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Music Teacher Career Outlook & Job Description

A music teacher instructs students or classes in general music, choral or voice, instrumental music, or a combination of these specialties. Both class and one-on-one instruction can include a range of student ages, abilities and grade levels. Independent music educators who provide lessons from their homes or private studios may also work with adult pupils. Music teachers must show considerable skill, knowledge, patience and creativity; they encourage music appreciation as well as instruct students in the technical aspects of music and performance. A successful music teacher requires dedication and experience beyond the requirements of many other education careers.

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Music Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks

The duties of a music teacher will vary depending on the chosen specialty and employment setting. Public and private school music teachers may direct a school choir or chorus, marching band or orchestra. Music teachers develop curriculums, conduct rehearsals and musical performances, and assess students for grading purposes. Many music educators also participate in extracurricular activities such as taking students on field trips to attend or participate in various musical performances.

Music teacher requirements vary depending on the type of school. Becoming a music teacher in a public school requires a bachelor’s degree in music education and a completed teacher training program. A state board of education teaching license in the specialty is necessary as well. There are no specific education or licensing requirements for private music teachers; career success will depend on combined experience and skill in the chosen musical specialty.

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Music Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

Music teacher jobs are available in a variety of settings. They can work part-time or full-time from home, in a private music school, at an elementary or secondary school, or at a college, university or music conservatory. Music educators may advance through combined experience and continued education. Music teacher salary ranges can vary widely. Private music instructors often earn between $10 and $100 per hour, without benefits. The salary for a public school music teacher can range between $19,000 and $70,000; for post secondary level professors and administrators the range is $18,000 to $182,000. These positions usually provide various employment benefits.

The overall outlook for music teacher jobs is good through 2018. Job opportunities will vary greatly depending on locale. Low income, urban and remote, rural areas will offer more music teacher jobs due to higher turnover, increased federal funding, and difficulty attracting prospects. In some areas, cutbacks and reduced budgets are creating fewer full-time jobs and more part-time positions.

Music Teacher Interview

See our interview with Sharon Callahan who has been teaching music for 37 years and is the President of the Texas Music Teachers Association.

Music Education Teaching Degrees and Programs

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