A Return to Guitar Teaching

Covid has hit the music industry hard. The music teachers I work with often pursue portfolio careers in music, meaning that they combine working in function bands, performing in their own original projects, working as session musicians with teaching music to their students. Almost every part of that portfolio came to a halt during lockdown, with performances curtailed and creative projects put on hold until members could meet up again.

Teaching music has been fairly resilient, with teachers offering everything from Zoom Drum Lessons to Skype Guitar Lessons, keeping their students engaged with online learning resources. Teachers within the community itself has shown fantastic support to one another, producing articles and advice on how to move teaching online – for example, one music teacher provided an incredibly helpful breakdown of how to use Zoom to teach online lessons, comparing that to Skype and other similar platforms. It is of real testament to the wider community of music teachers that they are able to come together during times like this to support one another.

This month marks hopefully the start of returning back to teaching, with many music teachers across the country exploring how they can begin to hold in-person lessons again. The guitar teachers I have spoken with in recent weeks are really looking forward to teaching in-person again, everything from being able to crank the volume up on the amp to really feel the power of a power chord, to giving their students the opportunity to being to consider to perform again. After all how many bands that would have formed over the last 12 months simply haven’t as there has been very little opportunity to. Those guitar teachers who enjoy bringing musicians of a similar age together to practice and perform as a group can begin to hope that they will be able to start that process again later in 2021, all being well.

The restarting of guitar lessons is also met with a reflection that learning a musical instrument is certainly not a necessity of life. Indeed, the cost of lessons are a relatively expensive hobby and one that when economic times are hard are quickly cut from an individuals budget. It is certainly on music teachers minds the impact of lockdown on the economy as a whole, as that will determine whether there will be new guitar students coming through the door in the next few months, or whether as things open up actual people are reluctant to commit, for fear of another wave or from the economic impact making music lessons a luxury that is not possible at this time. Only time will tell and I am very hopeful for the music teachers that we will see a strong bounce back this year, returning to more normal times for all.

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This post was written by Matthew Rusk on April 15, 2021

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Music Lessons Launches

Each student’s inspiration to start learning to play a musical instrument is slightly different. Sometimes it is parents that encourage a child to learn an instrument, with them selecting the instrument and taking them through the process of learning – for that student to later fall in love with that instrument as they see themselves succeeding upon it. Quite often, however, the motivation comes from the student itself – perhaps inspired by the music that they are passionate about, wishing to replicate it.

I certainly fall into that group, with Nirvana being my inspiration to wanting to learn to play the guitar. It wasn’t that I wanted to “learn to play the guitar” in its own right, instead I wanted to play along with my favourite Nirvana songs. It is a subtle difference but one that meant that I practiced a lot, as I wasn’t thinking I was learning the guitar but instead getting better at playing along with my favourite songs. It is akin to an individual that is trying to motivate themselves to go to the gym, compared to the athlete who is training for an event – for the latter going to and being in the gym is just part of the process, rather than a goal in its own right.

As many academics will agree, the 10,000 hours rule to master a skill like playing an instrument, is so well-document that it really is as simple as the number of hours a student puts in will determine their ability. Therefore, my motivation for playing Nirvana songs simply meant that I was built up more hours spent on the guitar, without really noticing that I was practicing. This was really the secret to me learning the guitar. The second aspect of the hours invested is the quality of that practice or learning. I can certainly say having a guitar teacher to help guide me through the information in a logical way had a huge impact on my learning ability.

This is why I believe there will always be a case for professional music teachers being able to find work, even with resources like YouTube out there. The reason is not a students ability to access content, but the ability for a student to go through the relevant content in a logical order. In other words, it is the teacher’s ability to curate the content and tailor it to an individual student that makes their music lessons so impactful.

All of this has been on my mind this week, as I was delighted to see that the team put MusicTeacher.com live and students can now start to enquire for music teachers featured in the music teacher database. This will help students, with an array of motivations to learn their chosen instrument, to start their journey towards the 10,000 hours. It is a great moment and now we will wait for the first enquiry to come through the database!

 

 

 

Posted under MGR Music, Music Teacher, Music Teachers

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on March 13, 2021

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How to Scale

Trying to keep with my daily updates for the new Music Teacher platform, one of the most challenging aspects of setting-up a new online business is how can you plan it in such a way as to make it scale. Often what is easy with a small amount of customers is often unmanagable as the customer numbers increase – specifically business administration, for example responding to customer queries or answering common onboarding questions becomes ever more time intensive. This draws key resources, in terms of people, time and energy, away from continuing to develop the business – after all there is a distinct different between maintaining a business and growing it rapidly.

One common pitful is to design a business model that by the time that you get to the stage that you need to scale the model itself cannot support the hiring of individuals to help validate the scaled model. In other words, while it is founder(s) doing the tasks the profile margin is worthwhile, however, as the business grows and further employees need to come in to support, then actually the cost of employing an individual to do the task cuts so far into the business model that it makes it no longer viable.

This has been an aspect of the project that I am very keen to try to plan for from day one, how can the website scale to 1,000 teachers then to 5,000 teachers, using a model that is sustainable and doesn’t simply overload the core team, reducing the customer experience and team enjoyment. I know I still has so much to learn in this field and would love to get any readers thoughts on how to build a business model that scales from 10 to 1,000 to 10,000 size while ensuring that the business infrastructure can cope with that development.

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This post was written by Matthew Rusk on March 7, 2021

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