Music teachers work in all types of institutions, but their primary duty is always to teach music in one way or another. It is possible to find music teacher jobs in schools, working independently, or even working with mental hospitals or other unusual institutions. Different jobs require different qualifications, but an aptitude for music is key to all music teacher jobs.
One of the most common types of music teacher jobs involves teaching children music independently. A music teacher of this type often advertises his or her services or may work in cooperation with a music school. Children often attend one-on-one lessons, allowing quicker learning and more progress. Usually, a music teacher of this type need only know one instrument, but he or she must have a level of mastery that can accommodate different levels of learners.
It is also common for music teacher jobs to involve working with groups of children. Music teachers in elementary schools usually need not know very many instruments, but they must have the ability to guide a large group at one time. School music teachers often teach singing or simple instruments in line with the level of the students.
When music teacher jobs are offered in relation to a band, the music teacher's job is often more a matter of guiding materials rather than teaching the fundamentals of the instrument. Since students often audition for spots in a school band or orchestra, it is common for them to already know how to play the instrument. As such, this type of job involves more conducting.
Some music teacher jobs do not involve direct instruction in a particular instrument at all. Music theory, for example, is often taught by music teachers, as is the history of music. Writing music, reviewing music, and even learning how to teach music can all be courses offered in music departments. These courses are typically taught at higher levels of education, and the teachers who teach these courses may also have some involvement with performance.
Music teachers who provide music education in mental health facilities or other specialty institutions often must incorporate theories of mental health into their education. When music is used as therapy, it can be difficult to remember that mental health comes before musical excellence. Likewise, not all students whom a music teacher encounters will be destined for a career in music. Music teachers are primarily teachers, though they are also musicians, and must have a drive to teach.