Music teachers give music lessons to people of all ages and abilities.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a music teacher
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
You’ll need a relevant music degree and postgraduate qualification to be a music teacher in a music college or conservatoire.
As a primary school teacher, you would be trained to teach all subjects, and develop a subject specialism in music. At secondary level, you may get the opportunity to teach music as a single subject or combine it with another subject.
You’ll need a postgraduate qualification or a recognised profile as a professional performer, with teaching experience, to be a lecturer in a university.
When you apply for a course, you’ll usually attend an audition, and many institutions will expect you to have at least Grade 6 on a main instrument.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels including music, or equivalent qualifications
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- search for conservatoire courses
- university courses and entry requirements
- funding for teacher training
- postgraduate teacher training courses
You’ll need a level 3 qualification or higher in music, if you want to be a music lecturer in a further education college.
You would also need a teaching qualification that is relevant to the level of teaching responsibility you would have in your job.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You may be able to start by doing one of a small number of postgraduate teaching apprenticeships, if you have a relevant degree and want to teach 3 to 19 year olds.
To do this apprenticeship, you’ll need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
- a degree for a teaching apprenticeship
You may be able to work as a private music teacher with or without qualifications, if you’ve got exceptional musical ability. A teaching qualification would also be helpful though not essential.
You could take training accredited by professional bodies, like the Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators, offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London.
The certificate course is aimed at people who are new to teaching music to children, and covers the purpose of music education and promotes best practice. It has been developed for:
- instrumental and vocal teachers working privately with schools
- primary teachers
- community musicians
- professional musicians who do educational work
Other options include training like the Instrumental Teaching Diploma offered by Rock School.
- you’ll usually need qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a state school in England
You can search for jobs in schools through the Teaching Vacancies service.
You can find out more about becoming a music teacher from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of the fine arts
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to use your initiative
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to work well with others
- leadership skills
- the ability to teach pupils how to do something
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Depending on where you work, your day-to-day duties may include:
- planning lessons to suit the individual needs of a group or pupil
- teaching pupils to play an instrument and to read and understand music
- helping pupils prepare for music exams, competitions and performances
- in schools, teaching the history, theory and appreciation of all kinds of music, following the national curriculum
- setting assignments and marking and assessing pupils’ work
- helping to organise school choirs, orchestras or bands
- organising school concerts and musical performances
You could work at a college, at a university, from home or at a school.
Career path and progression
As a qualified and experienced music teacher in a school, you could become head of the music department.
You could also become an advisory teacher, or inspector employed by a local education authority or independent agency.
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