Teaching Guitar

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
heyjc011
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Teaching Guitar

Post by heyjc011 » Mon May 20, 2019 12:56 pm

I am considering retiring soon and taking up teaching guitar as a hobby and a small source of income. Wondering if anyone could provide some advice on pitfalls, things to consider, etc. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
Best regards
Jeff

Rick Hutt
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Rick Hutt » Mon May 20, 2019 2:09 pm

Great idea. I suspect you will get many suggestions. Here is one of mine right off the top of my head. Keep a log of each student's progress (what today's lesson was like, what progress was made from the last lesson, what issue the student is having, what was good about today's lessen, what obvious progress is made) This way when the student comes for the next lesson you are connected to her last lesson productively.

Have fun. And let your enthusiasm rub off on your students
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CathyCate
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by CathyCate » Mon May 20, 2019 3:39 pm

Hello Jeff,

Congratulations on your soon-to-be retirement!
I am sure it is well-earned and wish you all the best.

First, do no harm. :D
Make certain you have the ability to help each student build a solid foundation.
I have been very fortunate to have had very good music teachers. Over the years, each new teacher has added to my progress and development as a musician without spending valuable time making me start anew to reform poor technique, practice habits etc.The last thing any teacher should be doing is passing on bad habits.

If you are doing it right, teaching can be pretty hard work! I have tried doing it myself: group and private guitar lessons. I routinely revert to just performing as a source of supplemental retirement income. I find it so much easier to "go solo" than having to be responsible for the nurture, care and feeding of budding musicians. There is probably a teaching gene that I did not inherit.

Perhaps take a few lessons from an experienced guitar teacher with a view toward fine tuning your own pedogogical principles?

Perhaps volunteer your services at a local organization as a prelude to opening your teaching studio? This could be a great way to select, tryout and develop new teaching materials/methods. It could provide you with valuable local contacts as well, if necessary.

Keep performing as much as possible! The most frequent inquiry at many a gig is, "Do you give lessons?"

I will be watching this thread with much interest as the true guitar teachers weigh in. :wink:
Cathy
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Peter Frary
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Peter Frary » Mon May 20, 2019 5:21 pm

Hook up with a local studio or music store so you have a place to teach and a flow of walk-ins. When I started out, I taught students in my living room and found it less than ideal to have wacky strangers in my home, especially when things started to go missing.
I play a Tiny Tenor 6 so I look taller on stage!

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Mollbarre
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Mollbarre » Mon May 20, 2019 6:36 pm

...this is a very finnicky suggestion, but as a parent AND as a student...

If you are teaching in your home, it is very nice to have an entry/place for students to come in, maybe sit down while waiting (or dealing with shoes), hang up a jacket, move boots/shoes out of the way...and have access to a washroom...

I realize having people in your home can be intrusive...but it's sometimes hard (especially if one lives a ways away, or if traffic is bad, etc.) to make it to a lesson at 'just' the right time. So if the student arrives early - where do they go? With the kids I waited in the car when I could, but I couldn't always manage that. And as and adult, I spend a lot of time waiting in the car for my lesson time as well...but sometimes I can't quite manage that either...(like when it was -50 C, and my car had no heat)...

Plus - sometimes the parent of a child taking a lesson, has to bring siblings along (especially young ones)...

AND, if you have more than one student, coming in after another - they will overlap - so a mess of footwear, jackets, bumping into each other (with guitar cases and music bags)...all happen...
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PeteJ
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by PeteJ » Tue May 21, 2019 9:45 am

CathyCate wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 3:39 pm

First, do no harm. :D
Definitely the first rule.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 am

If I were a student (or a parent of one), I'd be curious as to your qualifications to teach (presumably) classical guitar. I'd want to know how and where you learned to play, and thus if you had the appropriate technique and knowledge to pass it along to others.

People devote their lives to teaching classical guitar and take it very seriously, thus I always find it a bit presumptuous when someone suggests doing it as a hobby to pass the time and make a few bucks, as if there's nothing to it (especially for classical instruments and music).

If you are well-qualified, then please forgive my reservations, but I know nothing about you.

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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu May 23, 2019 1:09 am

Try to organize a guitar orchestra at a community center, quantity of students and members over quality. Get as many people as possible to participate in the guitar as a social- culture building class. The last thing we really need are more conservatory aimed students, anyone who is going to do that route is going to do it.

We need more ensembles of guitars for amateurs to get everyone involved to understand and support the guitar. Talk to the people who are teaching guitarists and non guitarists how to run ensembles.

At this point in time I think that is far more important than opening yet another private studio that isn’t visible to the public.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu May 23, 2019 5:26 am

I also wouldn’t worry about your qualifications as long as you know your own limits and strengths. Any kid who shows promise and is bound to advance will get kicked up to higher and higher level teachers until they get connected with a mentor.

I advocate making a big noise with lots of people who are beginners, and better players mixed in. Make it about community as much as perfection. The precious attitude toward the guitar is really lame.

