Do Skype guitar lessons really help people learn guitar? An insight into teaching guitar through Skype and how to provide a better service to your students.
Since Skype came along with its user-friendly setup and mass market appeal, it has become a hit with guitar teachers from every corner of the earth. But the big question I am asked time and time again is “Do Skype guitar lessons really work”. My answer is “yes, if approached with a little bit of awareness of Skype’s ability and limitations, compared to one-to-one tuition”.
Fast Internet connection is no longer a luxury for most people, and so the possibility of reaching out to guitar players from any location is becoming a reality, and it is amazing!
Skype guitar lessons of course are different to one-to-tuition, but the fundamentals are the same, meaning as guitar tutors we just need to slightly adapt to the webcam style teaching.
Here are some tips that make Skype guitar lessons more enjoyable for both the tutor and the student.
There is nothing more of a turn off for a guitar student, than a late tutor. Be on time and do a standard Skype test call to make sure everything is working ok. If the student is new and you have not yet done a Skype lesson with them, explain prior that we may have some teething problems at first but equally it may well be completely fine. After a lesson or two you begin to get a feel of how good the individual student’s Internet connection is.
Explaining some limitations
Once your student is keen to begin Skype guitar lessons with you, you need to explain a couple of things which will make the whole process a lot smoother. First of all you need to explain that you can’t both play guitar at the same time. At first this may seem a bit frustrating, but you soon get used to it and the student can still feel how much attention you are able to give them compared to what a YouTube lesson can provide.
You need to be able to give the student something to take away from the lesson so that they remember what exactly was covered. One approach is to make short videos after the lesson and share a DropBox folder on your computer with the student, so he or she can easily access the video without trying to receive the video via email. This adds a lot of value to the lesson, but equally will mean you are spending additional time on top of your lesson time. You may have to factor this into your rate if it takes a considerable amount of time. You could also make use of the video by uploading it to YouTube so that you can attract more potential Skype students.
Some students prefer to read TAB, and this is when it may be worthwhile investing in some TAB/music notation software such as Guitar Pro, and Neck Diagrams for scale and chord patterns on the fretboard.
Just as you would set goals on a one to one basis with your student, you need to do the same over Skype. It is always a good idea to map out a handful of lessons in advance and always be open to adapting them, or completely changing direction if the student seems to be loosing interest. If you have a plan, it makes lessons much more enjoyable and saves you having to improvise your lesson on the spot. Remember that planning a nice series of lessons can be recycled with a future Skype student who has similar goals. Even better than planning a short series of lessons, is to write a whole guitar course which you can always call upon at any time for any level of student.
The best option for receiving payment is via PayPal, as it is one of the most secure payment systems online and is very accessible for anyone, as you do not need a PayPal account to pay someone. You will receive notification once the payment has been processed, which will give you peace of mind to move forwards and teach the lessons. All you need to do is provide the student with the important information- your PayPal email address and the amount you are charging the student.
One way you can cut down payment processing time and create consistency is by incentivising block booking lessons with you. You can offer a 10% reduction for students who who pay for four lessons at once, with the terms and conditions that they must attend each lesson.
So that was an insight into teaching guitar on webcam and the potential that this technology offers. If you are interested in having a Skype guitar lesson, or seeking advice on starting your own webcam guitar business then feel free to get in touch with me.