Classroom Management for Guitar Teachers: Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors

Classroom Management: Unexpected vs. Unexpected

Classroom Management for Group Guitar Instructors

What do you think separates a great group guitar teacher from an average one? Technical ability on the guitar? No. A lifetime of music theory? Nope. Two-handed tapping? Wrong.

The number one skill needed to be a rock star guitar instructor for kids is the ability to manage a class full of kids with guitars, amps, and a propensity towards obscene levels of distortion is classroom management.

Why Teach Group Guitar Classes in the First Place?

Group guitar classes are a great way to leverage your time, reach more students, and earn more money. Want to earn $100 an hour? No problem. All you need is 5-students at $20 a lesson. How about $200 an hour? Sure. All you need is 10-students at the same rate.

Although the math is easy, it’s not all about the money. Group guitar classes are also a great way to free up time. When I was teaching private lessons, my life was an endless blur of private guitar lessons. I was teaching around the clock. When I wasn’t with a private student, I was learning the songs they wanted to play on the guitar, so I could teach them the next week.

In short, it was an unsustainable business model. My solution: the Rock Dojo group guitar model.

Classroom Management: Expected vs. Unexpected

Once you organize group guitar classes, it’s essential those classes run smooth to ensure each child has a successful learning experience. That’s where classroom management comes in. When I first started teaching group guitar classes, I struggled with classroom management because I hated confrontation. If I had to call a parent over a child’s classroom behavior, I dreaded the phone call, and I felt like a failure as a teacher.

Fortunately, I discovered the expected vs unexpected classroom management model and adapted it for group guitar classes, and my classes have run like clockwork since.

What is an Expected and Unexpected Behavior

The system is simple. All you need is a pen, a clipboard, and a tally sheet. Whenever a student misbehaves, let him/her know it. “Mia, that was an unexpected behavior. No one is supposed to interrupt classmates during performances. You now have an unexpected point. If you get four more unexpected behaviors, you don’t get a piece of candy today.”

On the other hand, when a student follows the rules like answers a music theory question of demonstrates a musical concept on the guitar, he/she earns an expected point. In my classroom, eight expected points earn one piece of organic candy. The student with the most expected point gets two pieces of candy.

Just make sure you ask about allergies and clear it with the parents at the start of each quarter.

In short, the expected and unexpected behavior system is a great way to validate positive behavior, increase student engagement, and teach large groups of guitar students. Below is a short video clip of students behaving in an expected manner by teaching their less experienced classmates how to play power chords. If you listen closely, you will hear three groups of students encouraging one another in a respectful and positive manner.

The Rock Dojo will begin certifying teachers in our innovative teaching system soon! If you’re interested in bringing the Rock Dojo to your teaching studio, call us at (503) 484-6417. If you want to support the Rock Dojo, consider purchasing a Rock Dojo T-Shirt.