"Taking The Plunge" - Could you leave your day job to teach guitar full-time?

By James Ledley

That's exactly what I recently did. My name is James Ledley and I have been teaching (part-time in the evenings for the last 3 years.

I run JLG Guitar Tuition from my home in Lurgan N. Ireland. I thought I would give a bit of advice and hopefully inspiration to anyone out there thinking of starting up teaching full-time.

I am 35 years old and had been working in an Admin job "which I hated" since 1991, Over the last few years the urge to do something different grew stronger and stronger. I have been playing guitar from I was 17 years old and it was obvious where my real skills lay but the thought of taking this further and actually making a living from it seemed "crazy" especially to my family and friends.

I think I had thought seriously of teaching full-time for the last two years realising that I "needed" something more from my job and that I felt I was a good teacher and seemed to get a lot of positive feedback from students.

I had been visiting various websites including www.teachguitar.com looking for inspiration for the last few years - the founder of this site in particular Nick Minnon, was really helpful and gave me plenty of advice opening my eyes to just how many people actually do teach guitar for a living - just browsing the forums gave me a lot of "food for thought". He also has a useful teaching guide e-book and teaching resources available for download which are very useful.

I have found the experience (so far) to be a very steep learning curve and no two days are ever the same. Due to a bit of luck in that my cousin also teaches piano in some local schools, I have managed to get into a few local schools and this makes a weekly wage on top of the evenings lessons.

In my local area in Lurgan, Co. Armagh , N. Ireland, I realised I basically had the monopoly on teaching for a long time; callers would make it clear they "couldn't get anyone else" and at the start I was continually turning people away not having time in the evenings to accommodate them. I then decided to capitalise on this situation and expand the teaching business bit by bit from evenings to a few lessons on a Saturday morning.

I also undertook a Multimedia Course in a local College hoping to go into Graphic Design. This was a huge undertaking and lessons were cut back because of it but it was clear to myself and my wife that my heart was really in music.

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