Don't Make These 3 Critical Guitar Teachers MistakesApr 08, 2023
Musicians often have a stigma surrounding them in regard to being successful. From a financial perspective, this is often true as the mere mention of the word musician conjures up the mental image of a starving artist who has to struggle for their art. On the other hand, we get to do what we love and live very rewarding lives because of the path we've chosen, after all, who wouldn't want to play the guitar all day?
Unfortunately, many musicians don't get to live their ideal lives and are often only settling for music part-time on the side. Gigging on evenings after working a 40-hour week or completing a tour over several consecutive weekends because you couldn't get time off of work during the week is hardly the definition of success. Even some of the musicians who appear to have "made it" with wonderful careers and celebrity status are doing it tough financially and are struggling just as much if not more as the common musician.
We as musicians put 10,000 hours into becoming amazing and accomplished at our instruments and musical craft but rarely invest time into building important skills in other areas of life. If we did take some time to work on these areas we could dramatically alter our career trajectory and be able to shape our lives for the better. In this article, I want to explore three critical mistakes that I see musicians and guitar teachers making over and over again. If you can fix these problems you're life will improve dramatically.
#1 Having A Negative Attitude Towards Money
When I was growing up I had the attitude "if I can make enough money to get by so I can keep playing guitar for the rest of my life, I'll be happy". Looking back this was a terrible attitude to have.
Money is not the root of all evil as many of us are led to believe. Rather, it is simply a resource that we can use to trade for time or buy opportunities. The more money we have the more opportunities we can take advantage of. This includes buying good gear, getting better quality recording facilities and personnel for our records, paying for advertising and promotional companies, or even taking a DIY approach to our musical career and skipping the traditional record label pathway altogether.
Too many musicians miss out on opportunities because they don't know how money works and lose out on investing in their musical careers while the people who have the money can take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. This might not be a fair system, but it is how the world works, and if everyone had a better financial education they could better manage their money from a younger age so that their money works for them and starts creating opportunities.
If you've got a bad attitude towards money then you're going to go through life never having enough of it. Increase your financial IQ through business and financial books and watch your bank balance and quality of life go up simultaneously.
#2 Not Being Organised
Musicians are notorious for being unorganised and unreliable so the few who are organised and reliable end up getting all the opportunities.
Rather than winge, complain or throw your hands in the air every time someone else gets an opportunity, look into what they are doing to get the opportunities that you aren't and start doing them. It might be having a website, paying for advertising, showing up early every time or investing in networking and relationships.
Whatever it is, I guarantee it has something to do with them being organised. If you can get organised and act like a professional it won't be long before you earn yourself a reputation as someone who is reliable and get a flood of offers and opportunities. The best thing is, it only takes a little bit of effort to really stand out in this area!
#3 Working A Day Job
When I told my parents that I wanted to be a musician they were very supportive of my decision but always said to go to university and get a job so that if the music doesn't work out I have something to fall back on. Most of you reading this would have heard something similar from parents or teachers growing up and while they meant well, it is actually terrible advice.
You only have so many hours and mental energy that you can allocate to various tasks in a given day. Any time and effort spent working a day job directly takes away from what you can put into your musical ventures. Every step in the direction of your day job is one step further away you get from the hopes and dreams you have placed in your musical career.
While you're spending 40 hours a week in your job and 10 hours a week travelling to and from work and trying to allocate the few hours of spare time you do have towards your music while in a mentally fatigued state, there are full-time musicians who get to put 40+ hours a week into nothing but their instrument, creativity, music career and networks. They will simply outwork you, outperform you, always be at the right place at the right time ahead of you and take all the opportunities while you're stuck at a desk working for someone else.
Worst of all, if you do manage to get some success in the small amount of time you have for music how bad are you going to feel when your boss tells you that you can't take time off to open that tour for one of your favourite artists when your opportunity finally comes...how bad are you going to feel telling your wife that you're going to have to decide between keeping the job and losing the tour and quitting your job and not being able to provide for the family anymore. How bad are you going to feel for yourself when the opportunity you've worked for your whole life just slips through your fingers because you weren't prepared?
Don't Go Through Life With Your Best Music Still Inside You
This is why you need to get out of a day job that restricts your time, money and freedom and instead work on building a guitar teaching business that allows you to earn a massive income that meets all your financial requirements working part-time hours so you can invest the best part of your day into your music career and say YES to the big opportunities as they come.
It might seem really far away right now, but taking small steps to get organised, change your mindset and attitude towards money, as well as stepping out of your current job into working for yourself and creating a life on your terms will start you down the path of true freedom.
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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