every one of your students. Remember that each student has his or her own unique needs as a guitar player.

Mistake #6: Teaching too many new ideas in each guitar lesson.

It is very common for guitar teachers to feel as if they must always be ‘teaching new things’. In reality, this causes your students to feel overwhelmed. The reason for this is that they are taking in a bunch of new material, but not actually learning how to APPLY it! So what are the main reasons that guitar teachers feel they must constantly teach new things to their students?

Reason 1 – They feel uncomfortable giving guitar instruction and focuses on demonstrating new ideas each lesson in order to compensate for their lack of teaching skills.

Reason 2 – They try to copy other local guitar instructors because they think it will help them become more successful.

Reason 3 – The teacher wants to please students who express that they are ready to ‘move on’. Truth is, even when a student says this, nine times out of ten…they are not ready!

The greatest teaching approach is one that helps your guitar students to effectively learn how to apply what you show them. The key is to train your new students to use what they learn, so that they do not become overwhelmed with excess ‘facts’ that they can’t really use.

Mistake #7: Not knowing what to do when your guitar students don’t understand after you’ve explained something several times.
Less experienced guitar teachers typically do not know how to explain new concepts to students in more than one way. These teachers will run into additional problems as well because they are more prone to using their own style of learning to teach their students. This only leads to more problems in communication.

The greatest guitar teachers seek to find out the best way to communicate with their students by understanding HOW they learn. Some students learn well by seeing you play on guitar (visual), some by listening to you play (audio), and some by picking up the guitar and playing it for themselves (kinesthetic/touch). In order to best take advantage of each of your students’ unique learning styles, learn to use clear metaphors, analogies, charts, graphs, and hands on exercises.
Over time you will make improvements in this aspect of your guitar teaching. To learn to do this more quickly, study with someone who can train you to teach guitar more effectively.

Mistake #8: Not knowing that your guitar students don’t always need you to be a ‘teacher’.

The majority of guitar teachers out there only think of themselves as teachers. This means that they are locked in a mindset of merely explaining and reviewing materials with their students (much like a school teacher). Although you are thought of by prospective students as a guitar teacher, you will need to do more than simply ‘teach’ your students.

To become a great guitar teacher, you will need to learn what the difference is between ‘teaching’ your guitar students and ‘training’ your guitar students. The reality is that the majority of people will need to be trained about as much or more than they need to be taught. What you need to do is invest more time into helping your guitar students PLAY things on guitar, rather than just teaching them new ideas or going over old ideas with review. Take your students through this one step at a time. Don’t let them know the order of the steps, or that you are even taking them through these steps. At some point they will probably tell you that they ‘already understand’ what you are teaching. However, most of the people who say this do not understand! So by teaching guitar in this manner you will save a lot of time for you and your students by training them properly from the beginning. Do this at all times.

Mistake #9: Not keeping track of how long people remain as your guitar students.
One of the biggest misunderstandings that guitar teachers have is thinking that the number of guitar students they have relates to how successful they are in their guitar teaching business. In reality, this is not a very good way to gauge your success as a guitar teacher. Which teacher do you think is having more success: A guitar teacher who has merely taught 50 students in one year (but currently only teaches 15), or a guitar teacher who has taught 50 students in a year (and has kept all 50)? After making this comparison, it should be clear that focusing to retain your guitar students is a crucial part to the success of your guitar teaching business. If you can only get your students to come back to take lessons for a couple of months at a time, you have a lot of work to do. In order to become highly successful as a guitar teacher you should have students staying with you for years at a time.
That being said, you will not keep every single guitar student for years at a time. This is because different students may have different goals that can be reached in a shorter amount of time. You must always work hard to help your students achieve their goals as quickly, and effectively as possible. However, some goals may be more vague and require more time for the student to find out what he or she really wants. In order to keep more of your students for a longer period of time, seek to understand the reasons why past students have stopped taking lessons with you. Additionally, ask your current long time guitar students why they enjoy taking lessons with you. Monitor these statistics on a consistent basis so that you can continually improve your guitar teaching methods.

Mistake #10: Not knowing a good way to judge how well you are doing as a guitar teacher.

