Who inspired you to play guitar?

One question that seems to come a lot is whether guitar students who miss lessons should still pay. It seems every teacher has a slightly different take on the situation but in almost every case they are not happy about guitar students who do not pay for missed lessons. When you think about it why should it be the teacher’s responsibility when its their guitar student who has failed to attend the lesson. The following advice will in almost every case solve your problem. I know this because once I implemented what I am about to tell you I rarely had a problem with unpaid lessons.

Why don’t guitar teachers just have a clear policy?
Isn’t it easy to just make a firm rule that all lessons must be paid in advance and any missed lessons cannot be refunded or made up? Well in theory it is a good policy…for the teacher. Students are obviously not so keen on such a strict policy. Even when teachers have a policy like this in place students will still ask for make ups or refunds and many teacher feel that saying no might risk losing the student.

Why do teachers fear losing students?
Simply because it means a loss in income. For many guitar teachers money is an issue. If they lose even a few students they will struggle financially. This situation actually reveals the real problem. The teacher is too dependent on a their current students. This happens for two reasons. 1. Their marketing is poor or ineffective so they do not have a surplus of new students inquiring and/or 2. They are losing students at a faster rate than they are enrolling.

The solution
I once believed that students should pay for missed lessons because ‘my’ time was valuable until it occurred to me that students who were missing lessons obviously didn’t value the lessons enough to want to be there rail, hail or shine. I remember I couldn’t wait to get to my guitar lessons each week. This led me to accepting that if students were missing lessons I was missing something in my teaching. I began to look closer at how I was teaching and what I could do to ensure students were turning up each week. I found a close parallel between practice and attendance. Those students who practiced consistently also attended lessons every week. Once I understood this I explored the reasons behind why they were not practicing which led me to ensuring consistent practice among my students and consistency with their lessons.

If your students are missing lessons forget about the money. The problem is connected to their practice. Find out why they are not practicing and fixed the problem and in almost every case lesson attendance will no longer be an issue.

Why are most guitar teachers poor?

The simple answer is they lack the necessary business skills. This is understandable because guitar players rarely have any interest in business. Songs like AC/DC’s ‘Its a long way to the top’ tell the story of typical musicians in business. Its a long way to the top because they quite simply don’t know the way to the top. They make all the classic mistakes on their way to the top.

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