Music Teacher Career Information

A career as a music teacher is one that requires a variety of unique skills and can be highly rewarding. Since most people who seek a job in music have musical talent and passion, the work can often seem like fun, instead of real work.

Education and Training

All music teachers need fluency and proficiency with written music and a variety of instrumentation. Private music teachers require no formal training or experience to teach, although they typically have worked for years to hone their craft and demonstrate proficiency with particular instruments or vocals. Music teachers that work in elementary and secondary schools will need a bachelor’s degree in music education and certification from the state in which they will be teaching.

All colleges, universities, conservatories and musical arts schools require their instructors to have advanced degrees also.

Types of Job Environments for Music Teachers

Music teachers enjoy the benefit of having a variety of environments that they can work in and can decide if they want to work for themselves or a larger institution. Some options for music teachers include:

  • In-home teachers: typically work from their own home or go to the home of their student. They can either work full-time or part-time as an instructor and will teach both professional musicians as well as those that play simply for enjoyment.
  • Elementary and secondary school teachers: work in the school system as band directors, chorus teachers and general music instructors to individual classes. Some teachers also moonlight by instructing their students after hours with private lessons.
  • Studio teachers: work in a store or office-type setting and give music instruction to both classes and individuals and sometimes advice of musical purchases for customers.
  • College and university teachers: teach music-related classes to students at a university and often organize the musical arts performances and programs at the school.
  • Conservatory or arts school teacher: typically specialize in particular types of musical or instrument instruction in a school specifically geared toward students focused on majoring in musical study.

Typical Music Teacher Salaries

As a private instructor you'll set your own rates and typically charge by the half hour or hour. Depending upon your expertise as a musician and experience as a teacher you'll be able to charge anywhere from $15 an hour to $60 per hour.

Elementary and secondary school music teachers that are certified make about $44,000 while faculty members at conservatories, colleges and universities will make up to $70,000.

The Future of Music Teaching Careers

A continued rise in the interest of arts-related instruction in our school system makes career prospects for music teachers look good for the future. However, because of enrollment and budget constraints, part-time music instructors will be in the highest demand as they are flexible enough to serve more than one school or client group at a time.