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 Jake Hahn, a guitar teacher from Indianapolis, IN USA. To find out more about Jake and his teaching studio, visit his website at http://jakehahn.com/
Guitar Teacher Interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What’s your background?
I live in Indianapolis, IN. I started playing guitar at a very early age (8yrs) and never quit. I’ve studied with many teachers – some good – some bad – some great! I began teaching at 18yrs old.
Tell us about your guitar teaching business. Are you doing it part-time or full-time? How many students are you currently teaching?
I’ve been teaching full-time for 17 years now. I average around 50 to 55 students. I mainly run one-on-one sessions but have tried a few group classes in the past. Students range in age from 6 to 70 years old! They’re all so awesome! It’s such a pleasure to be chosen to be a part of their lives.
What’s been the biggest key to success in your teaching business so far?
My biggest success would have to be all the things I’ve learned about human interaction over the years. Business-wise I’d say my success has been building a reputation that people seek out and my student retention has been stellar.
What’s been your most effective way of attracting new students?
Guitar is so popular! Fortunately one of the studios I instruct from is connected to a guitar store so that always seems to bring in potential students. Most of the time just hanging out during breaks and getting to know people and answering their questions has helped pull in students.
What’s been your most effective way of keeping your existing students from quitting?
Treating them as artists. Treating them as human beings. Building trust in my abilities as an instructor. Helping them achieve. Helping them to SEE their achievements. Being cool with them! Low pressure – high results.
What helps to keep you motivated to continue when things don’t seem to be going as well as you would like?
Determination. Also – knowing that if I just implement the right strategies I can turn it all around. Always learning – always growing – always striving for more. There are no peaks without valleys…just life.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to get started teaching guitar lessons for the first time?
Have a plan. Don’t just wing it. You may be able to get by on that for awhile, but your retention will suffer and your new student signs ups will start to dwindle. Show that you care. If you don’t care, don’t teach. People are coming to you because they trust that you can guide them in the direction they desire – don’t cheat people out of that. Strive to be better. LEARN! READ! STUDY! KEEP AN OPEN MIND!
Can you share one tip that has worked for you to help your students get better results on the guitar?
Set manageable, achievable goals. Be able to zoom in and out of a situation. Work on the smallest details while continually guiding them through the framework. As a teacher it’s your job to build the strategy and then guide the student along what you’ve laid out. Show them how to navigate the territory!
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!