One of the driving principles behind Start Teaching Guitar is that we can all learn from each other. This “Guitar Teacher Interview” series is a chance for us to hear from other guitar teachers around the world and hopefully get some ideas for our own teaching businesses.
This interview is with Orestis Nalmpantis, a part-time guitar teacher from Thessaloniki, Greece. Click here to visit his Facebook page to get more info.
Guitar Teacher Interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What’s your background?
I live in Thessaloniki, Greece. I play mainly in 3 bands, a rock band called “Mavri Magioneza“, a thrash band called “Drunkard” and a death metal band called “Genna Apo Kwlo”. I’ve been teaching seriously for the last 5 years, and have had a total of 70-100 students so far. I also study as an Automatic Engineer in University and do a lot of session gigs and recording.
Tell us about your guitar teaching business. Are you doing it part-time or full-time? How many students are you currently teaching?
Well, like I said I’ve been taking guitar teaching seriously for the last 5 years. I mainly do it part-time, due to my studies, but I’m considering doing it full-time in the future. I currently teach something like 20-25 students. They are mostly young beginners who are into modern music, so they come to me because I am exactly the same thing: young and into modern music. This year I’ll be starting to teach group lessons in a music school, so I ll let you know about that when I do it. :)
What’s been the biggest key to success in your teaching business so far?
Well, I think mostly the fact that I am into modern music, and also that I like and listen to many styles of music. When I was learning guitar, I remember changing many guitar teachers due to the fact that even though they taught electric guitar, they tried to make you learn the stuff THEY like and not the stuff you like. And the stuff they like was mainly classical or jazz music. Don’t get me wrong, jazz and classical music are great, but I don’t think a 15-year-old boy wants to learn that kind of stuff. So, I try to be into modern music and I try to make every student happy.
Also I think that a big plus to my teaching is the fact that I don’t take teaching guitar THAT serious. You know, nowadays in Greece, every one of my students has to spend millions of hours on foreign language classes, sports, afterschool classes and regular school work. They just have 1 hour per week to do what they really like and relax, and this is guitar playing. I want the guitar teaching hour to be fun and relaxing for them. Music is not science, music should be fun and relaxing. That way I believe the student will love the instrument and become even better at it.
What’s been your most effective way of attracting new students?
I started out with putting ads into various music sites, but believe me (and I am sure you know) that the best way to attract new students is to be really good at what you do and your current students will do it for you. I think it’s the best way. I feel really good and honored when a student of mine says the best things about me to his friends. There is no better thing than mouth to mouth advertising.
What’s been your most effective way of keeping your existing students from quitting?
Well, I don’t really try not to lose students, man. I am just being myself, and it seems to work for now. Most of my students are with me a long time, so I think being yourself is the best thing to do. I try not to be hard on them, and get them to know the instrument through stuff they like so that way they don’t get bored.
What helps to keep you motivated to continue when things don’t seem to be going as well as you would like?
Thank God, everything goes as planned. I always wanted to be a teacher. Now that I combine being a teacher with my favorite thing on earth, which is the guitar, I can say that I need no more motivation. My main motivation is the love for what I do.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to get started teaching guitar lessons for the first time?
Well firstly, be cheap at price but not cheap at quality. Then use the internet, it’s the way to go nowadays. Try to make the lessons fun and learn to cooperate with each kind of student (young, old, good, bad). Be the best you can be.
Can you share one tip that has worked for you to help your students get better results on the guitar?
Learning songs. I learned guitar through Metallica, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Joe Satriani and much more. I didn’t need to work with a metronome for hundreds of hours because I was playing with records which were recorded with a metronome. When you learn a song, and play over it , you “compete” with the best. When I was studying Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, I wanted to sound like James Hetfield. So I was trying to emulate a great player with a great guitar, through an expensive tube amp and through one of the best productions ever, with a 15 watt practice amp and a starter guitar. So you spent a lot of extra time and effort, but its enjoyable and there is no way you’ll be a bad player after that!
Well, that’s it for today’s Guitar Teacher Interview. If you’d like to be considered for a future interview, enter your name and email address below to join the Start Teaching Guitar community. I send out occasional interview requests to this mailing list.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback please leave a reply below!