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Music teacher

Music teachers give music lessons to people of all ages and abilities.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

Entry requirements may vary depending on the type of teaching, but you'll usually need:

  • relevant postgraduate qualifications and teaching experience to be a music teacher in a music college or conservatoire
  • qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a state school
  • at least a level 3 qualification in the subject you wish to teach, and a relevant teaching qualification, to be a lecturer in a further education college
  • an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you

To get onto a music degree or diploma you'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 2 A levels, including music (or equivalent qualifications)

You may be able to become a private teacher without qualifications if you have exceptional musical skills.

2. Skills required

You'll need to have:

  • teaching and motivational skills
  • a patient and encouraging approach
  • good communication skills
  • business skills if self-employed

3. What you'll do

You'll work with individuals or small groups of people, either in your own home, in the pupil's home or at other venues. You'll work with people of all abilities.

Your day-to-day duties might involve:

  • 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 a specialist music college, or conservatoire, you'll teach individuals, groups and classes, preparing students for music exams, qualifications and performances.

In a primary or secondary school, you'll:

  • teach the whole class or a group of pupils
  • teach the history, theory and appreciation of all kinds of music, following the national curriculum
  • set assignments and mark and assess pupils' work
  • help to organise school choirs, orchestras or bands
  • organise school concerts and musical performances

In a further education college or adult education centre, you'll teach music at all levels, ranging from hobby courses to qualifications like GCSEs and A levels.

You could also teach music in schools on a freelance basis as a visiting music teacher or through a music education hub.

4. Salary

Private teachers and visiting teachers in schools can charge between £26 and £37 an hour.

Full-time teachers in state maintained schools are paid in line with national salary guidelines.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Many music teachers are self-employed, and often combine teaching privately with part-time or casual work for colleges and other organisations.

As a private teacher, you'll work hours to suit your clients, and may spend time travelling between different teaching venues.

In a school, you'll usually work normal school hours from Monday to Friday. You may also teach individual pupils, run rehearsals or music groups, and attend school concerts and musical performances after school, and occasionally at weekends.

In further education colleges, you'll work full- or part-time hours, and in adult education centres will teach part-time courses during the day or evening.

6. 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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Last updated: 13 September 2017