When it comes to music, do you love listening, creating and imparting your tuneful knowledge onto others? If so, you may consider becoming a music teacher. The idea of becoming music instructor may bring to mind teaching songs to kids, but there are actually many different music teacher jobs at various educational levels. In fact, some music teachers are often musicians themselves, such as songbird Sheryl Crowe who taught music in Missouri.
Music teachers in elementary and secondary public schools are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in music or music education and get state certified to teach (more about that below). A license is not always required for teachers in private schools, which are usually exempt from state licensing standards.
And if you plan to teach at the college level, a master’s degree in music is almost always required. A doctorate degree may be required for some upper-level university positions.
Each state has its own licensing/credentials test, although some use the PRAXIS Series tests. It’s best to get your license in the state you plan to teach in, but keep in mind that most states offer some level of reciprocity, licensing-wise, to out-of-state applicants; that required testing is waived mostly for experienced teachers.
It should go without saying, but music teachers must be very good in their specific field and have a basic knowledge of other instruments. They should also have good communication skills to work with students. One good example would be the music teacher who taught a young man named Tom Petty to play the guitar. The music teacher was Don Felder, who later joined The Eagles.
A music teacher job description includes: teaching groups and/or individuals skills in vocal technique and/or how to pay an instrument. Music teachers also instruct students in music appreciation. Music teachers may work in an elementary or secondary school, college or music conservatory. They may even teach out of their homes for private lessons.
Elementary and secondary school music teachers instruct students on the technical aspects of music, evaluate performances and conduct rehearsals. They often direct a school chorus, orchestra, choir or marching band, as well as give group and private instruction.
In addition to the classroom, music teachers take students on field trips to musical presentations, plan school performances and attend workshops for more training. By earning additional degrees, elementary and secondary school teachers can move on to become college professors. And college professors may move into administrative positions.
The job outlook for music teachers looks strong through 2014. However, due to budget restraints, many colleges are hiring more part-time or adjunct faculty instead of full-time instructors. To save money, some school districts are employing one music teacher to travel between schools.
Industry reports rank post-secondary music teachers by years of experience with salaries ranging from $33,000 to $47,000.