15 Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring A Guitar Coach

Hey Rockstars,

Today we’re going to talk about finding the right Guitar Coach for you.

Since everybody requires something slightly different in their guitar learning experience, it’s important that you find a coach that you connect with because it will not only make learning the guitar a lot more enjoyable for you, but as you will see from the questions below, it will DRASTICALLY speed up the learning process.

That means less time and money invested in order to get the amazing results you deserve in your guitar playing.

Whether you find a coach on craigslist, Kijiji, through a flyer, or word of mouth referral, these questions will help you to peg the right one for you.

And if you already have a coach, then these questions are even more important to make sure that you’re on the same page and you know what to expect in the upcoming lessons.

I should note that some people choose to take lessons with multiple coaches to get different perspectives and different styles. This can happen simultaneously (if you can afford it) or you can stop taking lessons with one coach when you feel you’ve outgrown him/her, and you can always look for another coach to pick up where they left off and take you to the next level.

You’re the boss, so I recommend you always do what feels right for you.

 

3 Types of Guitar Coaches

Now, before we get to the questions, I want to tell you about 3 different types of guitar coaches that you’ll encounter both online (Live and pre-recorded lessons) and offline (in person).

By understanding the 3 main players, you’ll be able to comb through the options a lot faster.

3 Types of Guitar Coaches:

 

1. Guitar Players who are just teaching for the money

  • These coaches usually show students stuff they’re good at playing, tend to show off, have little patience, and don’t really know how to properly structure a custom lesson for you
  • Watch out for these guys. They usually don’t have your best interests in mind.

 

2. Guitar Teachers who follow a cookie-cutter curriculum that they probably studied themselves

  • These coaches are usually working out of a studio or for a bigger company and either have to follow strict rules, or just end up teaching you what they learned when they were starting out.
  • A lot of these guys don’t really know how to deal with someone who veers off from the set curriculum and they usually don’t want them to because of their strong belief that there is a “proper” way to study guitar
  • There’s nothing wrong with this and this may be the right fit for you, but just make sure they have your best interests in mind and they’re not just protecting their school’s prestigious reputation (or their job!).

 

3. Guitar Coaches who are client-focused and committed to designing a curriculum around the client’s needs

  • These coaches are generally more patient than other coaches (sometimes even more patient than the client) because they understand that learning is a process and everyone has a different style. In my opinion, this is the only way to go.
  • Their main goal is to help their client become independent and self-sufficient in their guitar learning and more importantly, feel excited about playing.
  • It’s a bonus if they’ve studied accelerated learning and teaching methods, so they can structure a custom lesson for you.

So now that you know what types of coaches (and wannabe coaches) to look out for, let’s talk about the questions to ask in order to choose the right one for you.

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15 Questions You MUST Ask Before You Hire A Guitar Coach

 

1. Do you teach both online and in person?

  • There are Pros and Cons to both, so think about what’s most convenient for you.
  • Skype lessons are just as good as in-person, but require a webcam
  • In-person lessons may feel a little more intimate, but require travel time

 

2. Where are you located and what space do you teach out of?

  • Environment is 80% of the battle! With the right one, you will be able to relax and let the learning absorb like a sponge. With the wrong one, you will feel uncomfortable and tense (tension is the greatest enemy of learning).
  • For example, my old teaching studio was in my bachelor apartment and while this may seem weird to some people, I’ve found that the more I made my clients feel like they were just at a buddy’s place, the more comfortable they felt and the faster they learned.

 

3. Do you offer Group Lessons?

  • Group Lessons can be a lot of fun and says a lot about a coach if they can handle more than one client at a time (especially if they know how to structure the lesson so the clients can all play together and see how they fit in the group).
  • Look for a coach who offers Group Lessons and offers them at a discounted rate from 1-on-1.

 

4. How long are lessons and what do you charge?

  • I recommend only working with teachers who offer 60 and 90 minute lessons. 30 minutes may seem like a good deal, but the lessons will feel rushed and by the time you start building momentum, you’ll be rushed out the door.
  • 60 and 90 minutes gives time to chat a bit to build rapport with your coach and to get in the groove of learning and playing.
  • Prices vary from coach to coach, so be sure to ask the other 13 questions so that you know what you’re getting and can justify the price based on the value being offered.

 

5. Do you offer lesson packages? If so, what’s included in each package?

  • Some coaches offer a pay as you go option, some offer packages, and some offer both.
  • A lot of experienced coaches understand that by offering multi-lesson packages, they are creating a win-win scenario for both of you because they get to teach you and build the relationship for longer and you get to save money.
  • Some coaches even include extras like books or online subscriptions as part of each package.

