The past two years have seen an explosion in the ways that musicians can teach online. Why give lessons in your local music store when you can make more money teaching people online from the comfort of your own home? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Guitar teachers like Justin Sandercoe and Marty Schwartz have developed huge YouTube followings by using the video platform to offer free lessons to learners around the world. While you can get your own channel up and running in no time there is a real art to building the kind of views and subscribers necessary to generate significant ad revenue. If you want to learn how to teach music on YouTube check out this excellent Creator Playbook.
It’s still early days at Google’s fledgling social network but a number of teachers are already using the Google+ Hangout feature to provide one-on-one lessons, group lessons and Q&A sessions. The ability to then automatically upload those lessons to YouTube is very useful and my sources at Google say that a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to integrate YouTube and Google+. However the chances of Google+ replacing your in-person teaching any time soon is pretty remote but it’s worth investing the energy now to build up a following. To learn more join the Guitar Lessons community page on Google+ to meet some of the teachers there.
A while back lots of teachers were creating online method books using sites like e-junkie and Amazon’s CreateSpace. Apart from the issue with copyright the trend is for eBooks to be used as giveaways to build your email list. My suggestion is to either use ebooks as a giveaway or sell them as part of a bigger bundle (Video Course + eBook).
Self-Hosted e-Learning Sites
There are a hundred and one ways to create your own e-learning site and at some point I hope to put together a guide on the subject. In the meantime I would only suggest building your own site if you are comfortable with the technology side of things. Whenever I speak to music teachers who want to teach online I always suggest that they find the solution which allows them to spend the most amount of time teaching and the least time coding. Having said that if you do want to take on the task then I would go for a combination of WordPress (CMS), Buddypress (social/community), WishlistMember (membership), 1ShoppingCart (cart), OptimizePress (landing pages) and Hostgator (hosting).
Hosted e-Learning Solutions
Let’s say you don’t want to spend hours building your own e-learning site from the ground up. That’s where sites like Knoodle, SubHub and Membergate come in. They offer an all-in-one solution on a per-monthly subscription basis. As we are still in the early stages of the online education revolution there exists on the one side, big bloated LMS’ (learning management systems) and on the other side, bare-bones membership site platforms.
Online Music Education Publishers
Sites like GuitarTricks and GuitarMasterclass are always looking for new instructors. One of the quickest ways of starting to teach online is to contact an existing site and offer to become a teacher. This way you don’t have to worry about servers, site designs and marketing and can focus 100% of your time on teaching and interacting with students. The downside is that you’ll receive a smaller share of any revenues you generate.
Online Learning Platforms
Sites like Udemy.com and Lynda.com give you the ability to create your own online courses although both are very general and might not have some of the functionality that music teachers would desire. Udemy is striving to become like a blogging network where anyone can create their own course. The downside of this is that the quality of the teachers varies greatly and the marketing is on you. Lynda on the other hand curates the content, markets your course and actually works with you to build a detailed and progressive lessons list.
OK, so full disclosure here. I work with the team at ArtistWorks so I may be a little biased. However ArtistWorks has not only created one of the most amazing platforms to learn music online but also has some of the biggest names in music education. Award-winners including Nathan East, Billy Cobham, Paul Gilbert, Martin Taylor and Tony Trischka as well as leading professors from Juilliard and Curtis all teach music online at ArtistWorks. Each of the music instructors film a comprehensive video curriculum and subscribers can not only watch the video lessons but also receive personalized video feedback from their teacher. ArtistWorks also handles all the technology, customer service and marketing to allow the teachers to focus their time on actually teaching and interacting with their students online.
Do you teach music? What questions do you have about teaching music online? Please add them to the comments below and I’ll answer as best I can.