Q&A: Simon Devlin

Hattie Fisk
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

With 40 years’ experience of teaching the guitar, the CEO of Become A Music Teacher Simon Devlin is lending his business nous to music teachers up and down the country. Hattie Fisk finds out more

HF: How did you first start teaching music?

SD: After working in sales and marketing I got to the stage in my life where I wanted to do something new. I was constantly asked to teach guitar to people as I could play to a decent standard, so I decided to knock all the business side of things on the head and get into music teaching. I had a lot of experience in IT (as I am from the sector) and I grew my business in about six months to a state where I was achieving as much revenue as when I was working for some of these big companies, purely through teaching guitar.

HF: Where did you go from there?

SD: I certainly wasn't the cheapest music instructor, and I certainly wasn't the best, but I had more clientele than most of the other teachers around me. So, I set up a number of my friends with the things I had put in place in my own practice, and within a few months they achieved a major amount of success, and probably increased their income three- or four-fold! It was amazing to see, and I suddenly thought: I am onto something here.

HF: Is that how Become A Music Teacher was formed?

SD: Essentially, yes! I developed a whole business for people who either wanted to get into music teaching, or people who wanted help getting more students in, or getting a DBS check, or help with their marketing and so on. It started with guitar teaching (which covers bass guitar), and then expanded to also include drum teaching (encompassing hand drumming, acoustic drum kits and percussion), piano, and singing lessons. We also launched a certified accreditation for music teachers: anyone can take it and there are different levels for different experiences and abilities, which are all available through the website.

HF: What can people learn from you that they aren't learning on the job?

SD: Musicians are usually great at their talent; however, some may stumble when marketing themselves. We can certainly help local students connect with teachers through our marketing and design team. Also, when you set up a business, you want to make sure you are legitimate and not breaking any laws, and we go through that too. Whether it is help with accounting, the child safety side of teaching, health and safety, or even becoming DBS certified, we can help.

HF: Does Become A Music Teacher provide any practical resources for lessons?

SD: Yes, we have a virtual hub of tens of thousands of lesson plans. Teachers share their own lesson plans online as part of our community, which has formed a bank of information about what works and what doesn't. You really don't need to plan for future lessons, as we have teaching structures which are easy to use, and video lessons on how to teach various elements.

HF: What are your top three tips for increasing your student pool as a music teacher?

SD: Know who your market is. That sounds like a ridiculous answer, but it is hugely important with your website, cards and posters. Secondly, make sure that not only you have fun during your lessons, but your students do too. If you make it too rigid it puts people off and they will come for a few weeks and then disappear. Make sure it is fun and what they want to do – there is no point someone coming to me wanting to learn classical guitar and I teach them heavy metal, and vice versa. And thirdly, come and join our community at Become A Music Teacher!

Become A Music Teacher is offering up to a 50% reduction to the sign-up fee to any MT readers who wish to join before 1 May 2022. To take up this offer email mtm@BecomeAMusicTeacher.com and state which instrument you wish to teach.

BAMT is looking at franchising out to different English-speaking countries – if you are interested in joining the team then contact Simon via the email below. For more information visit www.BecomeAMusicTeacher.com or email info@BecomeAMusicTeacher.com