How to Become a Guitar Teacher

This guitar career guide has been assembled by to help you understand how one can become a professional guitar teacher!

Benefits of Teaching Guitar Lessons:

  • Teaching guitar lessons out of your home gives you the flexibility of running your own business with minimal “overhead” since you are utilizing space that you already own as part of your residence.

  • If you have a passion for music and the guitar and also have a passion for teaching and working with children, teenagers, and adults, then this career path capitalizes on those assets.

  • You can schedule your own time and work your students around your schedule. Unfortunately you probably won’t receive “vacation pay” (though some guitar teachers have ways of working around that), you will however have flexibility that very few employers can offer.

  • This is something you can continue to do well into your retirement years if you so choose.

  • Teaching guitar lessons usually requires only about 20-30 hours a week in order to make a “full-time” income. This of course depends upon your area and lifestyle. You might even think of it as being a fairly secure job since you don't have your livlihood depending upon one "employer." Instead each of your students employ you, and if one student drops, the paycheck may not suffer too badly and you can hopefully find a replacement quickly. (Usually much easier then finding a new job!)

How to Become a Guitar Teacher.

Education you should probably receive to become a guitar teacher:

  • Guitar Lessons. You should, at the very least, have several years of guitar lessons yourself taken from a reputable teacher. You will have to learn about notational concepts, developing a solid technique, music theory, improvisation, performing ("gigging") experience, and know something about music history.

  • College Coursework. Most guitar teachers should have at least some college-level training in order to be adequately prepared for most guitar students. This could include two years of basic theory classes, private guitar lessons with a collegiate teacher, music history classes, or music education classes.

  • Workshops or other professional training. By attending many workshops and/or master classes, guitar teachers can acquire insights for shaping their private guitar teaching in a positive way.

  • College Degrees. Many guitar teachers have some sort of college degree. Many have an undergraduate degree, and a few have a graduate degree. Most parents will ask if you have a college degree when they are looking for a guitar teacher so this can help. The training you receive at the college level will certainly help prepare you for almost any student that can come your way.

    • Bachelor of Music (BM). This is usually a 4-5 year college degree. It could have an emphasis in guitar performance or music education, or some schools offer a “Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in music.” Most “education” degrees are geared more towards teaching in the public schools. The most common undergraduate degrees includes a minimum of two years of music analysis (theory) classes, one year of music history, several years of private lessons, concerts/recitals and other public performances.

Gaining Experience to Become a Guitar Teacher:

  • Initial guitar teaching experience will probably come from teaching guitar lessons to someone while you are still in training (in school or not quite ready to teach guitar lessons full-time). This will probably be a personal acquaintance that happens to know you play the guitar. These initial exposures to teaching are very important. The wider variety of students you can teach, the better. Younger students (ages 6-8) can be more difficult to teach than teenagers since you have to communicate complex subject matter on a different level - of course teenagers have their own set of unique challenges. Even teaching adults can prove difficult - for example, many adults often think that learning to play the guitar should be easy (since they are an adult), and if they discover otherwise, they may become very frustrated early on...

  • Establishing yourself. Once you are ready to really start building your studio (after you have finished a majority of your education), you will need to find a way to make yourself known to those looking for a guitar teacher. This can often make or break your career. “Word of mouth” is traditionally the best way to get new guitar students, but this method is unreliable and rarely generates many students in the beginning. Advertising through newspapers can produce some students. An online presence is becoming more and more necessary.

Making Your Studio Visible

Many guitar teachers have guaranteed their success by establishing a reputation for producing quality students in a public way. Many local communities have outdoor events that are a great opportunity for student bands to play in public. You can also play with your students.