Many new guitar teachers are unsure of whether or not they are actually any good at teaching guitar. These people typically do not have any dependable way of measuring their teaching skills or success. Here are the 3 main causes of this:

  1. Less experienced guitar teachers often make comparisons with themselves to other local guitar teachers (who likely aren’t very successful either). They are judging their own skills as a teacher based on the merely mediocre teaching of the other guitar instructors who surround them.
  2. Teaching guitar generally is not up to par with other music instruction. Now you understand why classical piano teachers will normally retain students for years, while many guitar instructors struggle to keep students for more than a few months.

Most guitar teachers never actually make the effort to find training to improve their guitar teaching skills. In general, they will ask other (amateur) teachers what to do, or will simply attempt to emulate the actions of others. If these things do not work, they will resort to giving guitar lessons to their students in a ‘hit or miss’ manner. Unfortunately, this tends to make guitar lessons like an ‘experiment’ for your guitar students. There are always times when you will be learning from your mistakes; however it is best to understand how to avoid them from the beginning.
Mistake #11: Not taking full responsibility for the quality of your guitar instruction.
When you teach guitar, your students are paying you with their money, time, and effort. It is important to work as hard as you can to reward them with the best guitar instruction possible. Fact is, most guitar teachers DO NOT put much effort at all to improve the quality of their guitar lessons, or work to help their guitar students achieve their goals faster. These types of teachers merely teach guitar to ‘get by’. Why should a guitar student ever spend their hard earned money for guitar lessons when their teacher isn’t actively working to bring them the best instruction possible? You don’t have to be an incredible guitar teacher before you ever get started teaching (of course); however, if you want to be able to provide the very best guitar teaching for your students, you will benefit immensely by getting trained, coached, and mentored to become the best guitar teacher you can be.

All of the most successful guitar teachers started off in the spot you are in right now. The vast majority of these teachers made it by finding a mentor who could show them what it takes to overcome any obstacles in their way. These types of teachers are the ones who take consistent action to help their students achieve their goals. These teachers mostly have filled schedules (and waiting lists) full of guitar students, a big name in their city, and live a great life doing what they love every day… You have the EXACT same potential to make choices that will greatly benefit you in your business! Get started right now on building your guitar teaching success with this free mini course that will help you to greatly improve your guitar teaching.


About The Author: Tom Hess is a professional electric guitar teacher and composer. He also mentors guitar teachers from around the world in his guitar teacher training program. Visit to get free guitar teaching tips and read more articles for guitar teachers.

How To Make A Good Living As A Guitar Teacher

By Tom Hess

Chances are, you are not currently earning as much money as you would like to in your guitar teaching business. Fact is, most guitar teachers do ‘not’ make a good living and will never fully understand what they are doing wrong. Here is the unfortunate reality for the vast majority of guitar teachers:

1. The majority of guitar teachers do not make enough money to make ends meet.

2. Most of these same guitar teachers have never helped any students to become GREAT guitar players.

3. Guitar teachers frequently report working excessive hours while making little pay.

On the other hand, there exists a small percentage of highly successful guitar teachers who:

1. Make a minimum of 6 figures each year in their guitar teaching businesses.

2. Quickly turn their guitar students from mediocre players to highly skilled players.

3. Are able to add extra value for their students because they have extra time, energy and resources to put into their guitar instruction.

4. Generally work no more than part time hours every week.

At first, most people are shocked to hear about the above points. As someone who has trained countless people to develop successful guitar teaching businesses (by joining the elite top 1% club), I know all of these things to be true.

Additionally, the majority of guitar teachers out there do not fail because they are necessarily ‘bad’ at teaching guitar. Instead, they fail because they believe in the ‘common knowledge’ they have heard being perpetuated by other unsuccessful guitar teachers. These approaches seem rational at first glance, but in fact are highly damaging for your guitar teaching business in many ways.

Here are the top 7 conventional guitar teaching approaches that lead to failure:

1. Lowering Your Lesson Rates In Order To Compete With Other Guitar Teachers

While giving lessons in a town or city with heavy competition from other guitar teachers, it is natural to think that lowering your lesson rates will give more potential students a chance to work with you. If you are considering this approach, chances are you think that giving cheaper lessons will make you stand out from the more ‘expensive’ guitar teachers in your area. You may have even heard students complain about not wanting to spend a lot of money on guitar lessons and allowed this to affect your judgment. However, in the end this approach will backfire on you. Here’s why:

