How do I Become a Music Educator?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2019
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Becoming a music educator or music teacher can set you on the path to an immensely rewarding career. By training others to sing or play instruments, you have the ability to launch careers or foster a deep, lifelong appreciation of music in others. To become a music educator you must possess a deep passion for music and for teaching, as well as meet varying requirements depending on what type of work you would like to have.

Many music teachers, particularly those in public schools, hold one or more degrees in music and teaching. Depending on your state’s requirements, you may have to hold a valid teaching certificate, as well as at least a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. Many universities offer degree programs specifically for music education, as opposed to music theory or performance. If you know you want to focus your career on becoming a music educator, check local colleges for degrees that will fit the profile.

If you want to teach music at a college or university, you will likely need a Master’s Degree or PhD in music. University-level teachers are often highly experienced professionals with a successful background in performance, theory and education. These jobs are highly sought after, but can be highly rewarding. If you are looking to train serious music students who are looking to make a career in the field, this may be the job track for you.


Not all music teaching jobs require a degree, but most require significant experience. Some private or parochial schools may employ teachers who possess comparable experience but not a university degree. The best training for these positions is usually experience performing, working with children, and conducting or running bands or choirs. To get started with training for a position like this, try starting a local community or church choir and running it yourself. You may make mistakes at first, but they will give you valuable experience for later on.

As a music educator, you do not necessarily need to teach only in schools. Many music professionals devote their time to private training with students. If you have a studio space or can rent one, you can choose to take students and train them in one-on-one sessions. This type of music education can be quite lucrative, but may require you to obtain a small-business license or permits in order to operate legally. Check with local officials to determine what you must do to set up a private teaching studio.

Unfortunately, troubled economic times have made music teachers a luxury to many school districts. If you take a job in the public school system, you may find yourself shuffling between many different schools as a district-wide teacher and faced with a constant shortfall of budget and resources. Studies have shown that music education can be a vital factor in the overall education of students, and may help shy or anxious students find an arena to shine. The job of a music educator is to teach and inspire, and most of all give the gift of your own love of music to others. Although the job may not be an easy path or make you a millionaire, if you truly love teaching music, you will be constantly rewarded by joining this noble profession.



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