View Full Version : To teach or not to teach

04-24-2010, 10:20 AM
So yesterday, I went to the shop where I bought my tenor and they had some brand-spankin-new Eleukes (came in yesterday--i'll post a different thread about that :drool:). Anyway, I was playing one of them in the amp room when I saw a mom and 2 kids come into the store. One of the kids had a uke gig bag strapped to his back. I decided just to stay in the room instead of going to talk to them (i was enjoying the Eleuke too much). After I was done, I went and talked to the guitar guys to see how much the Eleuke was, and the mom of the kids came up to me and said she heard me playing in the amp room and wanted to know if I would teach her son lessons. She also asked if I had a music degree (not sure where that would even help haha). I told her that even though I have a music degree, I've never taught. She begged and I gave her my contact info.

I guess he bought his uke in Hawaii (it was a Kala soprano--probably KA-S from the looks of it). They came in to make sure the setup was right and to buy uke books and a tuner.

I do want to spread the "Aloha" but I don't even know where to start to teach someone. I'm sure I can get him going and get him in the right direction, but is it worth it to teach for money? What does everyone think? Who here teaches uke?

If I like it enough, I may do this more. I guess I'm more nervous about getting started than anything.

04-24-2010, 10:27 AM
I'd do it without the degree.

04-24-2010, 11:43 AM
I taught guitar for a few years at a local music store. It can be both rewarding and frustrating...rewarding to watch folks learn and enjoy their instrument, and frustrating to see someone who is only there because their parents want them to take lessons but they don't practice during the week. It's more like a 30 minute babysitting session for the mom while she gets her nails done.

I would recommend the book Making Money Teaching Music, by David and Barbara Newsam, ISBN 1-58297-156-0. It addresses many of the things you'll encounter as a paid instructor, and help you avoid a lot of trial and error.

04-24-2010, 11:55 AM
I teach as a side gig (mostly guitar), and my one golden rule is: the student leads. I teach them what they want to learn. When they get the point of not knowing what to do next, then I give them some new stuff. But if they're happy, they'll play. I once got a kid into jazz who knew nothing about it. But for the most part, people know their own ambitions.

What it means is that sometimes you get led into areas YOU'RE not used to (6 months of Blink 182 spring to mind...), but I figure it keeps me informed and learning.

As a means of earning money and making a living, I can tell you that I know one guy who manages to do it, and he lives in constant fear of it all evaporating. And it almost did about 2 years ago. You need to be ready for lean weeks, months and even years.

But this MUST be the best time to become a ukulele teacher, what with ALL those beginners out there. ;)

04-24-2010, 07:25 PM
thanks for the info. like i said, i have no clue why she asked if i had a music degree. maybe she's hoping some of that rubs off on her son.

this won't be my only living. this will definitely be totally on the side. i think all two private lesson bassoon teachers i've had did it on the side too haha.