  • The fact that you charge very cheap rates for lessons tells potential students that you are either new to teaching guitar or are not very good at it. In fact, most students assume that teachers with higher priced lessons charge more because they can get better results. So by charging a small amount for your lessons, you are really only driving away serious students (who are ready to spend money). The more serious a student is, the less likely they are to even think about taking lessons with you when you are the cheapest guitar teacher in town.
  • When you charge cheap rates for lessons from the beginning, this tells potential students that the only difference from one guitar teacher to the next is the ‘price’ (which is totally untrue, although many students think this). With this in mind, it will be very difficult for you to raise your teaching rates in the future. You will be locked into the false perception you created in the mind of your students and will never be able to make as much money as you want.
  • The guitar students you work with will take lessons much less seriously, practice much less and get few results in their guitar playing. Remember, when someone pays very little for something, they value it much less than if they had to pay a lot for it. Charge more for your lessons rather than less and your students will take everything more seriously and get more out of the time they spend with you.

All of these issues will hold you back from ever reaching significant success as a guitar teacher.

So how can you solve this issue and how much SHOULD you charge for guitar lessons? Always make sure that you charge a ‘minimum’ of the average price in your local area (even if you are just getting started). Next, work to make your guitar lessons as valuable as possible in order to transform your students into great guitar players very quickly. Once you can do this, you gain the leverage to raise your rates and have a justified reason for doing so. Learn how to become the most successful guitar instructor in your city or town with the best guitar teacher training.

2. ‘Only’ Focusing On Attracting New Guitar Students

When you first begin teaching guitar, you obviously need to find new students. With this in mind, it is easy for most guitar teachers to ‘only’ think about attracting new students while ignoring all other aspects of their guitar teaching business. This approach will present you with these problems:

  •  Since you do not have a solid strategy for ‘keeping’ your students, you must invest countless hours into your promotional efforts due to the fact that the new students you gain only replace the ones you lost.
  • You will only make slow progress at best to build your guitar teaching business (even if you get more new students than you lose current ones). However, you can achieve much faster growth by working in several different areas simultaneously, such as: student retention, student referrals and converting potential students into actual students.

Following this approach WILL prevent you from making a lot of money through guitar teaching (especially during difficult economic times)

Fortunately, you can avoid these problems by making an effort to consistently improve in ALL areas of your guitar teaching business. By doing this, your business will improve exponentially and the amount of effort needed for major growth with decrease over time.

3. Always Showing Your Guitar Students Anything They Want To Learn

Many guitar teachers are in the habit of asking their students what they want to learn each time they take lessons. They believe that it is the responsibility of the student to tell the teacher what they need to work on. This is TOTALLY untrue. Consider this: if your guitar students actually knew what they needed to work on, wouldn’t they have already done it themselves and reached their guitar playing goals? The truth is that most guitar students are clueless about what they ‘should’ be working on to get better (this is why they came to you in the first place). It is not the student’s responsibility to figure this out, it is yours. You must always learn the student’s ‘long term goals’ up front and design an effective strategy to help them reach these goals. Additionally, you need to help your guitar students understand specifically WHY the things you teach them are both what they ‘need’ and ‘want’ to learn.

Your guitar students will never become great players if you allow them to tell you what to teach them. At most, they will be able to play a few isolated ideas but will never be able to put it all together to become a great musician. In most cases, if you teach guitar using this approach, you will quickly lose your students when they do not start seeing big results.

To make matters worse, you will be damaging your reputation when you do not get the results that your students want. This will make it very hard to sustain a successful guitar teaching business in your local area.

4. Making Changes To Your Guitar Teaching Business Based Only On What Other Local Teachers Are Doing

As a new guitar teacher, you will naturally be inclined to look at what your competitors are doing and try to use this information to build your guitar teaching business. However, as you read earlier in this article, the overwhelming majority of guitar teachers are unsuccessful. With this in mind, it makes no sense for you to try to copy the same things they are doing.

Rather than doing this, you should find a tight group of successful guitar teachers who are willing to share their insights with you. Of course, you will not be able to find such a group in your local area (obviously your competitors are not going to share their ideas with you). To find a network of successful guitar teachers who are willing to discuss their secrets with you, you will need to contact teachers who are ‘not’ living in the same area as you.

Many guitar teachers take part in my guitar teacher coaching program where they gain the advantage of being in a powerful network full of successful, high-earning music instructors who are ready and willing to share their insights.

