Guitar Teachers Thread

D

Dana

This is geared toward full-time, self employed music teachers. I apologize if this seems too personal. I taught full time for two years, and these were the issues I struggled with the most.

Do you have your own studio, or do sub contract from a store or studio?

Taxes (Do you do them yourself or hire an accountant?)

Do you have heath insurance? Are you paying for it, or getting it from a spouse?

Are you saving for retirement?

How did you manage the lean times? (School vacations, summer vacations)? Did you play gigs? Part time job?

How many days a week did you work? What hours did you work?
 

Mark Wein

Member
Messages
1,042
This is geared toward full-time, self employed music teachers. I apologize if this seems too personal. I taught full time for two years, and these were the issues I struggled with the most.
I wish I had had someone to ask instead of doing it all wrong the first time...

Do you have your own studio, or do sub contract from a store or studio?
I own my own studio


Taxes (Do you do them yourself or hire an accountant?)
Hell yes I hire an accountant. The money spent usually returns itself ten fold in deductions...

Do you have heath insurance? Are you paying for it, or getting it from a spouse?
Until I got married I paid for my own health insurance...my wife has a great job so now I'm insured through her...

Are you saving for retirement?
Yes

How did you manage the lean times? (School vacations, summer vacations)? Did you play gigs? Part time job?
Vacations and stuff are leaner, but never so lean that you can't get by...I do teach a lot of adults, though so it's a little easier...

How many days a week did you work? What hours did you work?
6 days a week: 12-9 Mon-Thurs, 12-5ish on Fridays and 8am-2pm on Saturdays...not all teaching, though. I do have "running the shop" things to do and I get some "farting around on the internet time":D...owning a studio means that the overhead never stops, so I can't...

I used to gig 3 nights a week and teach at a private school one morning a week as well....things have moved in the right direction to the point where I can gig when I want to and no more private school...
 
D

Dana

Thanks for responding. It's funny, when I quit teaching full time the following things happened.

I went from working 6 days a week to 5.

My yearly income increased by $15,000

My Tax, Health Insurance, and Retirement issues were resolved.

but most importantly,

I stopped being happy at work.

I'm hoping to return to full time teaching someday. It's was very rewarding.
 

Mark Wein

Member
Messages
1,042
Thanks for responding. It's funny, when I quit teaching full time the following things happened.

I went from working 6 days a week to 5.

My yearly income increased by $15,000

My Tax, Health Insurance, and Retirement issues were resolved.

but most importantly,

I stopped being happy at work.

I'm hoping to return to full time teaching someday. It's was very rewarding.
:)

Funny how that happens...It wasn't until I was 34 and opened the studio that my dad quit asking me "how long I thought this music thing was going to last"....

Sometimes I am envious of people with "straight" jobs (especially at vacation time), but I grew up with parents who were miserable with their jobs that they took for security (depression era childhoods at work here). I decided early on that I was going to try what made me happy first, and if I failed at that then I would move on. So far, so good....I'm not getting rich, but my wife and I can support a family in a Southern California version of the middle class lifestyle and I get to play Guitar for much of the day....
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,046
I was in Nursing school in '89
teaching at the same time.
I had to bail from it before the 2nd sem.
Decided teaching was what I did best.
"was that Dygoxin or Digitoxin I gave him?"
The world is safer.
 

Mark Wein

Member
Messages
1,042
I was in Nursing school in '89
teaching at the same time.
I had to bail from it before the 2nd sem.
Decided teaching was what I did best.
"was that Dygoxin or Digitoxin I gave him?"
The world is safer.


:)

This is where I do the least harm to humanity myself!
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
I just wanted to check in and say hi...I don't do this fulltime although I am thinking about it...

I started teaching when some of my neighbors and family friends kept asking me for lessons...I kept saying no but when I took a break from gigging I decided to try it and take a couple of students on...I have had them both for over a year and a half...I have refused taking on other students for various reasons but just picked up a third student...

I don't and have never prepared for my students as I try and cater to my students wishes and develop/tailor the method to meet their specific needs...once in awhile I may photocopy something if there is a need for it...if I go fulltime this will have to change...

I have all the blank paper for tabs...standard notation...chord boxes and or charts etc. and write it down as we go...I often have the students notate what we did and the homework at the end of the lesson in their mother toungue as I am teaching in both English and German...this way I can see if he really understood what we did as a couple of them don't speak English and German theory has different ways to name things which I am slowly learning...

I'm just not a big fan of method books although there is some good info. in most of the books...I treat it like a smorgasboard and pick and chose a few relevant things along with adding my own twist to them...

one of my students is retired and has nothing else to do so he has been compiling our lessons with added info. from the Internet into a teaching method for me which is written in German...

he volunteered to do this because it helps him digest and remember what we've done and I repay him by not watching the clock for our lessons which often run over an hour...

