Seeing My Students Improve Makes Me Love What I Do

Malcolm Callus

Guitar Teacher

As a music teacher, Malcolm loves that he can guide his students towards becoming not just better guitarists but better musicians. In 2015 Malcolm turned to Bidvine to boost his business so he could continue to do just that.

Today, 40% of Malcolm’s clients come from Bidvine and he’s had such success with it that he’s referred fellow guitarists to sign up as well. In our conversation with Malcolm, he shared tips on everything from how to choose which requests to bid on to key aspects customers should look for when hiring a music teacher.

You Teach Classical, Electric, and Bass Guitar as well as The Ukulele. Which is Your Favourite Instrument to Teach?

When teaching what matters most regardless of the instrument is for the student to listen to my guidance as their learning facilitator. That’s what’s most important for their success, whatever the instrument they play. So my fave instrument to teach depends on the student—it is more rewarding to teach students who listen closely to and put into effect what they are being taught.

What is a Key Aspect of Becoming a Good Music Teacher?

A good teacher is someone that teaches students how to learn on their own. Some students can rely too much on their teacher. However, when students are learning on their own they actually tend to be more motivated because they are doing it for themselves.

Photo credit: Cool Gool Music

Do You Usually Teach Beginner or More Advanced Students?

It’s a mix. Some students come to me as complete beginners. Others come to me as intermediate players. Then I have some students who are advanced players now who originally came to me as beginners.

Sometimes, I have students or musicians who come to me when music is just a hobby for them. Then, after working with me, this love for their instrument grows and becomes something more serious rather than just a hobby.

Why Did You Decide to Sign up to Bidvine?

I signed up to Bidvine because it seemed like a good idea. I liked the concept that you would bid with a few other competitors and then the client would choose the one they liked most. When you’re bidding against just a few other pros it’s not as big a competition and you have a realistic chance of winning the job.

What is Important to Include When You’re Writing a Bid?

You should include your specialities. You can’t just say “I teach certain things” and then expect people to come to you if you are just maybe slightly better than them. Your specialities and qualifications make you stand out. Then, you should also link to your profile to show them other students’ reviews.

Photo credit: Cool Gool Music

What Role do Reviews Play in Succeeding on Bidvine?

Reviews are something that people look for. When one is looking to hire someone, they care about what they are going to get. Reviews allow them to see the results that other students have experienced.

It goes beyond just showing them your qualifications. I have my musical achievements and certificates hanging up on my wall and listed on my Bidvine profile, which is always nice but ultimately what people care about is how others before them experience lessons.

What is The Best Way to Get Reviews?

You need to ask students to give you reviews because they might not realise how important these are in helping to grow your business. However, people don’t like receiving too many emails. So don’t bombard them with emails asking for reviews. Just ask them politely once they’ve been working with you for a while and when they know they are happy with your teaching and their progress.

Photo credit: Cool Gool Music

What Should a Customer Look For When Reading a Bid?

Customers should look for pros’ experience and the different types of services that the service providers are offering. So, in my case a customer could look at the different prices I offer for different types of lessons. For instance, I provide individual face-to-face or online lessons of half an hour or 50 minutes, and 17 different type of group lessons split by level, style and age. I’ve got a different price for each of these so customers can choose the service that works best for them.

How do You Select Which Requests to Bid on?

I have 3 criteria which influence the requests I bid on. The first is availability as it is useless to bid unless I am available on the same day they are free. Secondly, I put myself in their shoes, and check the proximity from theirs to mine. So if it is going to take them more than 30mins to reach me, I will probably not bid. Thirdly, I consider whether they have an instrument or not. In my experience, some who don’t have one already are less likely to be serious about signing up for lessons (we sadly live in a world where people get trigger happy with their apps before even going down to their local shop to check instrument prices). So I only bid on requests where I can tell the students have done their ‘groundwork.’

What is The Most Fulfilling Part of Being a Guitar Teacher?

Seeing other people improve their skills in something they are passionate about and making themselves better musicians. Through my lessons with them, my students become better musicians not just better guitarists. That’s very important for me as a teacher and it’s why I love to do what I do.

See more about Malcolm:

Cool Gool Music, London, UK

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