5. Not Being Able To Say ‘No’ To Your Students

One of the biggest downfalls for most guitar teachers is that they do not enforce their teaching policies because they are afraid that it will cause them to lose students. In reality, failing to create and enforce a strong policy will eventually cause your guitar teaching business to fail. Here’s why:

A. This attracts guitar students who are not serious about learning. This means you will have to deal with students who are consistently late, do not pay on time and do not practice like they are supposed to.

B. Due to the above point, you will use all of your energy on ‘non-serious’ students and have little left to spare for the SERIOUS students who really do want to learn, pay on time and practice every day.

C. You will spend much less time teaching your students to become great musicians and much more time accommodating them with makeup lessons and chasing down late payments. This will lead your students to make very little progress while you make a smaller income and quickly become tired of working as a guitar teacher.

So what is a solution to this problem? Understand that ‘you’ know much more about what your students need to learn (regarding music/guitar) than they do. Develop your teaching policy based around this. Then make sure that your students understand your expectations and why following your policy is in their best interest. If they try to get you to change your policy, refuse to teach them (in other words… ‘fire’ them as students).

6. Becoming A Guitar Teacher At A Music Store

It is a very common belief among new guitar teachers that working at a music store is the best choice for making a good living because:

A. They do not have to find students by themselves. The music store does all the work.

B. They feel it is more professional to work from a music store instead of working out of their own home.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is why teaching guitar from a music store will cause you to fail:

  • It is simply not true that music stores will do all of the promotional work for you. In reality, they do not have a strong incentive to get students specifically for ‘you’. The truth is, no matter if you are working from a music store or on your own, you must learn how to effectively attract new guitar students on your own.
  • Additionally, you make less money when you work from a music store because you must give a large percentage of your earnings to the owner. This makes it more challenging to earn a good living as a guitar teacher.
  • To make things worse, music stores generally are very strict about the teaching formats they allow. In many cases, you are limited to teaching only private 1 on 1 lessons and not allowed to help your guitar students progress faster using other formats. This makes it harder to get big results for your students.
  • Since you can’t get great results for your students, it will be very difficult to develop the positive reputation needed to grow your guitar teaching business to the next level.

The most successful and highest earning guitar teachers never teach out of music stores. Instead, they run their own business and hire other guitar teachers to work for them. If you want to make a great living teaching guitar, you must treat it like a business and learn all you can in order to improve every aspect of it.

7. Promoting Yourself As A ‘General’ Guitar Teacher

Another misconception that most guitar teachers have is that you should try to reach as many students as possible through a highly generalized marketing approach. These teachers promote themselves by saying they teach in ‘any’ style.

The truth is, promoting yourself in this manner will mostly attract students who aren’t very serious about guitar lessons and/or don’t know what they want to play on guitar. These types of students are likely to not take practice seriously, only take lessons for a short period of time and will not be very cooperative with your lesson policies.

On the other hand, the greatest guitar students (who you want to work with) are always looking for a teacher who specializes in a specific niche because they know what they want to play and invest the time to look for someone who can help them play it.

When you gain a schedule full of students who aren’t very serious about learning guitar, you WILL become frustrated from endless cancelled lessons, late payments and other issues. Although these problems are only partially related to the topic of becoming a ‘general’ guitar teacher, they are fully caused by it and will hold you back from earning a living as a successful guitar teacher.

That being said, don’t make the mistake of choosing such a narrow niche that there are no guitar students who are interested in the style you teach. The main point is you will be much more successful if you market your guitar lessons as ‘rock’ guitar lessons (or blues, jazz, etc.) than if you simply market yourself as a general guitar teacher.

Overall, understand that making a good living as a guitar teacher is not the same as simply having a lot of students. Not only must you fill up your teaching schedule, but you must fill it up with the ‘right’ students. These are the students who will quickly make progress, stay with you for many years and help you develop a positive reputation as the best teacher in your location.

Although I have not discussed ‘all’ of the things that cause guitar teachers to fail, after reading the points above you have gained a better understanding of why most commonly accepted guitar teaching approaches are actually ineffective and problematic.

The most reliable method for avoiding failure in your guitar teaching business is to find the best guitar teacher training that will solve any issues you are currently facing. When you are aware of the problems that keep you from reaching success, you will then be prepared to take all the necessary actions to grow your guitar teaching business and earn more income from it than you ever thought possible!