 

6. How do you deal with lesson cancellations?

  • Since life will eventually get in the way of your guitar lessons, it’s important to know how your guitar coach will handle this.
  • Find out how much notice he/she needs and if there’s an extra charge or loss of lesson.
  • I’m always lenient about cancellations with no penalties as long as I have a few hours notice
  • Ideally you want to develop an understanding between the two of you that you both follow in case your coach also has to cancel/reschedule.

 

7. Do you reward your clients for word of mouth referrals?

  • This is a big one as you’re bound to have friends and family hear your playing and want in on the action themselves.
  • Some coaches offer a FREE lesson for each new client referral and some

 

8. How long have you been teaching and how many clients have you taught?

  • Coaches who have been teaching for a long time may sound more appealing than coaches who only have a couple of years under their belt, but I’d say it’s not always the deciding factor.
  • While there are pros and cons to both answers (coaches with more experience may be able to get you to your goal faster because they’ve done it so many times before, but make sure they’re not jaded or stuck in their ways), I’d recommend looking for a coach who matches your passion and excitement for the guitar and don’t only judge the amount of time they’ve been coaching.

 

9. Have you ever studied learning and teaching?

  • You’d be surprised how many coaches think that teaching guitar is just telling you where to press your fingers and encouraging you to practice examples over and over again.
  • Look for someone who can explain the big picture to you as well as properly structure each of your lessons for the clearest understanding (Why the concept is important, What the concept is all about, How to play the concept, and How to use the concept in the real world).

 

10. What style(s) of music do you teach? Which ones are your favourite to teach?

  • Every coach has a preference and most can’t teach everything (even though they tell you they can).
  • Look for a coach who admits his/her limits and make sure their favourite styles match yours.

 

11. Do you only teach a certain age group?

  •  Some coaches cater better to kids and some cater better to adults.
  • You not only want someone who is mature and professional, but can also let loose and have fun (I mean, we’re talking about guitar here, right?).

 

12. Are you just going to show off during the lesson? Show me what you think I should learn? Or do I have a say in what I learn?

  • This might be the most important question.
  • If you are investing your time and money in this person to help you achieve your guitar goals and all they are doing is showing off or showing you something you don’t want to learn, then the experience isn’t going to be enjoyable and what’s the point of learning to play guitar if you’re not having fun?

 

13. How often do you recommend I practice?

  • Watch out for strict rules and blanket statements like “You must practice for 45-60 minutes a day” or my favourite, “Just practice more”. Definitely not productive.
  • The answer you’re looking for is “it depends on your goals and how much time you can practice”.
  • A solid coach should be able to make a recommendation to you after a few sessions as well as teach you how to get the most from your practice session, even if you have a super busy schedule
  • As a general rule, I recommend playing the guitar every day even if it’s for 30 seconds. The consistency will help your mind and your fingers to familiarize themselves with the concept you’re learning and go to work on autopilot for you.

 

14. Will you give me material from each lesson to take home so I can refer back to them while I practice?

  • This includes PDFs, videos, diagrams, and physical worksheets to name a few.

 

15. What progress can I expect after one week, one month, and one year of lessons with you?

  • A good coach should be able to give you clear answers to these questions. A lot is possible in the time frame mentioned above, so look at if the coach talks about limitation and tries to sell you “being realistic” or talks about endless possibilities and leaving the door open to maximum progress.
  • At the very least, it will give you insight into what they believe they’re capable of teaching you and in how much time. If you have a good feeling about what they’re saying, then this answer could be the deciding factor for you.

Now It’s Your Turn

Ok. Now that you know the right questions to ask, I want you to do two things:

  1. Add 3-5 more of your own questions since this list probably got your wheels turning.
  2. When you finish that, I want you to answer all of the questions yourself (both the ones I listed and the ones you listed in the previous step), as if you were your ideal guitar coach. I think that you’ll find out a lot about what’s important to you here, so you can really zero in on the perfect coach for you.

Interested In Private Lessons With Us?

If you are interested in taking 1-on-1 lessons with Rockstar Mind, then please copy and paste your questions and answers from above in an email and send them to support@rockstarmind.com with the subject “I’m interested in lessons” and we’ll talk about the possibility of working together. 🙂

Until then, I wish you the best of luck in your search for your your perfect guitar coach!

Thanks again for reading and talk soon,

signatureSteveakaVØID

About Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.
About The Author

Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.