For people who love music and want to encourage new musicians how to hone in on their talent, becoming a music teacher is a natural career path. While the qualifications will vary based on what level of music you want to teach and what setting you want to teach in, there are a number of qualities that any great music teacher will possess. Deciding whether this is the right job for you is a personal decision, but if you love music, want to encourage others to also love it and are willing to put in the work to become a great teacher, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career!
What do I need to be a music teacher?
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While the complete requirements may vary from one job to the next, there are two common ones that a prospective music teacher will need to have.
Training – Whether it’s formal training at a university or college or through private education with a professional, having music training is an essential part of becoming a music teacher. Some jobs may require a music degree, while others may lean more into a teaching degree with a music specialization.
Talent – Perhaps the most important quality in a music teacher is their talent and ability to play the instrument they are going to teach. This is often demonstrated through an audition during the hiring process.
What makes a great music teacher
The qualities possessed by a great music teacher will help them turn eager young students into promising musicians, so it’s important that you embody many or all of these traits.
1. A passion for teaching AND music
While teaching is a very rewarding job, it can also be a tough one at times. Having a passion for both teaching and music is an essential quality to have. A great and passionate musician doesn’t always translate to being a great teacher, so enjoying both parts of the job is important.
Regardless of the age of your prospective students, you’ll require patience in order to teach them well. It’s important as a music teacher to understand that each student will learn at their own pace and with a different learning style, so the patience to try out various tactics will help you considerably on your journey.
3. An appreciation for music
It’s important to recognize that passion and appreciation are different things when it comes to music. As a music teacher it’s essential to have an appreciation for all aspects of music, from different playing styles and various techniques to all the varieties of music that a student may choose to learn.
4. Organizational skills
When you have a number of students that learn in unique ways and are at different steps of their learning process, you need to be able to keep your notes and curriculums organized. Tracking their progress and starting each lesson off at the right spot is an essential skill of a good music teacher.
5. Understand the importance of setting goals
Helping students set realistic and attainable goals is a great way to help them progress in their skills and become a better musician throughout the course of their lessons.
As a teacher you can’t show up to lessons unprepared to teach them. The ability to set aside the time needed to create unique lesson plans for each student that focuses on the individual skills and songs they are working on is an important part of being a great teacher.
There are a number of aspects of being a music teacher that call for flexibility. If you are working for a private school sometimes the ability to change lesson times or locations is necessary. When it comes to students, each will learn differently so being flexible in your teaching style will be helpful in helping them become the best musician they can be.
How to become a music teacher
If you know that you’d like to use your music skills to become a music teacher, the easiest first step is to look for the school or company you’d like to work for. An established school is likely to offer you the most support as a new teacher, so this should be one of the first factors you consider. An award-winning and well-run school is sure to be a good setting to begin your music teaching career.