Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tips to becoming a classical guitar teacher... Many more to come...

An impromtu end of class picture of one of my beginning Suzuki classical guitar classes.


Hello classical guitar enthusiasts!
This post will feature some simple tips on becoming a classical guitar teacher. I hope this post will give some up and coming young guitarists some ideas when searching for a job.
First of all let me just say something VERY important.

IT ISN'T WHAT YOU KNOW OR HOW YOU PLAY, BUT WHO YOU KNOW AND WHO KNOWS YOU.

What I mean by this is that unless you are very talented and win the GFA or another big competition it is not very likely that top notch Universities will be knocking on your door. On the contrary I know an internationally successful guitarist who won a major competition and still worked for a long time at small music schools before he found a position at a good university. Therefore, how do you get a classical guitar teaching job...

Ok so you have an undergraduate degree and are looking into teaching as you prepare for competitions and performances. You find yourself at a guitar shop teaching Stairway to Heaven and Boulevard of Broken Dreams (uhg! I hate teaching Greenday). This environment is not a good one to further a classical guitar career. Get out!!!!


I know too many classical guitarists with graduate degrees who are stuck teaching at guitar stores like this. It does not further your classical teaching, and in most cases you will make less money per hour. Moreover you have to build a classical guitar teaching reputation in your community. If you only teach classical guitar you will be regarded as a better candidate for future job opportunities.


Most people think of the classical guitar as being "more complex" and "academic" than rock and folk. While this is only partially true it means that most classical guitar positions pay better and most people regard classical guitarist as more "educated". Whereas a rock guitar teacher is thought of as a less educated lower level musician. Let me stress that these attitudes are not my own. I know rock guitarists who are EXCELLENT musicians. However, these are generalizations held by many non-musicians. The very people who will be paying your salary. Therefore use this generalization to your advantage.

Now that you are out of the guitar store environment think about your contacts. There are professors from your school whom you have built relationships with. USE THEM... Most teachers want their students to succeed and will help with getting a job. Moreover, most are established in their communities and may even be in leadership positions in the local classical guitar society. If you are referred by a known commodity to a third party looking to hire a classical guitar teacher your chances of being hired skyrocket. Once you are in the door, you make more contacts and are referred for more positions... A win win situation.

Now that I've reread this, it is getting too long. More tips to come in the future.

Michel Chatara-Morse

14 comments:

Kirsten said...

you know me and i know you!

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Matingas said...

Hey.. this really helped.

I've been trying for a couple months to establish classical guitar lessons in my city.. and don't understand why I'm not getting people at my door.. and its because I just seem like another bearded guitar player and not really an educated classical guitarist (tattoos dont help either)


oh. and im done teaching boulevard of broken dreams... seriously. f$@k

and kids dont even want to learn old green day!

here's my webpage
http://matingas.com/

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