If you are a music instructor, you should know that offering online courses can increase your income and expand your teaching options. In today’s LMScast Joshua Millage and Christopher Badgett discuss how to sell music lessons online.
Music lessons are especially suitable for online courses, as so much of music training consists of hours of concentrated practice after the student has been shown a new technique. Music training is also a step-by-step building process, and teaching it online can be as effective as teaching in person. Your greatest advantage with online instruction is that you can teach more students in less time than you can in person.
There are already a significant number of music instructors presenting online courses in a variety of ways with demonstrated success. You can produce a complete online training course series that takes students from beginner to advanced training, or you can use online teaching resources as an extension of your in-person instruction. Building online courses — especially for music — is not hard to do, so your primary question might be why you should consider trying it yourself.
How many more students could you reach if you could meet with each of them for just an hour a week in person, and supply them with resource materials online for their practice sessions the rest of the week? This way they have the benefit of your personal hands-on direction to show them a technique, and then they can practice on their own using a course outline that employs audio, video, musical notation, and drills, plus testing and incentives to signify their progress. Then you can evaluate their new skills in your next in-person session, determine what their next steps should be, and refer them to appropriate online training for their next week of practice.
Online courses also allow you to connect with students worldwide that you otherwise could not teach. With a complete course series you can share your musical knowledge and passion with students who might not otherwise have that opportunity. You can even do live instruction on the internet through your learning management system.
Beginners are often overlooked in online instruction. Offering a free online introductory lesson for aspiring musicians is a great way to demonstrate your teaching style and expertise and to get prospective students excited about taking lessons with you. For more advanced students you could offer banks of jam session audio and video demonstrations for them to encourage improvisation. This way you can add variety to their practice sessions and boost their engagement.
An added benefit for you is the income you will generate through your online courses. A complete course development platform like our LifterLMS WordPress learning management system plugin lets you build courses from content you already have and uses an intuitive and creative process for you. And the system handles your marketing and sales for you, so you can focus on your students and the music itself.
You can learn how to create and sell music lessons online quickly and easily, and you can start right now by trying a demo of LifterLMS. See for yourself what it can do for you and your students.
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And if you’re an already successful expert, teacher or entrepreneur looking to grow, check out the LifterLMS team’s signature service called Boost. It’s a complete done for you set up service where your learning platform goes live in just 5 days.
Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m Joshua Millage. I’m joined today with Christopher Badgett. Before we get into it Chris, one of the things that I love to do is chat with people, and I’ve realized we never told people our Twitter handles. It’s kind of crazy, right? I am @jmillage.
Christopher: I am @chrisbadgett.
Joshua: You can always hit us up at @lifterlms too, but I think if you’re driving in the car and we said something that prompted you to ask a question, hit us up @jmillage, @chrisbadgett, @lifterlms. We’re very responsive on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you. We both interact in that way. I had an epiphany, Chris. It probably takes people a minute to pull over the car, go to LMScast.com, register to leave a comment, it’s too much work for them, but Twitter is a little easier.
Christopher: Absolutely. We want to make episodes about exactly what you want us to make an episode about, so just let us know and we’ll make an episode just for you.
Joshua: Exactly, exactly. Cool. Today’s episode is all about how to bring your content online if you’re a music teacher. The reason that I wanted to create a piece of content around this or an episode around this is because myself and my head of growth at LifterLMS have called every single customer over the past month and tried to connect. We can’t always get everyone on the phone, but I’d say we got about 10-15% of people who bought on the phone.
A majority of them, a lot of them were music teachers, which surprised me, so I think there’s a huge opportunity for music teachers to bring their training online as either a value add to their in-person music lessons that they give or to go fully online so that they can travel around the world. One of my favorite LifterLMS customers, Doug, is a music teacher I believe in Florida, and he’s using LifterLMS to do things. It’s exciting stuff.
I think music’s interesting, because I’ve played guitar, classical, upright bass, and piano my whole life, and the thing is, as I go back to my early days, it would have been so useful to have an in-person lesson which happened every Tuesday, I think after school, and between that Tuesday and the following Tuesday have sub-lessons or things that I could have gone online and watched to continue my craft because it gets boring to practice the same thing over and over and over and over again, so to have some variation.
The other thing that would have been cool too is to have just jam tracks where music teachers are just playing a bass loop line or something and then me when I was practicing solo guitar could solo over that so I could flip his track on and be essentially playing with my teacher but doing it over the internet. That fires me up man. That’s cool stuff. What about you, Chris? What do you think about this?
Christopher: Well, I think I’d start with the why. If you’re asking yourself how to teach music lessons online with WordPress, why do it? I think the motivation is there, because music teachers can make more money if they create a scalable online product, so there’s the money driver, but then the other driver is just being able to teach worldwide.
I have a friend who teaches music lessons online through Skype from Hawaii. I don’t know where all his students are, and he also teaches live in person at the local music place. It’s not like you have to give up your in-person classes. It’s also just a way to augment, to make more money and reach more people and create more impact or maybe supplement your live teachings that are already going on. I think that’s the big why.
Joshua: Yeah, I think so too. I think you’re right and I think that it adds more value and it gives the teacher more flexibility. It’s a double whammy in terms of what it can do for people. I want to give something very tactical, like a step by step. Is that okay with you?
