Meet Tim Bischof
We’ve got some pretty amazing teachers in our network. Every few weeks, we are going to feature an instructor or shop who’s caught our eye. This week, we’re talking about Tim Bischof, an EA certified instructor out of Newberg, Oregon.
Watch a video about Tim’s business here.
Take a look at this great interview Tim did with our partner, TakeLessons.com:
What/Who inspired you to start your own business?
I had a love for guitar at a very early age. My uncle Jerry used to play and he helped me get started giving me my first Mel Bay guitar book. Over the years, I learned mostly thru video instructional and self-study. I tried out some guitar lessons but was unhappy with how most lessons were being taught. Questions were left unanswered because ‘time was up’. There didn’t seem to be a smooth transition to end each lesson. I wasn’t able to challenge what I was being taught. So I decided that once I knew guitar well, I would teach in a way that encouraged the musician to help structure their lessons to fulfill what they desired to get out of it. I have always worked fairly independent jobs and enjoy the entrepreneurial work. So this is my dream come true. Now working with over hundreds of clients through the years, I get to run my own business, doing what I love and helping encourage others to love it as well. But in it, they are sure to get what they want out of the guitar lessons. It is always a win-win!
What was the greatest challenge that you encountered along the way?
The greatest challenge I have faced so far was a student whose parents wanted him to learn different material than he wanted to learn. I had to find a compromise where I was teaching what his parents desired for him, so they would let him continue to take lessons on the instrument he loved. But I had to make it fun for the student or he was not going to apply himself to his playing. So I found a way to teach the theory that his parents wanted him to learn, but to make it fun for him by incorporating songs he loved into the lessons. It was a win-win for the parents and the student. I was able to do what I love: to encourage another student to love the guitar, while improving his playing skills.
How would you describe your usual clients?
There really is no ‘usual client’ when it comes to Don’t Give Up Guitar. I have children and adult students. Their levels of experience range from those who are brand new on the guitar to those who have been playing for years. I have one family where their 7 year old is taking lessons, their teenager, and the father. There are no limits when it comes to teaching guitar. If the student has a desire to learn, then I can teach them!
What do you think is the most effective strategy to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your services?
Each student gets a free consult before we begin lessons. This allows me to get a feel for their level of experience, and gives them a taste of my teaching style. Then we can see if it’s a good fit. I also allow each student to help guide the lessons. I do not set a strict agenda and force them to follow along. They get to give input as to what they want to learn. I will suggest certain lessons based on their skill level, their understanding of theory, etc. But I always allow the student to change the direction of the lessons to ensure they get what they want out of it, and that they continue to love playing. So for instance, if one student is learning difficult theory for several weeks, we may take a week out to teach them a song they love, so they are encouraged to keep on with the theory. This allows them to begin to see how the theory is so critical and makes a heart connection by playing music they love. I always ensure there is an open feedback loop with the student (and parents). Asking them how I am doing and what they want done differently, is critical in order to adjust my teaching to the style that works for the student. Also, the lesson does not end when they go home. If a student has a question between lessons, they are encouraged to call or email me to get it answered. I do not want a student to feel that they are not being heard or responded to.
What was your most favorite and successful project?
My favorite project was making my first CD with a wonderful friend who has since passed away. In college, he majored in music and I was interested in making a CD. We worked together for months to get the recordings just right. We spent many hours in my garage with blankets up for sound barriers, etc. It was so fun working with a friend and doing what I love. And in the end we had recorded my first album. I have so many wonderful memories. I will never forget the experience or the friend! With regards to lessons, my favorite experience is when I get to see a student go from minimal guitar experience to full-on musician. I get to teach them theory, watch the light bulb come on as they ‘get it’, and then watch them as they develop into talented musicians, performing or writing their own music. It is so rewarding!
In a short line, how would you entice your potential consumers to book your service?
I have a ‘commercial’ that has been a great way to show my love for the guitar and demonstrate how the interaction with the customer looks. This has been a great tool for me. I also love to talk to the student (and parents) to discuss what they want out of the lessons, what their level of experience is, where they want to go with their music, etc. And with technology where it is today, it is so nice that location is no longer an issue. I can literally teach students across the world giving lessons over the internet. My business name is “Don’t Give Up Guitar”, and that is my mission. I take the underdogs and make them champions. I want to be your guitar coach. Bring it on. Let me help you reach your musical dreams!
You can find Tim at the following links: