7 Reasons To Focus On Your Best Students

As a guitar teacher we like to think all guitar students are equal and we want to give every single student our best at all times right? Well actually no. Your time and energy are finite and extremely valuable resources. Resource allocation has been found to be one of, if not the most important role of a CEO. Two people with the same resources can get very different results. After all, look around you. We all have the same hours in a day yet, some people seem to get so much more done. The question then is where should you, the humble guitar teacher, allocate your resources for best results.

Aiming for the middle

Your students (both current and past) will range from harsh critics to raving fans and everything in between. The students in the middle are those who neither praise you or criticise you. They almost don’t even have an opinion of you. In their minds you are simply a guitar teacher. You have some information they are willing to pay for. If you disappeared tomorrow they might be slightly disappointed but they would hardly come looking for you. Those in the middle are really the least important yet they are the very students most guitar teachers allocate the majority of their resources (time and energy) to and thats exactly why they never grow their reputation.

Why focusing on the middle is a losing strategy

Those is the middle are the least likely to tell their friends about you. Even the harsh critics are out there talking about you. For you this means no reputation, literally. No one likes to be criticised especially publicly but as they say in show business, ‘The only thing worse than being hated is being ignored’. Critics are not what you are looking for of course but, if you had to choose between those in the middle with no opinion and critics, choose the critics. They are more likely to get people curious about you if nothing else. It also often means you probably have raving fans on the other end. Raving fans become raving fans because they see someone who is different and willing to take risks. After all they need something to rave about.

Raving fans no more 

A big reason for this middle focus is because this is at first, where the majority of their students are positioned. In other words its a financial decision. The average guitar teacher has less than 40 students who pay them not much more than a low paying job per hour once you factor in holidays, lesson preparation time etc. They can’t afford to lose students due to the financial strain. Their raving fans don’t need much attention to be happy whereas, the middle students and especially the critics need a lot of attention to keep them coming back. This means that the raving are actually getting less attention. This can, and usually does, result in raving fans losing their passion for you and your teaching.

7 Reasons To Focus On Your Best

  1. Your best students deserve the best of you. Money is not the only currency. In fact its probably the least valuable currency. Loyalty is a currency with arguably a much higher value than money. Give more value to those who pay more by factoring in loyalty as currency.
  2. Everyone will be happier. When you spread your resources evenly across your students it will be your best students who are most likely to say thank you. Their gratitude will in turn make you more appreciative. Being appreciated makes us happier. Giving more to those who appreciate you will make you happier which will make you a happier teacher. Everyone wins. Even the students who are not your raving fans.
  3. Your best students will benefit more. Your best are more likely to take advantage of the extra attention you give them. For example, you might spend time researching a song a student likes and then preparing an arrangement. They will take full advantage of your work by practicing more to extract more benefit.
  4. The return on investment (ROI) is higher. Your best students are usually raving fans. Raving fans by the very definition are raving about you. The more you do for them the more they will have to rave about which results in a bigger reputation. Those in the middle may appreciate what you do but, they are less likely to rave about you.
  5. The middle will shrink. Now this is interesting. When you focus on your best students those in the middle will gravitate in one of two directions. Either they will dropout or they will step up to join your best students. This happens naturally but takes some explaining which I’ll cover in another post.
  6. What you focus on multiplies.  I will often say ‘You get what you focus on’. A great example is when I see teachers spending half the lesson lecturing to students who have not practiced. They give these lengthy speeches putting a large amount of their energy into the wrong students. This leaves them with no energy or enthusiasm for their best students. They have misallocated their resources.
  7. More focus equals more inspired students. Putting more time into your best students means they will progress faster and become the stars of your school. They will in turn inspire the rest of your students to raise their standards.
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