So earlier this year, I made the move to live in thailand for 6 months of the year. This has been a dream of mine since I learned you could actually design your own life. I loved my life in New Zealand and was very comfortable. but, maybe just a little too comfortable. I wanted to get away and concentrate on what was to be my next 'upgrade' version of me.
I had 3 main objectives.....
1. Get my health back on track (another post will cover the reason)
2. Build the 'Mark TheGuitarGuy' brand online.
3. Finish my 'Dust & Gold' Album ready for sale.
One of the plans I decided on was to get back into teaching guitar, but I had a real barrier when it came to doing Skype lessons. Basically I wasn't convinced that it would work as a medium for teaching guitar. So for years I'd avoided teaching via Skype....I had a bunch of reasons! Here are just a few...
1. I thought that the inability to reach out and physically adjust peoples technique would be a major issue.
2. The connection between teacher and student would either not exist or be hindered too much.
3. The use of teaching resources like chord charts, scale shapes, songs and TAB would be an issue.
4. People would struggle with the technology and we'd spend entire sessions trying to sort those issues out.
5. Payment would be a problem.
6. Timezones would be a problem.
7. No-one thinks that Skype lessons are any use.
I decided to at least give it a go and see if anyone was interested. And I would have to sort out any issues as I went. I posted a video and Facebook post letting everyone know that I was looking for students and that I was offering the first lesson for FREE!
This was because, in the past this made people "bite the bullet"and "push the GO button" on getting a lesson with me....I mean, what have you got to lose right?
Actually, I know how scary it is to make the decision to do a lesson. Even more if it's someone you've been following on YouTube for a while.
If it was free, then people couldn't complain if it turned out all the above negatives actually were true.
My thinking was, if the lessons were 65% as good as face to face, then it's worthwhile.
So?.......Is it any good?
A HUGE YES!!!!
My first few lesson were actually pretty hard work....I was still learning how Skype worked myself, and I had issues with internal microphones etc. But once they were sorted it was incredible how useful it was to be able to teach. It wasn't just me that was impressed with how effective it was, my students were also blown away. My favourite comment was from a student I taught in New Zealand face to face who admitted he was sceptical if the lessons would be worthwhile on Skype since we weren't face to face in the same room. We both agreed it was actually about 80-95% as good as face to face...
There are the occasional sessions where we experience a little lag time or screen freeze, but all in all it's been very reliable. Also it's enabled me to be very streamlined in providing resources like Chord shapes, charts etc. The message (speech bubble icon) aspect has been amazing! I can write in ideas, chord progressions, tips, song ideas, strumming patterns and more instantly and on the fly. I can text live/on the fly or after the less with suggestions for the week. I can add images or files easily. Best of all I can 'screen share'...meaning I can enable them to see my screen and use the mouse to show any areas to look at etc. I can easily see and hear the student. I can diagnose any technical problems immediately. I can give feedback on things that I love about what the student is doing, and they get to 'hear' how they are going.
I've made some new friends all over the world thanks to Skype and Youtube. It's not always about the business of teaching guitar. We are human beings and all share fears and concerns, so half the battle is a mental and emotional one. It's a calling for me and I aim to heal anyone willing to be helped through learning and mastering the guitar.
I'm looking for more International students, so don't be afraid to enquire about getting a free 30 minute lesson with me NOW! I'm surprisingly inexpensive too. My Facebook page has a 'Book Now' button that'll take you through the process...honestly I'm so excited about the effectiveness of the lessons I'm making a real push for my followers to try it out.