One of the driving principles behind Start Teaching Guitar is that we can all learn from each other. This “Guitar Teacher Interview” series is a chance for us to hear from other guitar teachers around the world and hopefully get some ideas for our own teaching businesses.
This interview is with Tim Woosley, a guitar teacher and Group Guitar Launch Formula owner from Lincoln, Nebraska in the USA. To find out more about Tim and his teaching business, visit his website at http://www.lincolnschoolofmusic.com/
Guitar Teacher Interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What’s your background?
I live in Lincoln, Nebraska. I have been teaching seriously since 2006. I have played guitar for over 28 years. I have done just about everything that has to do with the guitar, from playing bars in original bands, touring, releasing, and recording CD’s, to serving at my church and offering my playing to other local artists on their recordings.
Tell us about your guitar teaching business. Are you doing it part-time or full-time? How many students are you currently teaching?
I am teaching full time. I started teaching guitar (seriously) in 2006 out of my home. I got a small studio a year later. My students range in age from 7 to 70, but comprise mostly of beginner students. We have run group lessons in the past, but primarily teach private lessons at this time. We are trying to get a comprehensive group guitar course put together using Donnie’s Group Guitar Launch Formula and are excited to get that started.
What’s been the biggest key to success in your teaching business so far?
The biggest key to success is to get your face out there and let others know you are ready and able to help them with their playing. They won’t take lessons unless they know you and trust you.
What’s been your most effective way of attracting new students?
Our most effective way of attracting students has varied from year to year. When I first started in the bedroom, most of my students found me when I played guitar at my local church. A few years ago I had a great relationship with the managers at the local Guitar Center. Most recently, our students find us using Google, which is the most consistent source, in my opinion.
What’s been your most effective way of keeping your existing students from quitting?
I think having them fill out a goal sheet regularly (every three months or so) helps keep us both focused on what they are trying to accomplish on their instrument. We also offer two recitals a year. These are great because it gives them a place to show off their skills, it gives them something to work towards, and the parents always like to see where their money is going. Plus it’s always cool for any musician to say they’ve got a gig, right?
What helps to keep you motivated to continue when things don’t seem to be going as well as you would like?
“Q. How do you eat an elephant? A. One bite at a time.” It’s always important to remember that you can’t do everything all at once, so it helps to just be persistent, knowing that you can do a few things every day to help put the word out about your business.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to get started teaching guitar lessons for the first time?
If you’ve never taught before, try teaching a friend or relative who you feel comfortable with. Who knows, you might not like teaching guitar. You don’t have to be an awesome guitarist to be a great teacher.
Can you share one tip that has worked for you to help your students get better results on the guitar?
Sure. I would say that you should teach them how to practice the guitar. So many teachers just dump a ton of new information on students every week, but they don’t instruct them on how to use that information. Spend at least 1/3 of your lesson on teaching them how to practice. Have them picture themselves at home in their practice space. Now have them show you what they would do. It’s a great idea to map out their practice times for them. For example: 5 minutes of warm up, 10 minutes of learning a technical thing, 10 minutes of incorporating the same technique into a song, 5 minutes of exploring the guitar in a new way. Boom. 30 minute practice session done effectively.
Well, that’s it for today’s Guitar Teacher Interview. If you’d like to be considered for a future interview, enter your name and email address below to join the Start Teaching Guitar community. I send out occasional interview requests to this mailing list.
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