I had a teacher in a group class when I was 14 and the class was open to all ages. The oldest guy was about 70.
We played simple pieces together that everyone could grasp quickly in terms of the guitar part so the teacher worked on what it is to play in a group.

He didn’t spend a lot of time on technique unless it was hindering the ensemble situation. And I took side lessons from him to straighten some things out.

He played examples himself of great difficult music, and we listened to recordings. He brought guests, some of them were really famous. He arranged Beethoven and the Beatles into simple four part voice scores and we learned all the parts and how they work in the music.

Later through my life I attended lots of other workshops that were groups. I think it’s more important to get out there and make the guitar a publicly accessible activity than to try to make individual players. The groups all funnel private students to the person who runs them but the public benefits too. We conceptualize the guitar as a precious ‘me alone’ thing which I suppose is fine, but as we move through music, especially amateurs, here is very little motivation to play together. The advantage of working as an ensemble is that people learn from each other faster. And for older amateur players is rich and rewarding to craft something together. The tentative older students can get strength in numbers and overcome a lot of stumbles because they hold each other up.

I’d put less emphasis on being afraid of teaching mistakes than of making a community. The mistakes can be addressed, communicating is more important.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Peter Frary
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Peter Frary » Thu May 23, 2019 5:57 pm

You're the one in a million. I studio taught for decades and it was extremely rare for anybody to ask about qualifications let alone technique approach. They always ask about price, price and price. Did I mention price? When they get the quote, I usually heard something like "why do you charge $50 hourly when Joe Blow down the street is only $10?" They really don't care if you have graduate degrees in music, published methods or decades of experience.
Lovemyguitar wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 am
If I were a student (or a parent of one), I'd be curious as to your qualifications to teach (presumably) classical guitar. I'd want to know how and where you learned to play, and thus if you had the appropriate technique and knowledge to pass it along to others.

People devote their lives to teaching classical guitar and take it very seriously, thus I always find it a bit presumptuous when someone suggests doing it as a hobby to pass the time and make a few bucks, as if there's nothing to it (especially for classical instruments and music).

If you are well-qualified, then please forgive my reservations, but I know nothing about you.
I play a Tiny Tenor 6 so I look taller on stage!

Realstaff

Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Realstaff » Thu May 23, 2019 6:20 pm

Personally I think you should have some qualifications to justify charging people for lessons.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu May 23, 2019 6:52 pm

People seldom ask if you’re qualified, but they will evaluate to themselves whether the price you give is commensurate with the ability level you show. Many guitarists who don’t teach get asked if they teache if they are seen playing in public.

Many guitarists are qualified to teach beginners to advanced beginners and higher, but not everyone will be qualified to teach a guitar concerto, right? It’s just common courtesy and sense that a teacher hands off a student who reaches the threshold of that teachers ability to teach the student.

You can learn by trading stuff with your friends, and teachers who charge simply need to be honest about when its time to push a student out and up to a more advanced teacher.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Lovemyguitar » Thu May 23, 2019 10:57 pm

Peter Frary wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 5:57 pm
Lovemyguitar wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 am
If I were a student (or a parent of one), I'd be curious as to your qualifications to teach ...
You're the one in a million. I studio taught for decades and it was extremely rare for anybody to ask about qualifications let alone technique approach. They always ask about price, price and price. Did I mention price?...
Well, as usual, I am not like most other people. Thank goodness for that, because I wouldn't want it any other way!

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muirtan
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by muirtan » Fri May 24, 2019 9:05 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 10:57 pm
Peter Frary wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 5:57 pm
Lovemyguitar wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 am
If I were a student (or a parent of one), I'd be curious as to your qualifications to teach ...
You're the one in a million. I studio taught for decades and it was extremely rare for anybody to ask about qualifications let alone technique approach. They always ask about price, price and price. Did I mention price?...
Well, as usual, I am not like most other people. Thank goodness for that, because I wouldn't want it any other way!
I agree with you lovemyguitar. Cheap and good value are different, sadly few seem to appreciate the difference.
I tend to do my research on teachers qualifications before I contact them so wouldn't necessarily have to ask them. It's not always possible but I can usually tell within a couple of minutes of talking to them what they are like.

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Peter Frary
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Re: Teaching Guitar

Post by Peter Frary » Fri May 24, 2019 9:43 am

Stephen Faulk wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 6:52 pm
People seldom ask if you’re qualified, but they will evaluate to themselves whether the price you give is commensurate with the ability level you show.
Sure, in some cases this is true. However, I must say several of the best teachers I had could barely play a lick—were not even guitarists—but were amazing coaches and I learned so much from them. And, conversely, all the terrible teachers I had were wonderful players.

As far as "levels" of teaching go, I work a lot harder when teaching beginners as you can assume nothing and must demonstrate and explain every little detail.An have endless patience and be immune to bad sounds. On the other hand, coaching a performance major through their senior recital is a piece of cake in comparison, and usually enjoyable to boot. Beginners should be charged more!
I play a Tiny Tenor 6 so I look taller on stage!

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