How to Become a Music Teacher

Amanda Martin
Amanda Martin
Elementary school music teacher; M.A.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction
A student plays piano while his music teacher helps him.

A music teacher has the amazing responsibility of instilling excitement for music within their students.

What Does a Music Teacher Do?


For most music education positions at the elementary level, the teacher is required to instruct students in basic music skills as this is generally the students’ first exposure to musical elements in an organized setting. Elementary music teachers typically introduce the main elements of music throughout their chosen curriculum. Those elements include tempo, dynamics, pitch, rhythm, melody, timbre, and texture.


Middle school and high school music teachers may offer general music curriculum courses as determined by their respective schools. However, many have acquired the skills necessary for a more specific music practice such as band  by the time students reach those grade levels. Teachers in the higher grade levels are more likely to teach classes specific to those areas.

General Tasks

Regardless of the grade level, most music teachers are also responsible for completing holiday musicals, programs, or concerts. From open houses to graduations or Halloween to Easter, music teachers create, produce, and oversee various programs for the school community to attend and enjoy. Most importantly, these types of experiences are the ones that many students remember years after their time in the music classroom has ended.

Music Teacher Requirements: Skills

First and foremost, anyone considering the role of music teacher should have a love and passion for music. Music teachers can have varying skill levels and specialties in terms of their musicianship, but it is a must that they have a genuine love and appreciation for music. This alone will translate into one’s teaching in the classroom and make the learning experience more valuable for all students.

More importantly, anyone pursuing a career in music education should find great enjoyment in sharing music with others! Aside from having a passion for music, music teachers should possess musical talent. This can include singing, playing an instrument, etc.

In addition to this, music teachers must have a vast and sufficient knowledge of music skills, aside from their area of emphasis (i.e. voice, piano, or other instruments.) This is an essential requirement as music teachers will be instructing students in multiple elements of music throughout a school year and must be ready to guide students as necessary to produce the best musical results.

Music Teacher Requirements: Education

To become a music teacher, one must first acquire at least a bachelor’s degree in music education. The degree will include general education courses to aid prospective teachers in best practices and classroom management skills. There will also be courses catered explicitly to expanding one’s own musical skills and methods of teaching music to students.

Near the end of the coursework, prospective teachers must take and pass specific teacher certification exams to obtain a teaching license. These requirements and the number of necessary exams may vary by state. Still, typically, they consist of one or two general education exams and multiple area-specific exams related to music. Both the bachelor’s degree and teaching certification are, more often than not, the only two main requirements to begin teaching music in a public school setting.

For those who may be switching careers or want to take a different route, alternative teacher certifications are a very doable and efficient path.

After being certified as a teacher, there are more advanced certifications that can be obtained to grow one’s skills and for professional development purposes. Three major music teaching methodologies have grown in popularity over the others and offer unique strategies and sequences for introducing and teaching music skills to students:

Several universities and organizations found in various locations across the country offer certification in these methodologies. By adding this certification to your skill set, one elevates their teaching ability and becomes even more valuable as an employee to potential employers. It also shows one’s willingness to grow and desire to improve as an educator.

Why Should You Consider Music Teacher Jobs? 

There are many benefits to music teacher jobs and teaching music to children:

  • Music teacher salary
  • Health benefits
  • Vacation days
  • The job of a music teacher is always exciting
  • Curriculum changes quickly
  • Has ample opportunities for creativity
  • Generates unique learning experiences for students

By providing students with unforgettable musical experiences, students are more likely to join a choir, play an instrument, and more as they enter adulthood. Seeing students grow and expand their musical abilities is one of the most significant advantages of being a music teacher.

Along with this, music teachers can create clubs or other extracurricular activities related to music that students may join or attend to further their skills and joy of music:

  • Singing club or choir
  • Jazz band
  • Instrument or voice lessons

Another fantastic benefit of being a music teacher is that you have many avenues for progressing your teaching skills. First, music teachers who work in the same area may meet periodically to discuss and share lesson ideas or other music teaching concepts. This is where music teachers learn best practices and gain priceless knowledge that may be implemented into their classrooms to better shape student learning.

Additionally, there are many music teaching groups available on social media that provide many instructional ideas that may aid in planning and the development of lessons. Support groups such as these make the role of music teacher even more rewarding and fun!

How to Become a Music Teacher

To become a music teacher, one must first enjoy music and some type of musical ability. From there, prospective music teachers should begin their collegiate career, taking general education courses and various music courses as determined by their respective universities. As coursework is near its completion, the potential teacher must pass a series of exams to obtain a beginning teacher certification.

Once these requirements have been achieved, it is time to begin searching for available employment in the area one desires to teach. Then, the real fun can begin; it is time to create engaging lessons that bring music to life for students and keep them coming back for more!

Interested in becoming a teacher? Check out our available programs and get started on your next journey today!

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