What’s Wrong With Your Guitar Teaching?

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 10.12.39 amSometimes as teachers/entrepreneurs we have trouble distinguishing between the business and our teaching. If we are not earning the money we are hoping for or students are not progressing as well as we would have hoped but its not all black and white. The problem is many guitar teachers are looking in the wrong places to solve their problems. A common complaint from guitar teachers is they are not getting enough new inquiries. They honestly believe that if there were more guitar student inquiries everything would be fine. But the real problem is not a lack of inquiries. In fact the lack of inquiries is generally just a symptom of the underlying problem.

Growth verses decline

Your guitar teaching business is really a system of growth or a system of decline. There are 3 stages of the system and each feed into the other either causing growth or decline.

  1. New inquiries. New inquiries are necessary for growth. The best source is referrals but you should also be actively marketing.
  2. Sales. Converting inquiries into students is a critical part of your business. The sales process does not end with enrolment. It takes around 3 months for a student to be fully sold on what you are offering.
  3. Teaching. If your teaching is ineffective or unconvincing you will lose students but worst of all they will not refer new students. Referrals can be via a verbal recommendation from a satisfied student or by way of demonstration from a successful student.

Isolating the real problem

For most of us (yes including myself) we like to believe our teaching is fantastic. This leads us to confirmation bias. In other words we look for evidence to back up our inflated self image. Example a student tells us we are great while we ignore the other five students who dropped out because they found our lessons uninspiring. Being brutally honest with ourselves is not easy but its necessary if you hope to succeed in business. A good way to do this is to look for the facts. Detach yourself from opinion. If you lost 80% of your students within their first year of lessons you have a serious problem. There is no need to beat yourself up over it. Just try to understand why. Ask a friend who you trust to tell you honestly to observe your lessons. Try videoing your lessons to see how you look. You’ll be amazed at what you uncover.

Problems and solutions

Here are the 3 areas broken down into problems and solutions. Analyse your performance in all 3 very closely to see what you can find.

  1. Inquiries. Problem: Not enough inquiries. Solutions: 1. Improve your teaching to increase referral rates. 2. Increase your marketing investment.
  2. Sales. Problem: Low conversion rate. Solutions: 1. Get sales training. 2. Role-play with someone. Just like guitar you will improve with practice.
  3. Teaching. Problem: Students leave early and don’t refer new students. Solutions: 1. Video your lessons and ask someone you trust to give you feedback. 2. Seek out teacher training. 3. Analyse every single dropout and keep asking yourself what you need to do differently. 4. Take risks. Be open to change and trying different approaches.

I hope that helps.


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