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Teaching guitar is for many people, a dream job. You get to spend your time learning songs and watching players flourish week after week in front of your very eyes! For all of the amazing things I enjoy about being a guitar teacher, it is not for everyone and if guitar is taught badly, it could put someone off learning guitar for life.

So here are the five characteristics every great guitar teacher has:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Patience
  3. Good Organisation
  4. Positive Nature
  5. Belief


Do you have all the qualities of a great guitar teacher?


Being flexible as a guitar teacher is a must-have skill for a multitude of reasons. You need to be comfortable with your student’s making last minute changes to the lesson slot they are available for, and being open to the idea of rescheduling the lesson for another time in the same week. It is too easy to lose a lesson by just arranging for the student to make the lesson the same time next week. If you want to run a profitable guitar tuition service, then you should make it your best effort to reschedule so that you don’t let your earnings slide.

Flexibility goes further than how you manage your student base. You need to be flexible in style so that you can accommodate for a variety of players who will approach you, wanting to learn everything from blues to metal. Understanding that the majority of guitarists want to learn simple acoustic songs is a great starting point for you if you are unsure where to start building your repertoire from.


If you want to build a loyal base of students who enjoy coming to your lessons week after week, then you need to consider if you are a patient person. If you are unsure if you are patient, then you will soon find out by getting your first few beginner students under your belt. Somewhere along the way whilst on our own journey as guitarists, we forget how hard learning the ‘basics’ was. If you can realise how difficult it can be in those early days then you will have more patience and in turn be a better guitar tutor.

Share your stories of your memories of learning guitar with your students’, as to help them stay level-headed and patient themselves with the journey that learning guitar is.

Good Organisation 

Without good organisation your guitar teaching business will never grow much larger than a couple of students. Great guitar tutors have great organisational skills. You need to use tools to help you stay organised and always know when you are teaching. If you don’t know when exactly you are teaching this week you run the risk of three outcomes:

  1. Forget to turn up to a lesson.
  2. Forget you had a student coming to your own home/teaching studio for a lesson.
  3. You can’t let new student know your availability when the phone rings.
To tackle all of these things happening you should have a physical calendar for each week in your teaching environment and bedroom. This calendar will include all of the slots for the specific week you are on so that you can understand when exactly you are free.
It is also very important to have a device such as a smartphone to add your lesson slots to so that you can quickly pull out your calendar on the go. As well as this you can set reminders so that you never forget when a lesson is coming up. This has been invaluable for me and given me peace of mind when taking on multiple duties as well as life pressures which all amount to losing control of your student base.

Positive Nature

It may sound obvious, but having a positive nature makes all the difference when you are teaching guitar for a living. It is amazing how your students will react to you being happy and positive generally, as well as about their progress on the instrument. As part of being a professional guitar teacher it is your duty to also know when you are fit to teach and when you are not. Identify when you are unable to teach due to personal problems/health problems which will impede on your performance. Sometimes you can battle through some minor problems that can encroach on your teaching, but if you are not comfortable with teaching at the present time then be honest with your student (student’s parent if your student is a child) and they will respect and admire your honesty.


Believe in your students and give them everything you’ve got. If you can let each and every one of your students know that you believe that they can get better at guitar, then you will have a happier group of students. Of course belief has to be supported with great teaching and an understanding of the student’s goals, what makes them excited about guitar and by creating them smaller achievable goals along the way to keep them focused.

I have never had a student who has not lost the belief at one stage of their guitar playing life. It is how you get the belief back and stay inspired to progress which sets you apart as a player.

This is just one of many articles available here on the topic of teaching guitar.

(Image credit to adpowers)

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