Music Teacher career

Become a Music Teacher Step 2

As their experience and reputation grows, a Music Teacher who gives private lessons can start charging more. He or she can also open their own music school. For Music Teachers in the K-12 system, advancement usually means accepting a position as a Department Head.

Education & Training

Most employers require Music Teachers to hold at least a BA in Music or Music Education. They must be proficient in at least one instrument, with a solid foundation in Music Theory.

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Experience & Skills

A Music Teacher must have proficiency in at least one musical instrument, be able to read music, and have some experience teaching. The level of experience necessary will vary according to the position, but teaching a sibling or friend definitely counts as teaching experience. A performance background is also helpful for Music Teachers. The number one skill a Music Teacher needs is the ability to make learning fun. Balter says her main priority is giving students “a bigger picture of music is about. It’s more than melody.” She adds, “It can get really dry and stiff” if the Teacher is solely focused on the student learning notes and time signatures, so using intuition, kindness, and humor to engage the student are also important skills to have.


Above all, Music Teachers must be enthusiastic and understanding. “If they don’t get it, it’s on me, ” says Balter. Music Teachers must “take full responsibility, be willing to help, and try new tactics.” She adds, “Patience and enthusiasm equal progress.” A love of learning is also essential for Music Teachers, as is a desire to help others grow. A sense of humor is also important, which goes back to Balter’s point about new tactics. “I use a lot of comedy, because people respond to it, ” she says. “I say and do outlandish things to make a point.”


First of all, for a Music Teacher, there are “no normal days.” According to Balter, a Music Teacher must be an entrepreneur, an educator AND a Teacher who can “turn on a dime.” Flexibility is important, as students sometimes need to cancel or change their lesson times. The workload is up to the individual Music Teacher, who can take on as many students as he or she likes. For a K-12 Music Teacher, of course, there are defined school hours, time for after-school programs, and a few months off every year for summer vacation. In general, most Music Teachers work with other Educators, School Principals or store owners, and the students themselves (plus, if the pupils are children, their parents).

It's Interesting

  • Benjamin Henry Grierson (July 8, 1826, – August 31, 1911) was a music teacher and then a career officer in the United States Army. He was a cavalry general in the volunteer Union Army during the American Civil War and later led troops in the American Old West. He is most noted for a daring 1863 expedition through Confederate-held territory that...

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