How To Become a Music Teacher

All musicians dream of hitting it big on their own merit. Truth is, very few make it. You can have a career in music if you want to share your love of music with the world. The best way to do this is to teach. Let’s explore how to become a music teacher.

Education Requirements

It’s not enough to know how to play; you’ve got to go to school:

  • High school diploma or GED acceptable with 1-5 years experience.
  • A bachelor degree (in music) is required in most states.
  • A teaching certificate.
  • A master’s in education.

Check with your state’s department of education to find out the requirements for your state.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Bachelor Degree in Music

Although it is possible to teach music, instruments and dance to grades K-12 with just a high school diploma, completing a bachelor degree in music will equip you for a musical future with many more career options, according to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

These options keep the graduate close to music:

  • self-employed musician
  • private lesson teacher
  • conductor
  • performer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • composer
  • arranger

These options are behind the scenes or business-related:

  • agent
  • publishing
  • sales
  • producer
  • director
  • manager
  • engineer

Additionally, music teachers need these skills:

  • They need to create and teach lessons
  • They should be ready to propose new classes to program directors or their supervisor
  • They will have to determine class goals and objectives and develop a curriculum to meet those goals
  • They will evaluate the course and make any necessary improvements or changes
  • Many times, they will have to help advertise and promote classes

On the high school and college level, music teachers may be called upon to lead musical groups of all kinds. These can range from marching bands and full orchestras, to string quartets, jazz band and student rock groups. Music teachers also lead choral groups, work with dance and drama teachers to produce musical plays.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Music Teaching Career

Music teachers are often called self-enrichment teachers. Budget cuts over the past several decades have made music one of the “just for fun” subjects or electives in public schools, which may have positions open only on an hourly basis rather than full-time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pay average is $36,340 per year or $17.47 per hour.

Music teachers often add private lessons to their schedule to supplement their full-time income. Over the next 10 years, this field is expected to grow by 21 percent as more children and adults are looking for lessons in music as a hobby or to gain more marketable skills in their job fields.

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