Music teacher

A music teacher


Music teachers instruct students in various musical genres and expression forms, such as classical, jazz, folk, pop, blues, rock, electronic, etc., in a recreational context. They provide students with an overview of music history and repertoire but primarily utilise a practice-based approach in their courses. These courses assist students in experimenting with different styles and techniques in the musical instrument of their choice while encouraging them to develop their own style. They cast, direct, and produce musical performances and coordinate the technical production.

Here are some typical duties of music teachers:

  • Create and implement a music curriculum that aligns with educational standards and addresses the needs and interests of students.
  • Provide individual or group instruction in playing musical instruments, emphasizing proper technique, musical expression, and interpretation.
  • Offer vocal coaching, guiding students in developing proper breathing, pitch, and articulation for singing.
  • Teach fundamental music theory concepts, including notation, rhythm, harmony, and music analysis.
  • Lead and conduct musical ensembles, such as choirs, bands, or orchestras, fostering teamwork and collaborative musical performance.
  • Prepare students for musical performances, recitals, or competitions, helping them build confidence and stage presence.
  • Cultivate an appreciation for various musical genres and styles through listening activities and music history lessons.
  • Incorporate music technology, software, and digital tools into lessons to enhance musical learning and composition.
  • Tailor instruction to accommodate different learning styles and levels of musical proficiency.
  • Evaluate student progress through assessments, exams, and constructive feedback, identifying areas for improvement and growth.
  • Engage with the local community through music events, workshops, and collaborations to promote the importance of music education.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to music teacher:

singing teacher
rythmics teacher
music instructor
teacher of music
instructor of music
instrument teacher
private music instructor
private music teacher
private teacher of music
individual music teacher
peripatetic music instructor
peripatetic music teacher

Working conditions

Music teachers work in various settings, including public and private schools, music academies, community centers, or as private instructors. The work may involve irregular hours, especially during performance seasons, and collaboration with other music professionals.

Minimum qualifications

To become a music teacher, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music education or a related field is typically required. Certification or licensure may be necessary depending on the educational institution and location. Practical experience gained through student teaching, internships, or performance opportunities contributes to the development of effective music teachers. Continuing education, staying updated on music education trends, and active participation in the music community enhance the success and impact of music teachers in their profession.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Music teacher is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Music teacher career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to music teacher.

music instructor
dance teacher
drama teacher
adult literacy teacher
photography teacher

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of music teacher.

  • Musical instruments: The different musical instruments, their ranges, timbre, and possible combinations.
  • Musical genres: Different musical styles and genres such as blues, jazz, reggae, rock, or indie.
  • Musical notation: The systems used to visually represent music through the use of written symbols, including ancient or modern musical symbols.
  • Musical theory: The body of interrelated concepts that constitute the theoretical background of music.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of music teacher.

  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Consult students on learning content: Take students’ opinions and preferences into consideration when determining learning content.
  • Develop a coaching style: Develop a style for coaching individuals or groups that ensures all participants are at ease and can acquire the necessary skills and competences provided in the coaching in a positive and productive manner.
  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Bring out performers’ artistic potential: Motivate performers to take on challenges. Encourage peer-learning. Establish an environment for experimentation using various methods, such as improvisation.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • Manage student relationships: Manage the relations between students and between students and teacher. Act as a just authority and create an environment of trust and stability.
  • Adapt teaching to student’s capabilities: Identify the learning struggles and successes of students. Select teaching and learning strategies that support students’ individual learning needs and goals.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
  • Play musical instruments: Manipulate purpose-built or improvised instruments to produce musical sounds.
  • Teach music principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of music, whether recreationally, as part of their general education, or with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field. Offer corrections while instructing them in courses such as the history of music, reading music scores, and playing a musical instrument (including voice) of specialisation.
  • Demonstrate a technical foundation in musical instruments: Demonstrate an appropriate foundation on the technical workings and terminology of musical instruments such as voice, piano, guitar, and percussion.
  • Maintain safe working conditions in performing arts: Verify the technical aspects of your workspace, costumes, props, etc. Eliminate potential hazards in your workspace or performance. Intervene actively in cases of accidents or illness.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
  • Encourage students to acknowledge their achievements: Stimulate students to appreciate their own achievements and actions to nurture confidence and educational growth.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of music teacher. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self-assessment are used for varying purposes.
  • Breathing techniques: The various techniques to control the voice, body, and nerves by breathing.
  • Learning difficulties: The learning disorders some students face in an academic context, especially Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and concentration deficit disorders.
  • Vocal techniques: The various techniques for using your voice correctly without exhausting or damaging it when changing voice in tone and volume.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
  • History of musical instruments: The historical background and chronology of various musical instruments.
  • Music literature: Literature about music theory, specific music styles, periods, composers or musicians, or specific pieces. This includes various materials such as magazines, journals, books and academic literature.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.
  • Movement techniques: The various types of movement and physical postures undertaken for relaxation, body-mind integration, stress reduction, flexibility, core support and rehabilitation purposes, and that are required for or underpin occupational performance.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of music teacher. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Facilitate teamwork between students: Encourage students to cooperate with others in their learning by working in teams, for example through group activities.
  • Improvise music: Improvise music during live performances.
  • Transpose music: Transposing music into an alternate key while keeping the original tone structure.
  • Supervise music groups: Direct music groups, individual musicians or complete orchestras at rehearsals and during live or studio performances, in order to improve the overall tonal and harmonic balance, dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
  • Maintain musical instruments: Check and maintain musical instruments.
  • Orchestrate music: Assign lines of music to different musical instruments and/or voices to be played together.
  • Assist students with equipment: Provide assistance to students when working with (technical) equipment used in practice-based lessons and solve operational problems when necessary.
  • Develop curriculum: Develop and plan the learning goals and outcomes for education institutions, as well as the required teaching methods and potential education resources.
  • Develop artistic project budgets: Develop artistic project budgets for approval, estimating deadlines and material costs.
  • Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
  • Develop educational activities: Develop speeches, activities and workshops in order to foster access and comprehension to the artistic creation processes. It can address a particular cultural and artistic event, such as a show or an exhibition, or it can be related to a specific discipline (theatre, dance, drawing, music, photography etc.). Liaise with storytellers, craftspeople and artists.
  • Perform exercises for artistic performance: Perform exercises and demonstrate them when required. Aim to reach the training session objectives and the appropriate pace, balancing artistic requirements and risk prevention principles. Take into account your physical form: fatigue, recovery periods, resting times, etc.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Define artistic approach: Define your own artistic approach by analysing your previous work and your expertise, identifying the components of your creative signature, and starting from these explorations to describe your artistic vision.
  • Organise musical events: Set the date, the agenda, gather the required resources, and coordinate events around music such as concerts, competitions or exams.
  • Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
  • Coordinate artistic production: Oversee the day-to-day coordination of production tasks so that the organisation fits within the desired artistic and business policies and in order to present productions in a uniform corporate identity to the public.
  • Balance participants’ personal needs with group needs: Apply various approaches in your practice that balance the needs of each individual with those of the group as a whole. Strengthen each individual’s capability and experience, known as person-centered practice, while simultaneously stimulating the participants and support workers to form a cohesive group. Create a supportive and safe atmosphere for actively exploring your artistic discipline.

ISCO group and title

2354 – Other music teachers

  1. Music teacher – ESCO
  2. Music teacher | Explore careers | National Careers Service
  3. How to Become a Music Teacher | India
  4. Featured image: Photo by Yan Krukau
Last updated on January 4, 2024