How to Become a Music Teacher

If you have a passion for music and want to share it with others, you might be wondering how to become a music teacher.

Education/Certification

Obviously you will have to have a great deal of knowledge about music, including an understanding of different musical styles, the ability to read music, and either the ability to play an instrument or to sing on key. If you want to teach kids in a public or private school, you will need a bachelor’s degree in music and probably a minor in education. Since all states require that schoolteachers be certified, you will have to find out what the specific requirements are in your state. Most teachers will have to do some student teaching and pass a competency exam in order to be certified.

If you want to teach at a college or university, you will have to earn your master’s degree. In fact, some states require that their elementary and secondary teachers get their master’s within a certain amount of time after starting a teaching job. In addition, teachers often have to take continuing education classes to keep up with current teaching methods and approaches to education.

Get a Job

The best time to look for a teaching job at a school is in the spring or summer since that’s when other teachers retire or leave after their contract expires. Either send out your resume or fill out an application online or in person. Make sure to include all your relevant experience – from the instruments you can play to the people you have taught in the past. Don’t forget to mention any awards, honors, or scholarships you have received.

You might also check with education placement agencies, especially the ones the specialize in helping teachers find jobs. Although their services may be a bit pricey, they could help you find work you might not otherwise be able to find on your own. You should also contact people who might know about any available job openings like your former teachers or the principals in schools where you did your student teaching.

Job Description

Music teachers instruct a variety of classes at different grade levels. Elementary music teachers help kids learn to sing, read music, and play instruments. Secondary music teachers usually instruct students in more specific courses like choir or marching band. College professors often teach even more specialized subjects like piano and voice. Sometimes they even offer one-on-one instruction for a specific instrument like the violin.

As a music teacher, you will be responsible for creating lessons, evaluating students’ progress, maintaining classroom discipline, meeting with parents and administrators, maintaining an orderly classroom, organizing musical performances, and preparing students for competitions.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for music teachers in the United States is about $50,000. However, university professors earn more in the range of $70,000 to $75,000.

Tips/Advice

Consider joining an organization like the National Association for Music Educators, the Music Teachers National Association, or another similar group in your state. Doing so will allow you network with other teachers, stay current with the latest educational news, and find out about available jobs as well as learn about any upcoming educational conferences.

Along with teaching in schools, you can also conduct private lessons in people’s homes or in your own studio. In addition, you may be able to instruct classes at local recreation centers or create summer camps with music-based themes. In fact, there are numerous opportunities for people with musical talent that want to share their knowledge with others. So if you are interested in becoming a music teacher, you should definitely pursue this career option.