How To Get Your First Guitar StudentApr 08, 2023
Whether you're an aspiring guitarist considering formal music teaching as a career or a 9-5 worker looking to turn your guitar skills into a side hustle for a bit of extra income the first challenge you'll come across is finding your first student.
In this article (and the accompanying video) I'm going to tell you how I found my first student over 15 years ago and give you three super easy (and totally free) tactics that you can use to find your first student and get your guitar teaching career up and going.
For those of you who don't yet know me my name is Michael Gumley and I am making it my personal mission to help guitar teachers all around the world get more students, make more money and establish profitable guitar-teaching businesses.
So let's get into it!
I started playing the guitar when I was 15 years old and although I didn't officially start teaching until I was 18, I taught a handful of friends various riffs, chords and licks over the years.
Now I definitely wasn't a natural teacher (although I did really enjoy sharing my passion for guitar with others and loved the idea of transferring knowledge) but I share this to show you that I didn't wait to get a degree or qualification to start.
In fact, all you need to become a teacher is to know a little bit more than the person you're trying to teach and have an effective means of communicating that knowledge. You've probably even taught a few friends or family members various things at some point. If you've done this successfully, all you need to do is get people to pay you to do the same thing.
So how do you get your first student? You promote yourself.
You need to tell everyone you know that you're teaching guitar and then give them the opportunity to help you. This leads us to tip #1.
Tip #1 - Telling Your Family You Teach Guitar
The easiest way to find your first guitar student is by telling your family and relatives that you're looking for students.
Your family wants you to succeed, and are going to be the most helpful people in the early stages so don't be afraid to ask for help.
So next time you're at a family dinner, BBQ or get-together and Uncle Bob asks you how your guitar playing is going let him and the rest of the family know that you're getting into teaching and ask them if they know anyone who wants to learn.
It's totally free and is a great way to get started, especially if you have younger cousins, nieces or nephews who might want to learn. One of my very first students was my cousin Harrison whom my uncle signed up on Christmas Day as we were having lunch upon learning I was now going to be teaching guitar.
Tip #2 - Asking Your Personal Network "Who Do They Know"
In this day and age of social media, it's never been easier to leverage your personal network to find guitar students. You've probably already got a network of a few hundred people and all you need is the courage to ask them if they want to learn guitar or know anybody who does.
It's really quite simple!
Right now after reading this article, you're going to copy/paste this message to all of your Facebook friends or social media followers:
I've started teaching guitar and am currently looking for students.
Are you interested in learning guitar or know anybody who is looking for lessons?"
Copy the message and send it to every single connection you have. Yes, you read that right... EVERY SINGLE PERSON!
You'll probably have to do 30-50 people a day over the next week or two to get through everybody without getting a temporary spam block, but if you do it you're bound to get a few people interested who convert to paying students.
Tip #3 - Contacting Your Old School
The old adage "It's not what you know, it's who you know" is one of the most relevant statements in business and a very helpful tip when it comes to getting students.
Getting a job in a primary school (the Australian equivalent of elementary school) is not only a great place to start teaching but an easy way to get a large number of students in a short period of time.
If you reach out to your old primary school the connection of being a past student is hopefully enough to get your foot in the door should they need a music program or guitar teacher.
Once again all you need to do is call them, email them or drop by to inform them that you're teaching guitar and looking for students. Ask if they have a program or are looking to start one and try to get something happening if there is an opening.
And if there isn't just call all the other schools in the area until you find one that does.
The good news is that every single one of these tactics is 100% free to implement and will help you get your very first student (if not a handful of students) without having to spend a single dollar on advertising.
The hardest part is going to be overcoming whatever hangups you have about talking to people and/or asking for favours.
Just remember that the people you're asking are supposed to be your friends and family...and that friends help friends and everyone you speak to wants to help you succeed.
It's perfectly fine to be nervous, but don't let it hold you back, take action, contact everyone you know and before you know it you'll have at least one paying customer as your first student.
Implementation is the Key
Hopefully, you can use one, two or even all three of these tactics to get your first student or grow your existing teaching roster! Let me know in the comments below which ideas you implement and how they serve you.
As always if you're interested in how to get more guitar students make sure you get in touch with me via my website or by following @MichaelGumley on your favourite social media platform.
About The Author - Michael Gumley
Michael Gumley is a professional guitar teacher from Melbourne, Australia. He has over 15 years of experience teaching guitar and is the owner of Melbourne Guitar Academy and the author of Guitar Ninjas - a modern guitar curriculum for students of all ages.
Michael helps guitar teachers grow successful teaching businesses. He is an expert at helping his clients get students to use both online and offline marketing methods while making things super simple to understand and execute.
If you're interested in starting your own guitar teaching business, levelling up your teaching skills, or ramping up operations in your music school then reaching out to request a free strategy session will be one of the best decisions you ever make.
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