About The Author: Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains guitar teachers how to develop better guitar teaching methods. Go to to read more information on guitar teaching, get free guitar teaching skill assessments and powerful guitar teaching tips.

Taking Lessons For Guitar? Here’s 7 Unfortunate Truths About Your Guitar Teacher

by Tom Hess

REALITY: Most guitar instructors have never taken the time to develop their teaching skills. Unfortunately, this means you must become their student ‘experiment’ as they learn through trial and error. Before you take another lesson, here are the seven things that your guitar teacher has never told you (that you need to know!):

1. “The truth is, I was never trained in any way to effectively teach guitar.” It is true that many guitar teachers previously learned how to play guitar through lessons (or even by going to school to learn), however 99/100 guitar teachers have no actual training when it comes to ‘teaching’ guitar. Most guitar teachers began teaching by using an improvisational, trial by error approach that they still use to this day. Fortunately for you, these people are not the same people who clean your teeth, fix your car or handle your bank account. It astounds me how so many guitar students never think to ask their teachers whether or not they received any kind of training for what they do. This point alone explains why so many students who take lessons from mediocre guitar teachers never become great guitarists.

2. “I’m teaching you guitar with a generic approach that I use for everyone. It might work… it might not work. I don’t really know for sure.” One of the most common ways that guitar teachers hide their lack of knowledge and experience is to use a generalized approach for everyone they teach. Almost every time I start training a guitar teacher, they ask me: “Tom, do you know any kind of methods I can use in my guitar teaching so I don’t have to worry about what I should teach my students every week?” The truth is, with the exception of total ‘beginners’, your guitar teacher MUST use a specific teaching strategy for each of his students (including you) in order to help them effectively improve and reach their goals.

3. “With me, you are limited to playing at a beginner or intermediate level. By keeping you at this level, I can make more money.” There are few guitar teachers who can teach students beyond an intermediate level. In fact, many of them are afraid that you will get ‘too advanced’ and stop taking lessons because they can no longer offer valuable insight. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of teachers purposely hold back their guitar students, thinking that this is the only way to stay in business.

4. “I don’t know how to teach anything besides 1 on 1 lessons.”Contrary to what many teachers will tell you, learning guitar using a private one on one format is NOT the greatest system to learn with. The teachers who try to get you to believe this myth have no experience training A LOT of people to reach high levels of guitar playing. If they did, they would understand that you can get much better results by using a variety of other highly effective guitar learning formats.

5. “Whenever you come in for your guitar lesson, I simply make it up as I go along. I really have no plan whatsoever.” The vast majority of guitar teachers have zero training on how to teach guitar. On top of that, many of them have not even planned out what they are going to teach you from lesson to lesson. When was the last time you took a guitar lesson and felt like your guitar teacher had already prepared a specific plan to help you reach your musical goals? Chances are, you have never felt this way.

6. “Want to become an advanced guitar player? Well you can forget about it if you learn from me.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a guitar teacher has a lot of students, he has helped them become highly skilled players. In reality, most teachers don’t know how to teach guitar on an advanced level or get big results for their students. Fact is, you will never be able to become an advanced guitarist as long as you are taking lessons from someone who doesn’t know how to turn his students into great guitar players.

7. “You want to become a creative guitar player? Sorry, I cannot teach you that… you’re either naturally creative or you’re not creative at all.” Just about every guitar teacher out there (falsely) assumes that creativity cannot be taught. These teachers believe that being able to play creatively on guitar is a gift that you were born with. If you take lessons from a teacher like this, you will never become a creative guitar player because your guitar teacher simply doesn’t know how to help you develop this skill. These teachers will only show you WHAT to play but never how to use it in actual music. Fact is, creativity is a skill that can be developed just like any other skill on guitar.

Now that you have learned what happens ‘behind the scenes’ with (mediocre) guitar teachers, find out finding the best guitar teacher.

Finally, let me give you three big reasons why you should listen to what I have to say:

1. I teach thousands of correspondence guitar lessons to guitar players around the world every year.

2. I have loads of proof of helping my online guitar students become advanced guitarists.

3. I have created a specialized guitar teaching training program that has helped many guitar teachers become highly successful in their guitar teaching businesses (as seen in this Elite Guitar Teachers Inner Circle review).

About The Author:


Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player for the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He helps guitarists around the world with his personalized guitar lessons. Visit his electric guitar player lessons website and get free guitar advice, guitar practice help, and additional advice on how to become a better musician.