Making money as a guitarist is very achievable as long as you have taken your guitar playing to an adequate level. Teaching guitar, performing live and getting booked for ‘sessions’ are probably the most lucrative areas. Even within these fields though there are many options to consider.
This first of two articles on how to make money as a guitarist, focuses on making money through guitar teaching.
Making money as a guitarist by teaching
Teaching your guitar skills and knowledge to others is an excellent way to make money with your guitar. It doesn’t require any huge upfront costs and there are a vast numbers of people out there that would love to learn to play the guitar even half as well as you do.
- Teach guitar from home
- Teach guitar at your students’ homes
- Teach guitar in schools and colleges
- Teach guitar via Skype.
Be A Guitar Teacher
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I’ve been a professional guitar teacher now for nearly 20 years and it’s a wonderful way to earn a living. You don’t need to be world-class and you don’t need a degree in music. You just need to be a decent player that’s honest about your abilities and that’s willing to invest some time doing what the course tells you.
The purpose of Be A Guitar Teacher is to save you the hundreds of hours of trial and error that most guitar players have to go through; just like I did, losing students every step of the way, whilst I figured out what works best. It will help you attract students and keep them coming back to you for more.
Be A Guitar Teacher is suitable you if you’re a guitar player that either wants a second income, like $5000 on the side, or if you want to build up a full-time teaching business.
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Teaching guitar from home
Teaching guitar lessons from home is a very desirable way to make money as a guitarist. In order to make a success of guitar teaching at home, it’s essential to develop your material and methods over time and market yourself appropriately.
If you do a good job of this, your reputation will grow and you can make a full-time career out of teaching guitar from home. Delivering guitar lessons from home means that you earn all the time you are working and have minimal costs.
There are no additional parking or travel costs and it means work ends when the guitar lesson ends. You don’t then have a long and tiring journey home.
The other benefit of teaching guitar from your own premises is that all your teaching material is at hand. So long as you’re organised, this can be a great advantage to you and your students.
Teaching guitar at the home of your students
Whilst it might seem a good idea to bring in more students by offering to go to them to teach guitar, think carefully.
Teaching at other people’s homes can have problems and costs that you may not initially see, as well as reducing the amount of money that you can earn in a given time period.
Imagine, for example, that you were to teach four students for one hour each, and spent 15 minutes travelling to each one. It would take 5 hours of your time to do so, plus your journey home.
One hour might not sound much, but what else could you be doing with that hour? You could be at home finding ways to promote your growing guitar teaching business. You could be finding other ways of making money as a guitarist. You could be practising. Or you could just be chilling out…
And what if you were late travelling to a lesson? Do you cut that lesson short (and lose money) or be late all the other lessons after that one? If you teach guitar from home, on the other hand, all your students come to you. So, it’s very hard for you to be late … though not impossible!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will be a much better guitar teacher in your own environment. You’ll be more relaxed and will have all your notes and teaching materials to hand.
It’s not practical to carry all your guitar teaching material with you to lessons, and you can’t know in advance exactly what you’re going to need for every student you visit – unless you’re completely inflexible. For this reason, teaching at your home where you’re able to dig out written material in a matter of seconds, is my recommended approach for private guitar tuition.
Teaching guitar in schools and colleges
This can be a little harder to get into than teaching guitar from home, which you could start doing immediately. Do a little research though. Be persistent and you’ll have a better chance of finding a way in.
Find out if schools already have a guitar teacher. Find out also if they run things on a one-to-one basis or if they prefer classes of small groups. Make contact with the current guitar teacher if it’s possible.
Let them know who you are and that you are available if and when they ever decide to leave.
You should also find out if the school operates their guitar tuition via a ‘music service’, as is often the case in the UK. This is the music education wing of the local government. If you have these departments in your area, make contact with them too.
Teaching guitar in schools is usually less lucrative than teaching from home. One big advantage though is that guitar lessons will usually take place during the day when it may be harder to teach students at home. Filling up your daytime hours with school teaching could therefore be a great way for a guitarist to make money when coupled with some home tuition as well.
Another advantage is that you won’t have to worry about maintaining a teaching space at home, which could be inconvenient if you live in a small room at present.
Teaching guitar lessons via Skype
- You will need to market yourself to the rest of the world and therefore take on the competition around the world, who are also trying make money teaching via Skype.
- This form of teaching is a little restrictive in that it’s harder to address issues such as technique which is more easily dealt with in person.
You will of course also need an excellent internet connection and a quiet space from which to do the lesson.
Teaching in a room where your baby sister is chasing the cat and the dog is chasing it’s own tail in the background, is obviously not ideal from a teaching point of view, even if your students find it entertaining!
These are the main ways to make money as a guitarist through teaching. You don’t have to commit to just one of these roles; you can try several. You can also combine your teaching with some of the possibilities I go over in How to make money as a guitarist – part 2.
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