Chow,
Seegs
 

Elektrik_SIxx

Member
Messages
457
Hey Seegs (and others), could you describe what you do with students that are not working out of a method book? Do you set goals with them and make up a method accordingly or do you just show them the songs they want to learn?

I tend to do the latter but I really think the students miss out on some basics, that way.
I could really use some pointers in that regard.

TIA
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
we do lots of songs to practice the concepts and things we are working on...

First I have to get a feel for where the students are at and what they want...I only accept students that are cool with how I am comfortable teaching...I am not right for everyone and vice versa so I am careful in who I accept as I want it to be a pleasant and rewarding situation for all involved...if I go fulltime I might have to change this approach and that is my reason for my hesitation in doing it...

I use mostly...but not only Blues for the basis of my teaching as that is what I know and what the students that I accept want to learn...

I usually do lots of rhythmic and technique work in the beginning...especially rhythm as I find that is the area of biggest need...I give lots of technical excercises to help develop hand strength and coordination and then songs to help integrate the techniques and to make them musical...

at the same time we are also working on harmony/chord theory and melody/scales...triads...arpeggios etc. again with songs being the basis to help integrate...

I have a PT LE studio and have started recording backing tracks for the students to practice the concepts we are working on and that has been a big hit...they are very motivated when they leave the lesson with a CD to practice to...

everybodys different and whenever I have used method books they don't take that into consideration...IME not everybody wants or needs each step in the method books so I create the method for each student as we go along...

based on the feedback I have received so far I have no reason/intention to change my approach...

Chow,
Seegs
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,809
Hey Seegs (and others), could you describe what you do with students that are not working out of a method book? Do you set goals with them and make up a method accordingly or do you just show them the songs they want to learn?

I tend to do the latter but I really think the students miss out on some basics, that way.
I could really use some pointers in that regard.

TIA
I have just a couple of casual students, and I never used a method book wiht them.
Like Seegs above, I pick songs or song fragments that have a lesson contained within.
I don't let them them so much choose what they want to do, because they do not have the knowledge to make good choices. But I do let their overall goals drive the direction.
For example, one kid showed me Canon Rock on youtube and said, I want to do this.
So, that showed me where he wants to go, so I used a bunch of simpler songs and fragemnts to teach him the necessary skills. He is teaching himself Canon Rock, I just check in there at times to guide him.
I had another friend who was just starting out, and his teacher asked him what he wanted ot learn. He nominated Clapton's acoustic Layla. Without building the necessary basics of playing in time etc, they attacked and failed utterly.
Songs have the advantage of motivating practice, method books always bored me rigid, and I failed utterly at them. Also, as Richard Lloyd pointed out, most of those "methods" are derived from piano and are based in C, when the "Natural" key of the guitar, and about 99% of rock, is E.

So, I have "methodically" taught right hand technique, left hand technique, chords, fingerstyle, pick work, learning the fretboard, all while having fun and keeping it interesting. I enforce metronome use form day 1, which I think is critically important. A metronome turns noise into music, as does a tuner.
Kid is happy, Mum is rapt, skill levels a re very good for the time spent.
I focus on the right hand, that's the one that has the music in it.
Keep those goals in mind and you don't need a method book.

To specifically answer your question, I set goals, then pick songs to teach them. Don't make learning the song the goal, make the lesson contained within the goal and the song will take care of itself, and a bunch of similar ones.

Every lesson should contain............

A piece of theory
An exercise
A piece of music
 

JJK

Member
Messages
387
I write out everything, and sometimes plan ahead for lessons, with my more advanced students. The types of paper I use are manuscript for writing out chord progressions, a basic chord chart, fretboard paper, and some scales written out that I made on my computer.
 

JJK

Member
Messages
387
I have a question for fellow teachers...what is the best way to teach good improvisation? I show my students licks based off of the pentatonic scales, natural minor scales and everything, but they always find it difficult to do improv. Should I just have them learn their favorite solos?
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,809
I have a question for fellow teachers...what is the best way to teach good improvisation? I show my students licks based off of the pentatonic scales, natural minor scales and everything, but they always find it difficult to do improv. Should I just have them learn their favorite solos?
I have been through this "improv" routine with any number of teachers, and I still suck at it, because my attention is too fragmented. I'm trying to keep track of the changes, my technique, tempo and playingin time and thinking about where I am gonna go next. The end result is "improv" that is tedious and crap, and I've heard it from so many other guys, and it's When someone like Clapton et al improvs, they are calling on a vocab of learnt licks. They learnt those licks by copping solos originally. BUilding a vocab of interesting licks is really important.
Having some etudes down, which can be broken into fragments and brought out as "solo" or improv lines is a better approach I think than working from scales. Improv from scales results in people playing scales as improv.
Petrucci demonstrates the etude approach really nicely in Rock Discipline.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,046
I have been through this "improv" routine with any number of teachers, and I still suck at it, because my attention is too fragmented. I'm trying to keep track of the changes, my technique, tempo and playingin time and thinking about where I am gonna go next. The end result is "improv" that is tedious and crap, and I've heard it from so many other guys, and it's When someone like Clapton et al improvs, they are calling on a vocab of learnt licks. They learnt those licks by copping solos originally. BUilding a vocab of interesting licks is really important.
Having some etudes down, which can be broken into fragments and brought out as "solo" or improv lines is a better approach I think than working from scales. Improv from scales results in people playing scales as improv.
Petrucci demonstrates the etude approach really nicely in Rock Discipline.
You have to "hear" the music you are about to play. Nothing else works.

