Why guitar teachers lose students 

In the 1980's I was a teenager living in Sydney, Australia. Like most teens at that time I was listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Queen and so on. I wanted desperately to play guitar like my heroes. At age 14 I started self teaching myself guitar. The process was frustratingly slow. I quit on numerous occasions only to start again a few weeks or months later. At age 17 I finally got myself a guitar teacher. Within 6 months my guitar playing went from that of a guitar hacker to a dare I say semi-pro. I still had a long way to go as a guitarist but I was certainly a lot better than I used to be and a lot more confident. So much so that I began playing professionally on a regular basis. The main lesson I got from those lessons was learning guitar doesn't have to take years when done right.

The way we learn guitar matters. The number one reason beginner guitar students quit in their first 6 months is because they don't see enough progress. This is why it's critical for you to have a clear path for your students to take them from beginner to intermediate as quickly and efficiently as possible. It was my years of frustration from watching my students quit in those first 6 months that forced me to go looking for answers. This is when I I first came across the 80/20 rule which suggested that 80% of our results come from just 20% of our effort

When I began to apply the 80/20 I started to see results. In the early stage of learning guitar the first priority should be to practice the most essential skills. Those skills that are going to get students playing songs sooner. For example we know chords make up a large part of guitar playing but there are a handful of chords that get used in the majority of songs ( I, IV, V & VI chords). By focusing on and developing these chords early students are able to play songs sooner.

If you spend 80% of practice time on the essential skills rather than those less important skills and students will progress faster which results in a stronger commitment and higher student retention. If students take too long before seeing results they lose hope and quit so teachers need to focus on what matters most. 

. Focus on the 20% that matters

Learning guitar is challenging. At a guess around 90% of people who take up guitar end up quitting in the first year and the reason is simple! It TAKES TOO LONG TO LEARN! My 30+ years of experience teaching guitar has shown me that it doesn’t have to be this way. By using a proven system of learning guitar you dramatically decrease the time it takes to learn and as a result, your student's chances of sticking with guitar go way up. I discovered there are 3 primary reasons people quit guitar.

  1. Lack of progress. It is said that what keeps people happy is a sense of progress. Most new students are eager to play guitar but before they can really play they have to practice of course. Everyone understands this but not all students practice equally. Some practice more often and/or more efficiently so they get results sooner. We can't do a lot as teachers to get students to practice more often but we can help them to be more efficient. By maximising efficiency we improve the chances of the students sensing progress sooner..
  2. Lack of motivation. This is really connected to the first reason (lack of progress). We all lose motivation when we believe our efforts are futile. When you lack or lose motivation my guess is it's almost always the result of slow process which comes from inefficient practice. Practicing the right way will make all the difference.
  3. Lack of confidence. This ties in again with the above points. No progress equals low confidence. It makes perfect sense really. If I am doing let's say 30mins practice a day with little to no results it becomes difficult to sustain confidence and enthusiasm. 

So EXACT solution
All three of these reasons are related to that sense of progress. Research shows that we are more likely to take action if there are clear actionable steps. There is a big difference between being told to practice and been given exact steps as to what to practice. Perhaps you have experienced that frustration when buying a piece of IKEA furniture where the instructions are missing. After several attempts you lose interest swearing you’ll only ever buy assembled furniture in the future. On the other hand if the instructions are included and easy to follow we are motivated to see it through to completion. Guitar is no different.

Apply the 80/20 rule

Focus on the essential skills.

Follow a structure plan

Combine the power of a structure with A Great Coach

It seems we all know of at least one great coach who has an amazing record of achievement. I have spent decades researching the best ways to learn and teach guitar. This led me to reading about great coaches and teachers in various fields such as sport, education, business and personal development. When you look at the records of some of these coaches there is no doubt they have an ability to lift their players and students to higher levels of performance. One such coach is the late great John Wooden former UCLA basketball coach. Wooden’s team won 10 NCAA national championships over a 12-year period. 7 of them in a row. Note, that no other team has won more than two championships in a row. Wooden’s team also sustained an amazing 88 game winning streak. Something that seems almost unimaginable in any sport.

