Who & What is G4 GUITAR?
The power of networking
G4 GUITAR is about helping guitar teachers succeed sooner by leveraging the power of networking. I originally started teaching guitar in the 1980's as a teenager. I initially did it for pocket money but it gradually became my main source of income. I worked in retail sales and played professionally in bands during my teens and 20's but teaching was what I enjoyed most. It gave me the flexibility to be my own boss and determine when and how I wanted to work. Retail sales and paying gigs taught me some valuable lessons. For example, retail sales taught me sales and marketing. Playing in a band taught me performance and team work but both retail sales and band taught me something even more important. The power of networking.
Teaching guitar for 99.9% of guitar teachers is a solo affair.
Networking for most guitar teachers is never even considered. What I mean by networking is connecting with your peers. In other words, other guitar teachers. As musicians we know the importance of jamming with other musicians when it comes to improving our playing. As professional musicians we also understand the value of networking with the movers and shakers in the music industry. It only makes sense to apply this same idea to our teaching yet very few guitar teachers reach out and connect with their peers and it comes at a big cost.
It's really tough going it alone
When I speak to guitar teachers they often say their biggest challenge is growing their student numbers. They have done all the right things like creating a website, making various social media profiles, running Facebook and Google ads and in some cases writing regular blog posts and YouTube videos. Their numbers are growing but at a snail's pace. They might pickup 4 new students in a good month only to lose 2 the same month. After a year they have grown by maybe 10 students half of who are not really committed. At this pace it's going to take years to reach their goal. There must be a better way.
Why it's so hard to grow your student numbers
For the first 5 years in my professional teaching career I struggled to get my student numbers above 20. I did get above 20 at times but then school holidays would happen and like clockwork, 50% of my students would quit and never return. I felt like Sisyphus pushing the rock up hill for what seemed like eternity. Year after year I failed to make any real progress. I tried everything imaginable.
More students but also more expenses
By pure luck I managed to finally break the 20 student barrier. What I did was I took my teaching from home to a commercial studio. This increased my student numbers to around 50. I felt quite proud of myself. I falsely believed I had succeeded in business only to discover that I was now making less money. My increased expenses such as rent etc meant less profit. I was now working more than twice the hours for about 20% less money. At that point I felt like it was all pointless and sold the business.
My next attempt was even worse
After a one year break I decided to try again. This time would be different I convinced myself. I open a new guitar school in a commercial location. I even hired a piano teacher and a woodwind teacher. Little by little the business grew. It grew so much that I needed a bigger location after just one year. 2 years later I needed to move again. This time to a location with 8 teaching rooms. By year 5 we had over 450 students and the school was pumping but there was still one problem. I was seriously losing money. The rent, the teacher wages and the operational costs were higher than the profits. I was sinking fast so it was time to admit defeat. I was a business failure.
My business model was flawed
This time I took a 2 year break. On reflection I came to realise that while I had now failed twice in business I had gained valuable experience. In the first 5 years I struggled with finding students (marketing) but by my second business I had worked it out. After all, I grew the business to 450+ weekly students. My failure in the second business was the business model. It was flawed (or more to the point, non-existent) from the start. It didn't matter how many students I enrolled, my expenses were always going to be higher than my income.
Third time is a charm, well not quite
I started G4 GUITAR in 2005 using a credit card with less than $5,000 at my disposal. At a 20% interest rate I needed this business to work. This time I tried a different business model. Instead of private teaching I decided to teach exclusively groups. This way I could teach 10 students per hour so as to work less and earn more. My intention wasn't just to earn more for less work although that was a big part of it. My goal was to create a highly profitable business model while still delivering a high quality lesson experience for students at an affordable price. I knew to achieve this I had to up my game. I couldn't just be an average teacher.
The power of leverage
The definition of leverage is 'the exertion of force by means of a lever.' For our purpose it's anything that will increase your profits without more (or even less) effort. The example above is where I leveraged my time by teaching in groups instead of one student at a time. There are many other examples of leveraging but one of the best ways I discovered to leverage is networking. We see this all the time in the music business. Joe Satriani played for Mick Jagger, Stevie Ray Vaughn played with David Bowie and Van Halen was endorsed by Gene Simmons and even Hendrix was endorsed by Keith Richards girlfriend at the time. Satch, SRV, EVH and Hendrix were all very accomplished guitarists before rising to fame but it was only after their association with big name artists that they became recognised. When you hang with the right people your reputation gets a boost purely by association.
Leveraging through networking
There are many kinds of networks. Networks allow you to be part of something bigger. Networks give you leverage. You could network with local business groups, teacher associations, parenting organisations etc but I want to talk specifically about guitar teacher networks. A guitar teacher network is where a group of guitar teachers work together under one brand name rather than being independent. This creates one big voice instead of lot's of small voices. Think about when you buy a product or service. How often do you choose a bigger name or more established brand over the independent unknown? Most people opt for the established brand when given a choice. Gibson and Fender outsell all other guitar brands. Marshall and Fender dominate amp sales. D'Addario and Ernie Ball top the guitar string sales. They dominate the market. When in doubt we choose the more established brand.
