I have been playing classical guitar for over number of years and have a grade 8 practical in trinity. Sometime I have considered to teach some students but not sure whether I eligible to teach because even though I have passed the grade 2,6,8 I haven't have any merit or distinction.

If I am not going do some teaching, I will feel like I am missing something even though I can read and play the pieces and want to get some earning through it since life is hard. Also since I have the skill, it is better to share it than playing on my own.

Now, I am starting to learn violin for around 2 to 3 years. I would say myself in between beginning to intermediate level at least can get the intonation 70% to 90% right on the violin. Hopefully one day, I can teach violin as well, well I mean one day.

  • Check out 'How can you be sure your teacher-to-be is an accomplished musician?' on this site. The answers will give you some insight into your thoughts.
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2016 at 5:33
  • If you teach in your own home then the issue of qualifications are really only a issue between you and the parents / people who employ you.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 23, 2016 at 7:29
  • @NeilMeyer Pretty sure in the UK you need to check on the deeds for the house though. In some places you are not allowed to run a profit-making business or something along those lines.....
    – Aric
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:05
  • I know the nanny state is real in the UK, but surely no one can prevent you from teaching in your own home.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:49
  • 1
    @AricFowler this is anecdotal and I'm no lawyer, but I know PLENTY of UK tutors for music and other things who have never done any such thing, file for taxes as self employed, and have absolutely no problems. A quick google about private tutor legal requirements brings up nothing about this too. If you really want to get proper advice I'd phone the citizens advice bureau and I'm sure they'll put your mind at rest.
    – Some_Guy
    May 14, 2017 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


You don't need merit or distinction to teach Classical Guitar or any skill that you have developed some degree of proficiency in. I am not aware of any rules which would preclude you from teaching classical guitar as a private teacher.

You might not be able to get a salaried position at a music school or college, but you could hold yourself out as a private "Classical Guitar Teacher" (or Tutor or Instructor). If you have skills that are valuable and have enough understanding of technique and methods so that you don't set up students with bad habits - you might be able to teach those skills to others.

I say "might" because it's not enough to know how to do what you want to teach someone else to do. You must be able to communicate the proper techniques and methods in a manner that effectively facilitates assimilation of the information by the student. Not all great baseball players make good coaches and some of the best coaches in baseball were not the best players.

If you think you have the patience, and the ability to convey what you know to a beginner in a manner that they can digest and understand and execute, then try taking on a few beginning students and see if you can teach them something they find useful and valuable.

You might want to carefully consider and plan your approach to teaching and develop a philosophy that you and your students can embrace. Take into consideration what were the important building blocks that you had to master before moving on to more advanced techniques. Learning to play classical guitar requires learning some basic skills starting with things such as how to hold the guitar and where to place your picking and fretting hands. Of course the student must at some point be able to develop and demonstrate an ability to execute some simple basic finger picking patters.

You might invent a creative new method of teaching the basics that the new student must master, that might be more effective or more fun than the way you were taught.

If you want to give it a try, you might consider offering free lessons to some of your friends (or their friends) that are interested in learning. This will allow you to get a feel for how you like teaching, and how effectively you are able to get your message through and keep your students motivated to put in the necessary time and effort. If your students are successfully learning skills and making progress and you are able to get them excited about learning to play - you can eventually start asking them to pay what they can afford. And of course, once you discover that your talent for teaching is equal to (or superior to) your talent for playing classical guitar, you can get develop a syllabus or course outline and start soliciting paying students.

You might not be as knowledgeable or have the skills of some of the high level musicians who are out there - but if you can effectively convey the material from concept to mastery, while keeping the student engaged and help them develop a passion for learning to play better, then you will be a great teacher!

As Nike says - "just do it!"


Privately, in U.K. at least, there is no reason why anyone should not be allowed to teach. With or without qualifications. As Rockin intimates, start with friends, see how it goes. You'll either do it at home, in which case, a room ought to be set aside for it,and perhaps a waiting room for the next pupil or parents, or go visiting, where you'll meet all kinds of obstacles, like teaching in the kitchen, or with others watching t.v. That side of things didn't work for me. Also, the travelling ate into time drastically, and my resources weren't at hand.

As far as your own qualifications are concerned, grading doesn't tell a great deal. You have the experience to put others through a system that you know, if teaching for exams is on the cards. Your theory knowledge should be at least up to grade V, as required by your grade VIII pass. That is useful for when you get asked searching questions. Sometimes the answers may be evasive, but always find the correct ones for the next lesson! I take players through to grade VIII and beyond on guitar and bass, but have not done the exams myself. It's not a pre-requisite, but at the time, these exams didn't exist! (I have grade VIII pno along with other stuff though). Having said that, the question of my qualifications never gets asked.

You may want/need to be on a child protection register,have public liability insurance, etc., and this can be done by affiliating with a body such as RGT, which also has a ton of support for teachers - very useful when starting out.

Some folks are natural teachers, and find it easy. If you struggle, both in the lessons and motivating students, it's maybe a sign...

Another plus is that you'll probably get as much out of it as your students. It's said that teaching is also learning: everything made more sense to me when I taught it.

Given the parameters above, try it out, make lessons weekly rather than more spread out, be adaptable - everyone learns in different ways - keep a sense of humour, foil pushy parents, be prepared to be astounded!

  • A good teacher will learn from his students as it has been mentioned to me.
    – Neil Meyer
    May 14, 2017 at 11:40

Guitar for teaching is a bit different than let's say piano or violin. For those instruments, you really do need some sort of conserve training to teach effectively. There are real pitfalls to improper technique in those instruments and you really need a thorough understanding on there playing before you can teach.

Guitar is very much different. Although you can play classical music on the guitar, its tradition lies much more firmly in the realm of popular and folk music. This is especially true for the electric versions of the instrument.

This is reflected in the type of music guitar teachers have to teach. As a teacher, for the most part, you have to teach the styles and music that your learners want to play.

So many people that take up guitar don't want to become professional musicians, many just want to be able to play a few acoustic renditions of their favourite songs. It has been my experience that half the guitar students don't even bother to ask me about my qualifications.

Also really what university programs are there for the non classical guitarist? There is the Guitar Institute of Technology in California and there is the London Centre for Contemporary Music in the UK, but still you don't have many choices.

So don't worry too much about the qualifications. I personally doubt if Joe Satriani has any guitar qualifications and he was Kirk Hammet's teacher.

Grade 8 Trinity is by itself not a bad qualification. If I can give you some advice really consider to Trinity's teacher diplomas. They are a big investment in time, but the teaching methodology that you learn in that qualification is an excellent resource for the young, aspiring teacher.

  • RGT have diploma courses for electric, acoustic, classical guitar - perormer and teacher. Rockschool also, I believe. However, since the OP has reached grade VIII in classical guitar, it's reasonable to assume that he will want to teach that rather than any other style.
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2016 at 8:28
  • The OP is only asking about classical guitar. Whilst a lot of what you say is true - lots of budding guitarists want to learn different styles other than classical, that's all the question involves. RGT has recently amalgamated with LCCM.
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2016 at 10:26
  • 1
    It is not impossible for a classical guitarist to teach rock guitar.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:50
  • I think of myself has a lot of disadvantages, like shyness... I not actually a rocky guy as well... Aug 23, 2016 at 22:24
  • 1
    @NeilMeyer - whilst it's not impossible, it is improbable. The techniques involved in each are so diverse from each other, they could be regarded as different instruments. To a greater degee, they are!
    – Tim
    May 14, 2017 at 12:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.