One thing I’ve been asked regularly since launching my TopMusicPro membership five years ago is: “I’m a guitar/vocal/trumpet/drum (insert non-keyboard instrumental) teacher… where is my Top Music membership?”.
Until now, I’ve only been able to sympathise with them and say, “I’m sorry but there just isn’t much out there, non-piano teachers”.
The reality is, piano teachers are spoilt for choice. There are far more podcasts, online resources, lesson plans, ideas, downloads, games, training courses, masterclasses and method books for piano teachers versus any other instrument.
And let’s not get started on repertoire! The amount of repertoire – both ‘classical’ and modern – far outpaces those available for any other instrument.
It’s just how it’s always been.
I can only assume that’s due to piano’s popularity as one of the most-learnt instruments in the world. It’s definitely not because keyboard instruments have been around for the longest… that gong (pardon the pun) goes to flutes, recorders, trumpets and the like.
Clearly it’s not because it’s the easiest to play – that prize would have to go to the triangle (kidding, percussionists).
So I can only imagine that it’s about popularity and cultural connection. It’s almost part of western culture that many kids will learn the piano because their parents did, and there’s an instrument collecting dust in the corner of the old living room.
And now, it’s very much a part of Eastern culture too with 40 million children in China alone taking piano lessons.
As a passionate pianist and piano teacher myself, it was natural that TopMusicPro would focus on this instrument from its inception. However, I’ve always dreamed of supporting teachers of all instruments in the same way we do for piano.
Ever since people started watching my videos and reading my blog back in 2010, I’ve wanted to help music teachers be the most inspiring, fun, creative teachers they can be and enjoy their teaching as much as I was.
Many teachers with classical backgrounds lacked the confidence and skills to teach chords, pop and improvisation, which were becoming more and more vital for student retention every year.
And of those, many were still manually invoicing students and losing hours a week on tedious admin and billing tasks.
Music teachers also commonly struggled with marketing and weren’t charging nearly enough or raising their rates.
Further, I knew that many of the instrumental music teachers of the world feel isolated and lonely when working from home day in, day out.
And so we created TopMusicPro membership to be the place that piano teachers could come to connect with other teachers, get their questions answered and engage in important continuing professional education through our training courses, webinars and workshops.
But ever since we launched, I’ve realised that there are tens of thousands of other teachers out there around the world who don’t teach piano but still need the same support.
Guitar and piano teachers interestingly have some similarities in approach.
Many piano and guitar teachers are constricted by approaches from the classical tradition. We both teach (or should teach) via chords as well as melody/reading. Both are harmonic instruments capable of accompaniments and chordal textures. Both are made of strings and wood (!)… OK, now I’m scraping the barrel.
But there are also differences:
Guitar is the second most popular instrument in the world right after piano and is only increasing in popularity due to its size, affordability and dominating presence in contemporary music for almost 100 years.
While the guitar becomes increasingly popular, the way guitar has been taught remains largely the same as it was a century ago, leaving many uninspired students and countless teachers feeling frustrated. Many teachers are looking for help and guidance. Students worldwide deserve a higher standard of education. – Michael Gumley (meet him below)
I know that it’s not just piano teachers who struggle with:
So it’s always played on my mind that we haven’t been able to focus our energies on the vagaries of teaching other instruments.
That is, until today.
Because today marks the countdown to the launch of TopMusicGuitar!
TopMusicGuitar is the new flagship TopMusicPro guitar program, which we’ve been working on for months. Our goal is to support guitar teachers around the world in the same way we’ve created community and support for piano teachers.
We’ve already been hard at work creating lesson plans, courses and business-related material specific to the challenges of teaching guitar, and led by the new Head of Guitar, Michael Gumley.
Michael Gumley is founder and head teacher at Melbourne Guitar Academy, one of Australia’s leading guitar schools, and creator of Guitar Dojo Online and Guitar Ninjas.
He rocked his start at guitar playing at age 15 and was instantly hooked. He then completed a VCE Music and studied music performance at university. Michael brings his passion for music and love of all things guitar to every lesson, and seeks to help students capture that same excitement and wonder on their own journeys.
Michael shares exactly the same mission for teachers as we do here at TopMusicCo, which is why he’s such a great fit for launching and running this program. As Michael said to me in an email soon after we met at Piano Pivot Live:
“The end goal is to share my passion for teaching and guitar with as many people as possible. This means students should have more fun in lessons, become more engaged and ensure they get a lifelong musical journey rather than a quickly abandoned course of study with uninspiring lessons.”
So here’s our goal with TopMusic Guitar:
To raise the standard of guitar education worldwide by equipping teachers with better knowledge, communication skills and business know-how, which in turn creates a more fulfilling learning experience and better outcomes for their students.
We’ll also be working on the business skills of guitar teachers, just as we’ve been doing for piano teachers:
To help improve your Financial IQ, personal development skills and business mindset so you can envision and create your ideal life. Then you’ll enjoy spending the prime hours of your day playing music instead of having to ‘suffer for art’ or fit your calling into the hours left after a 9-5.
TopMusicGuitar is a new sub-category of membership inside the current TopMusicPro ecosystem, which is our paid membership for music teachers.
The membership platform will remain the same, and teachers will soon be able to declare a main primary instrument – guitar or piano.
As we near our official launch and opening of the membership for guitar teachers (as well as piano!), we’d love to connect with you.
Click here to be the first to know about launch details and our exciting Guitar Webinar.
And we are really keen to learn what you think!
What would you like us to create with guitar offerings?
How would you like help with about guitar teaching?
Let us know in the comments.
Lastly, if you’re a guitar teacher or you know someone who is, please share this article with them so that we can help get the word out about this exciting new development.
As you can tell, we’re super excited about the potential for supporting guitar teachers from November 2021, but what about teachers of other instruments and voice?
When will we be there for you too?
Well, we’re delighted to let you know that we’re planning to support teachers of other instruments in the near future. So if you’re a multi-instrument teacher, we’d like to hear from you. Where should we go next?
If you’d like to have a say in our quick 1-question survey, click here.
And let’s hear your questions or comments! Leave your thoughts below and/or over on any of our social media channels.
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.