The network effect can 10X or even 100X your business
A network can quite literally take you from a relatively unknown guitar teacher to a local celebrity. You could go from one inquiry a week to one or two a day. This doesn't just occur because your profile is raised due to brand association but also because of network channels. In short it means other guitar teachers on the network are helping to refer students to you either directly or indirectly. Every time a teacher on the network posts a video or a blog or gets a good review or somehow promotes the brand you benefit. If there are 10 other teachers on the network that's 10 teachers all promoting your name. If it's 100 teachers you can 100X that number. The power of a network cannot be overstated.
A network can and usually does trump quality
You might arguably be the best guitar teachers in your area. In almost any product or service you care to name, the best and the most successful in terms of sales are not the same thing. Do McDonald's make the world's best hamburgers? Is Coke the best drink? Are Nike shoes truly the best shoes? Do Starbucks make the best coffee? There are plenty of lesser known brands that are definitely of equal or even better quality and often better value for money that are relatively unheard of. Quality is important but it's not enough to put you above a crowded market place. Becoming a trusted brand only happens when people understand who you are and what you do and this takes time or money or both. It usually takes a lot of both. Joining a network allows you to leverage the work already done by the network saving you thousands of dollars and years of work. If your goal is to become a trusted name as a guitar teacher there are basically two paths you can take.
The 2 paths to becoming a trusted name
- Path 1 is the independent operator. Let's say Jack Smith decides to start teaching guitar. Jack will need to spend 100 to 500 hours promoting himself both online and offline in various forms. Videos, blogs, website, social media, local marketing like flyers etc. If he wants to accelerate the process of becoming well known in his area he could pay for marketing on Facebook or Google for example.
- Path 2 is to join a guitar teacher network like G4 GUITAR where most of the work is already done. You instantly become part of an established name. Instead of spending hundreds of hours and perhaps $100,000 or more building your name you'll only need to spend a fraction of that time and money.
My story begins with me but ends with an amazing community of guitar teachers from around the world who are now part of our global teacher network. The short version is, I started teaching guitar while still in high school. For 10 years I taught privately first from home and later from a studio. I eventually sold my teaching business and used the money to travel for to the US, Mexico and Canada for a year.
On my return I opened a new guitar school that later grew into a music school with over 450 students at its peak. It was a very stressful period in my life as I ended up in approximately $80,000 debt. I sold and walked away from the business taking a 2 year break. In 2005 I opened G4 GUITAR using my credit card limit of $5,000 to pay for rent, fixtures, phone, flyers etc. 2 years later I had 5 locations earning six figures (more than I'd ever earned). I then decided to share my business and teaching formula to teachers around the world by way of a network but more importantly, I wanted to leverage the power of networking.
The reasons I decided to build a network of guitar teachers
As mention above, I had 5 guitar schools when I decided to create a network of guitar teachers. I made this move for three main reasons.
- I wanted a way to give my employed teachers ownership. They could see the business and teaching formulas were working so around half of my teachers became my first network members. It was the enthusiasm from these teachers that really got me excited about the network.
- The second reason was to free up my time to focus on the teaching method and business. Managing almost 1,000 students and 20 staff was a big job. Eliminating that responsibility allowed me to focus on making G4 even better.
- The third and perhaps surprising reason I built a network was simply for company. It's lonely at the top when you run a business. Turning G4 into a network turned my teachers from employees into allies. I had some amazing employees who I knew would do well as entrepreneurs.
From failure to failure to success.
As you can see my first two attempts at business did not end well. I won't say they were complete failures but they were a struggle and for the most part I only earned the equivalent of an average salary. It was only on my third attempt with G4 that I managed to get the formula just right. The reason is I did things very differently. Instead of just being a typical guitar school I did 3 important things.
1. No private lessons. I only taught students in groups (3 to 5 at a time).
2. I taught to a method. I created a set program with levels and certificates.
3. I automated payments. I charge students via a monthly subscription.
Why did I choose to only teach in groups?
I first began teaching adults guitar in group before starting G4. At the time I would teach 10 beginner students as a way of introducing them to guitar with the idea of converting them into long term private students. What I discovered completely by accident was that most students in groups had more fun and preferred learning in groups. We humans are social so it made sense. Private lessons at first sound like a better option but I discovered advantages to both group and private. One is not better than the other in general but one may be better for an individual student. For 80% of beginners they are pretty close to equal in terms of value for money. That value as you'll see depends a lot on the teacher.
Group teaching is a skill. I have a question for you. Would you prefer a guitar lesson with an average teacher one on one or a great teacher in a group? I will always choose the great teacher. What matters most is who is doing the teaching. A great group teacher/guitarist is always better than an average private teacher. If you are committed to being a great teacher your best choice is to group teach. You will not only earn more money in less time but you'll serve more students.
