Music Teacher

Zendi Venegas: Consumer Education Period 9

Career Description

Music teachers instruct individuals or groups in vocal or instrumental music and foster music appreciation. They may work full time or part time at home, in a studio, or in an elementary or secondary school, college, university, or music conservatory. The specific nature of a music teacher's work depends on the type of position they hold. Private music teachers instruct a wide variety of students from young to adults. Some of their clients pursue music for enjoyment, whereas other are preparing for a career in music. Elementary and secondary school music teachers often direct the school choir, band orchestra, marching band, or other extra curricular choirs or band, as well as give group and private lessons. They instruct students in the technical aspects of music, conduct rehearsals, and evaluate student performance. School music teachers sometimes take students on field trips to musical performances or presentations, or the students may perform off campus under the direction of the teacher.

Leyden Marching Band Half-Time 10-7-11

What Do Music Teachers Do?

  • Explain and demonstrate artistic techniques.
  • Evaluate and grade students' class work, performances, projects, assignments, and papers.
  • Teach the fundamentals of music. (Music Theory)
  • Prepare course materials such as syllabi, homework assignments, and handouts.
  • Initiate, facilitate, and moderate classroom discussions.
  • Maintain student attendance records, grades, and other required records.
  • Prepare students for performances, exams, or assessments.
  • Prepare and deliver lectures to undergraduate or graduate students on topics such as acting techniques, fundamentals of music, and art history.
  • Plan, evaluate, and revise curricula, course content, course materials, and methods of instruction.
  • Organize performance groups and direct their rehearsals.
  • Perform administrative duties such as serving as department head.
  • Keep aware of developments in the field by reading current literature, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences.
  • Select and obtain materials and supplies such as textbooks and performance pieces.
  • Display students' work in schools, galleries, and exhibitions.
  • Supervise undergraduate or graduate teaching, internship, and research work.
  • Participate in student recruitment, registration, and placement activities.
  • Advise students on academic and vocational curricula and on career issues.
  • Maintain regularly scheduled office hours to advise and assist students.
  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge and publish findings in professional journals, books, or electronic media.
  • Keep students informed of community events such as plays and concerts.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to address teaching and research issues.
  • Serve on academic or administrative committees that deal with institutional policies, departmental matters, and academic issues.
  • Participate in campus and community events.
  • Act as advisers to student organizations.

Advancement Opportunities and Employment Outlook

Increased student enrollment and enhanced reputation as a teacher help advance the careers of private music teachers. Elementary and secondary school teachers can become college professors by obtaining additional degrees and experience. College professors may move into administrative positions after gaining experience and recognition. The job outlook for all types of music teachers is good through the year 2014. Because of budget restraints, many colleges and universities are hiring more part-time or adjunct faculty members instead of full-time teachers. To cut costs, some school districts are hiring only one music teacher to travel between two or more schools. The best opportunities for music teachers in the early 2000s were in part-time positions. In addition, an increased interest in self-enrichment classes, including music, suggested a pattern of growth in opportunities for music teachers.


Earnings for music teachers vary greatly depending on the type of teaching, the number of hours worked, and the teacher's level of experience. According to MENC: The National Association for Music Education, private teachers typically set their own rates between $15 and $60 per hour. Certified teachers of music in public elementary and secondary schools have a median annual salary of $44,500. Full-time music faculty at colleges, universities, and conservatories can earn much more, sometimes up to $70,000 a year.

Stuff Music Teachers Say

Education or Training Requirments

Although the education and training requirements vary according to the type of position, all music teachers must have a complete mastery of their specific field and general knowledge of other instruments and music areas. In addition, they must have good communication skills in order to help their students. No formal education or licenses are needed to be a private teacher. However, most instructors have spent years performing and studying in schools, conservatories, or privately with experienced musicians. Elementary and secondary school music teachers need a bachelor's degree in music education and state certification. Music teachers must also have exceptional speaking, instructing, reading comprehension, active learning abilities, oral expression and comprehension, and speech clarity skills, in order be successful instructor.