The influence of a great coach

Let's be honest. Learning guitar is hard and most people who try to learn guitar quit within 12 months.  The reasons they give may vary but basically they lose motivation. A good coach has the ability to plan ahead and counter this problem. John Wooden would have been very aware of this problem of motivation. In high level sports players don’t easily quit but they are still human so constantly question their ability and commitment to the their sport. It takes a special coach to keep players giving their best every week. As guitar teachers we actually asking a lot less. All we want is for students to practice a few hours a week and to keep showing up each lesson.

Focusing on results

Let's be honest. We want results. A typical guitar student is focused on being able to play songs first and foremost. They are usually very impatient and don’t want to wait years to obtain the necessary skills to play notable songs. Funnily enough its not unusual for a guitar student to quit within the first month due to frustration but, expecting serious results in those first few weeks is completely unreasonable. These unrealistic students pick up the guitar each day for a few weeks and become disappointed with their slow progress. They can’t understand why its taking so long. The problem is related to the conditions under which they are attempting to learn guitar. To explain, imagine you decided to get in shape and lose that extra belly fat. You start out doing a daily jog but on day 5 you feel a bit tired so decide to skip it. No big deal you say, its only one day. The next day you resume your jogging routine but on day 9 you again skip due to a business project you need to finish. You also missed day 10 because you were just not in the mood. By the end of week 2 you decide to put it off for a while because your work is just too busy at the moment. You tell yourself that you’ll get back on track next month when things settle down at work.

Providing the right conditions

We could assume the problem was purely a lack of motivation and commitment but we all know conditions matter. A case in point. I recently lived in Japan for 8 months. I did not drive a car because getting my license changed over was a big job. This meant riding a bicycle. Our apartment was in Kyoto and situated on a fairly steep hill. This meant every time I went out I had to ride back up the hill. I literally had no choice. I had created the right conditions for getting fit. Even on the worse days in the cold and wet when I just didn’t feel like exercising I had no choice. I had to ride up that hill. Over the 8 months I lost weight and gained noticeable leg muscle. After about 6 weeks I started purposely riding other hills in the area as I was now motivated. A good coach creates these conditions. They know that they must put you in a situation where you have no choice.

  • Learn to play guitar in HALF THE TIME. Most people waste time practicing the wrong things. Be smart about what and how you practice guitar.
  • Use a STRUCTURE METHOD based on the 80/20. Following a structured method will ensure you don't make the common mistakes almost all beginner guitar students make.
  • Find a GREAT COACH . Learning using the G4 Guitar Method taught by a qualified G4 Guitar teacher will save you years. You'll be focusing on 20% that gets you 80% of the results you need to succeed sooner. 

Take your guitar to the  Next Level!

If you are serious about learning guitar I would recommend you employ a G4 Guitar teacher to coach you. The difference it could make is significant. Finding a great coach should be your mission if you are serious about learning guitar. You will know them when you find them because they will stand out from the crowd. We believe G4 Guitar teachers are not your average. They have gone to great lengths to improve their teaching and be the best. They will help you to reach your guitar playing goals sooner and with more certainty.

 G4 Guitar Method + Teacher

The G4 Guitar Method with a G4 Teacher = Perfect solution.

Some of the benefits to the G4 Guitar Method are as follows;

  • 1
    Design for Beginners: Every exercise has been carefully designed and tested with the beginner student in mind.
  • 2
    80/20 Essential Skills : We have focused on the skills that will benefit you the most including chords, picking, rhythm, arpeggios, scales and more.
  • 3
    Colour-Coded: be We use a unique system of colour coding to make everything easier to understand and learn. Our students love it!.

See what students have to say:

"It's easy to follow and our teacher..."

I started going with my son and enjoyed it that much that now I've signed up! It's easy to follow and our teacher Reuben has made it really enjoyable for us both, myself and my 8 year old look forward to our lesson each week and are loving leading to play the guitar.
- Tanya Preusker, Traralgon AU

Reuben Walker

G4 GUITAR - Traralgon VIC, Australia

"David has a genuine interest..."

David Minns is an awesome guitar instructor! Both my son Jake and I have enjoyed his classes. He takes the necessary time to insure Jake is grasping the material. David has a genuine interest in Jake's understanding as well as enjoyment of the materials! I highly recommend David - impressive!
- Jacqueline M., Lake Forest, CA


G4 GUITAR - Lake Forest, CA. United States.

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