Aim for the top
The Beatles were the No.1. selling band in terms of record sales in history. Almost everyone knows The Beatles. The Eagles at No.2. sold half as many. Being number one is not just about being better than number two. It's about being the best at what you do. As a guitar teacher if you are the leader in your area you'll likely have twice as many students as any other teacher and be earning 3X the money. You'll also have the most loyal students, get the most referrals and almost certainly producing the best results for students but here is the best part. Achieving the top spot does not demand substantially more effort than being second. However, once you have reached the top, the workload is actually lower because you are in demand, while number two has to work hard for every new student.
Be the number one school
I am quite sure you are a great teacher and your students sing your praises. Your lessons are good value and in your local community you are respected. You may even be the number one guitar teacher in your area but that's not what I am talking about here. My goal for you is to be the number one school of any activity. In almost every area there is a school that dominates. Perhaps it's a sport like tennis or football or it could be dancing or yoga or karate. Whatever it is you'll generally find one school that has twice as many enrolments than any other. Being the top guitar school in your area is nice but being the top school of any any activity is a whole different level and should be your goal.
The G4 GUITAR METHOD
The G4 GUITAR METHOD is the result of more than 30 years of research and development. The teachers who use G4 literally save 100's of hours of lesson planning which allows them to focus on the actual teaching. Most guitar teachers spend countless hours preparing lessons and rarely if ever create an organised method. A well structured method is like a well made guitar. It just makes everything easier and better but most importantly it gives students a big advantage. They get clear direction with defined goals. Another huge plus is the ability to track student progress. Studies show that a sense of progress from tracking is a major factor in student motivation, long term commitment and therefore ultimate success.
G4 GUITAR teachers are now located in 5 countries including Australia, Canada, France, UK, US, and growing. The Internet has allowed us to become a truly global community. This means our reputation is spreading. This also sparks insights and new ideas that help our members improve their teaching and businesses. It also creates a sense of community. Connecting with people who can relate to the same challenges you face as a guitar teacher/entrepreneur helps to bring clarity and reassurance. It also helps to be teaching the same syllabus because we can share challenges and strategies.
Work less & Earn More
Our business plan is simple. We want our teachers to be earning a solid reliable income. We estimate this to be $100,000 per year while teaching less than 20 hours a week but this may vary depending on what you are looking for. We understand that you are a musician first and foremost. You should be committed to your students of course but you also want time to practice and pursue your own musical interests. Teaching is great but it shouldn't be the reason you play guitar. $100,000 per year teaching 20 hours a week or less is achievable and will give you the balance you are probably looking for. By following our tested and proven business plan you'll be able to deliver first class guitar lessons without compromising on your own guitar playing.
Who is G4 GUITAR?
G4 GUITAR was established in 2005 in Sydney, Australia by myself (David Hart). By then I already had extensive experience teaching guitar and operating music schools but I had also experienced many frustrating failures. In those early years I taught with no curriculum and was pretty much just winging it the whole time. I would literally make up the lessons from one week to the next. It was only after about 10 years of improvised teaching that I'd finally had enough. My teaching lacked structure and my students were paying the price. I was a good motivator but my lessons were all over the place. I knew it was time to get serious and develop a system/method of teaching guitar.
David Hart 2023
The inspiration for a guitar method
When I first began developing a guitar teaching method I was initially inspired by the Suzuki Violin Method. I was lucky enough to know a Suzuki violin teacher who recommended students to me to learn guitar. I was amazed at how quickly they picked up guitar. They would literally learn in half the time. What was their secret? This sent me on a journey of discovery of everything and anything associated with teaching music. I became obsessed about the best ways to teach, learn and systemise. The common denominator I found was well designed teaching methods. It seemed most instruments such as violin, piano and even drums had good methods. Electric guitar was definitely in need of a good method so I made it my mission to develop one.
Paddington, NSW, Australia
"I really appreciate all the advice and encouragement you have given me over the past few months. This has been the best week so far and I made $900 this week which is amazing. People keep calling and book lessons and the challenge now is to stay focused to manage all the students that I have."
Brookline, MA, United states
“Last night I booked in my 70th student. That's 18 students I've booked in the last 5 days!”
"I was so impressed with the method I signed up almost immediately.The result - My income has increased by 33% approx. WITHOUT taking on any additional students, The teaching now at my school is all about David Hart’s (G4 Guitar ) method.
G4 GUITAR Membership starts from $250 per month and includes the following benefits;
- G4 GUITAR METHOD license – The right to print and use the method with your students.
- G4 Guitar branding - Permission to use the G4 GUITAR name when advertising your business. Conditions apply.
- Teaching resources - Access to our comprehensive online guitar teacher resources.
- Business Training - We share with you our time tested business plan, marketing plan and the general business advice to help you reach your income goals.
- Support - You can ask questions anytime via email or in our ‘Member Only’ group on Facebook. We are here to support you in whatever way you need to ensure your success.
- And More - There are many additional resources and benefits for members you'll discover on the inside.
If you want to learn more about becoming a G4 GUITAR teacher fill in your details below giving a brief introduction about yourself.