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 Scott Jensen, from Minneapolis, MN in the USA. To find out more about Scott and his teaching business, visit his website at sixstringmadness.com.
Guitar Teacher Interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What’s your background?
I live in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. I took lessons as a teenager for a couple of years. After a 15-year hiatus, I started playing again. Wanting to share and help others begin their guitar journey, I started teaching about a year ago and now have a roster of approximately 25 students.
Tell us about your guitar teaching business. Are you doing it part-time or full-time? How many students are you currently teaching?
I have been teaching guitar for approximately a year with a current roster of about 25 students. I teach part-time in the evenings after working a corporate job during the day. My students range in age from 5 to 50-something. I don’t have a specific program that I teach, as lessons are tailored for each student. It’s about their goals and what they want to achieve on the guitar. I don’t believe in using a method book for each student, although I have core concepts that are taught.
What’s been the biggest key to success in your teaching business so far?
I think the biggest key to the success in my teaching business has been my people skills. You have to connect with your students on a personal level so they are comfortable with you and trust you. Teaching them things on the guitar is a small part of the whole experience. The connection between student and teacher is what keeps both parties motivated and the student will learn so much more.
What’s been your most effective way of attracting new students?
I use several marketing strategies that include Craigslist, business listings on the major search engines and a quality website. The biggest and most effective form is word of mouth…giving my students solid results and having them market for me.
What’s been your most effective way of keeping your existing students from quitting?
For one, it’s teaching them the things they want to learn and helping them achieve their goals in their guitar journey. It’s also about the relationship you build with them. Developing a connection with the student allows them to enjoy their lessons more.
What helps to keep you motivated to continue when things don’t seem to be going as well as you would like?
It’s really about seeing my students develop and be excited about playing. I’m sure students don’t quite understand that a good guitar teacher really cares about the progress their students make and how proud they are when the student reaches a goal or milestone.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to get started teaching guitar lessons for the first time?
Start by listening to the Start Teaching Guitar podcast. Donnie has a lot of great info on how to get your business going. I listen to the podcasts over and over as refreshers. A lot of Donnie’s ideas, I had already implemented but it was good reinforcement to hear him suggest them.
Can you share one tip that has worked for you to help your students get better results on the guitar?
Pay attention to them. It’s the little cues and signals they give you. Most won’t tell you they are not happy about something or are struggling. Read their body language or tone. Adjust the lesson based on what you are seeing, not what they are telling you.
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!