You can learn every scale, chord, and CAGED chord and you still
won't be able to improvise, until you hear it.

Hearing my music in my head is one of the great joys of music.

When Clapton plays that tried and true lick, he is hearing it. He is
hearing it in the phrasing, and in the dynamics. He hears it in the tune he is playing.
It's not just a blanket perscription , even though he knows it, it's still a
personal thing how and when it's used.

You have to hear the music.

I don't think that it can be taught, only intelectualized.
I've been teaching for 20+ yrs now and never have I taught someone
how to "hear their music". I can talk about the signposts but that's it.
I also can pick up on the vibe when the student does finally start hearing their music.
I can tell when they're connecting.

My problem,, I can't turn it off in my head.
Music's always going on up there. :crazy

Regarding attention, we only have 100% attention
if 80% of our attention is spent on "tracking the data"
and 10% is involved in an "inner dialog" telling you
that you're screwing up, not sounding good, that it's all too hard,,
that leaves 10% or less attention on the actual musical line you are playing.

That's not much, it probably will sound contrived, or "controled" and
not musical.

My suggestion,

Write out lines. I like to use tab because it becomes a study of how
my line might be fingered on the fretboard.
Writing out lines gets you to work with what you hear in your head.

Write out 10 licks for the first part of a blues or whatever..
Use the erasor alot.
Or write out 8th note etudes over a single chord (Gm7)
I did this exercise with a Gm7 chord. wrote around 100 pages.
Do not use computers, just the guitar, paper, pencil,, and you.

You want to make music? Then make music by hearing it.
In your head.


:)
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,809
^^^ I agree.
The thing is, those students in the question I was responding to, they are not hearing music in their head. Their head is full of everything but music at the point where they are trying to "improv". That is what I mean by fragmentation of concentration.
Me, I'm not bothered whether I can improv at this stage or not. It will come in it's own time, when I have internalised all the other things I need, so I can free up- my concentration so I can hear music in my head to translate onto the fretbaod. I'm not saying it does not happen now, either, but I am saying that to a novice/early intermediate player who is sitting in a lesson with some changes coming at him, it does not happen.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,046
^^^ I agree.
The thing is, those students in the question I was responding to, they are not hearing music in their head. Their head is full of everything but music at the point where they are trying to "improv". That is what I mean by fragmentation of concentration.
Me, I'm not bothered whether I can improv at this stage or not. It will come in it's own time, when I have internalised all the other things I need, so I can free up- my concentration so I can hear music in my head to translate onto the fretbaod. I'm not saying it does not happen now, either, but I am saying that to a novice/early intermediate player who is sitting in a lesson with some changes coming at him, it does not happen.
That's exactly why writing is a good activity.

They have to think music.

If they can't, then they need to listen to lots of music.

Transcribing with the aide of a teacher is a good idea.

I'm talking about easy, well known material. Three blind mice.
Mary had a little Lamb.

Even if they don't hear well, there is a good chance they hear that.

And there are people that just don't hear and may never.

Life is not fair.
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,809
That's exactly why writing is a good activity.

They have to think music.

If they can't, then they need to listen to lots of music.

Transcribing with the aide of a teacher is a good idea.

I'm talking about easy, well known material. Three blind mice.
Mary had a little Lamb.

Even if they don't hear well, there is a good chance they hear that.

And there are people that just don't hear and may never.

Life is not fair.

So, what you are really saying is that improvising over changes is not such a great idea.
Getting those students to write out some ideas , then play them might work better.
That is one way of reducing the fragmentation of attention I was talking about. Writing , then playing, rather than writing and playing at the same time.
 

84leek

Member
Messages
12
I had a student come to me from another teacher. This student could read and play tab very well but he didnt hear what he was playing. Take the tab away and nothing. I tried everything i could with him but no luck. Even told him to figure out twinkle twinkle -3 blind mice etc and no go. so i told him to take singing lessons. After 3 months of singing lessons he could figure out just about everything he listened to. No more tab. He went on to play in a band and improvise somewhat. I found learning to sightsinging really valuable for transcribing and improv.
 




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