Joshua: Yeah, because I’ve got this in my head. I think for music teachers, the first step is to get, in my opinion, the fundamentals down. I might speak specifically to the style of guitar that I played, but I’ll let the audience modify it for their own use cases and what they want to teach. I played solo guitar. I was a solo scale like Jimi Hendrix style guitar player. I’m not a rhythm guitar player. A lot of that training happened from two places. One was learning the basics, learning certain skills, pentatonic scales, so forth, blues scales and that sort of thing. In this example, if you created a course around pentatonic scales, that would be a killer course. It’d be a killer course that you could sell for 30, 40, 50 bucks, maybe more, and then at the same time …
Christopher: It would be entirely passive, right?
Christopher: That one doesn’t necessarily have to have a live or blended interactive …
Joshua: No, because a pentatonic scale is a pentatonic scale is a pentatonic scale. I think that you could create that sort of course, you could put it out there and structure it and then what I think would have been good is add assessments. This is how you can make it different than someone who could go to YouTube and find that, because that information is available on YouTube, but adding in an assessment and asking, “If you’re at this position, and you want to switch to this position, what’s the progression?” Instigating them to internalize the information would be really good. I think giving them badges, so you’re the pentatonic scale master after they complete it. That would be really, really cool.
Christopher: I love the niche focus of that idea of just pentatonic scales.
Christopher: There’s totally a market for that.
Joshua: You could go to your in-person classes and say, “Hey, I do lessons for 50 bucks an hour or something like that, but I also have if you sign up in a package and you buy four lessons at once, I’ll give you free access to all my online library,” or you could structure the business in such a way that I have regular lessons, I have premium lessons, premium lessons are 70 bucks instead of 50, but you get these at-home, online lessons too. As long as you’re coming in here paying 70 bucks instead of 50, you’ll have online …
Christopher: You get the membership.
Joshua: You get the membership and then you can revoke access if they stopped and that sort of thing. That would be pretty cool. The other thing in addition to that is I would have a course called Blues Jamming or Rock Jamming and it would just be a bunch of 5 to 10 minutes where the teacher is just recording himself jamming out. Maybe he’s using garage band to put a bass track down or a rhythm guitar track down, and then he’s playing drums over it or something, and he just posts these ten 20-minute tracks where then the student at home could jam with him.
That to me, when I was learning how to play solo guitar, that’s where I learn, because a lot of that, yeah you learn the tactics and the scales and all that, but you really got to feel it. How do you feel it? Well, you feel it by playing with people. Well, you can’t always just drop a hat and play with people, especially if you’re a kid at home and it’s midnight and you can’t have your friends over. You can’t even play that loud, but you could totally put in your headphones and plug in your guitar to a little amp and run it on through your headphones and just be rocking out, and everyone in the house isn’t hearing you. You got to give that value. Those would just be like … If I was a music teacher, that’s how I would start. I’d start focusing down. Then of course you’ve got those super basic intro courses.
Christopher: Beginners’ markets are huge.
Joshua: I would be more inclined to give some of that away, like really push the free line on the beginner stuff. There’s someone who I really look up to, Jermaine Griggs, who’s a big Infusionsoft user, and he gives a How to Play By Ear course away for free, but he talks about it when he’s like at the end of that video, which is a 15-minute video, you can be able to hear – like walk up to a keyboard and play Amazing Grace. It was like boom, done. You can actually do that. You gave them a song that they could go home and sit in front of their family and friends and play. That’s so valuable.
Jermaine is like, “Hey I’ve got this $7 deal or $20 deal,” and he has an ascension model. It starts out with only offering low priced items and upsell, upsell, upsell, upsell, upsell. They’re like seven bucks. What’s seven bucks? That’s like coffee or a little bit more. Here in California at the coffee shops I go to, it’s a coffee.
I think hopefully that’s useful to the music teachers who are out there, but there’s so much you can do. With a product like LifterLMS driving it, you can do all that. You could create one-off courses and sell them. You can group them in memberships. You could give away coupon codes so that people could get those memberships for free for a certain amount of time and that sort of thing. You could really add a huge component to your in-person classes or in-person training or you could just forget that component altogether and do it all online, which is what some guys are doing. What do you think man? Is that a good idea?
Christopher: Totally, totally.
Christopher: As we’re talking about the music teacher niche, I’m just thinking about why they’re such a good niche and I think what it comes down to is anybody who’s learning to play an instrument or learning to sing or whatever, if you’re a teacher of music, you’re used to the marathon. It’s not something you master in one shot or one class. Music teachers are uniquely positioned from their experience to make a course about step one, a course about step two. They’re just really used to teaching slowly, because it takes a long time to develop musical talent, which also means there’s a lot of opportunity for course material there.
Christopher: Go ahead.
Joshua: All I would say is it’s so easy. People often ask, “How do you create courses?” It’s just running a parallel line of thought next to what you’re already doing. What you’re already doing is you’re meeting people, you’re training them, so all you have to do is you need to activate a second parallel line of thought saying, “Why did I do that, and how do I capture it? Why did I teach them that way, and how do I capture that in a different medium whether that’s audio, video, or text?” Once you start to capture those, you’re good to go.
Christopher: Yeah. Awesome. Well, I would encourage everybody to head on over to demo.lifterlms.com to see what it’s all about. One other thing, we’re constantly evolving the product based on customer feedback, and one of the things people have asked for is to have a little mini sample course setup on install so that they can start tweaking it right away and learn it by looking at an example that’s already there. I believe our example is going to actually be how to play piano, like a really short basic course.
Joshua: That’s great.
Christopher: If you’re a music teacher, and you want to get in there and get rolling, we’ve even got a sample course for you to start with.
Joshua: Sweet. All right. Well, until next time. We’ll see you then.