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Music Teacher

Jun 2024
Career of the Month
music teacher and their student sat playing guitar

Key Facts

Starter Salary
Experienced Salary
Working Hours
35-37 hours a week


Music teachers can be qualified school teachers who specialise in music, or they may be private tutors, usually working one-to-one with people who want to learn to sing or play an instrument.

School teachers work to a set syllabus; they plan, prepare and deliver lessons and set homework and exams. They get involved in the school’s musical activities, such as choirs and orchestras.

Private tutors teach theory and practical aspects for instrument or voice; they work from their own home, teach at their students' homes or work at music centres. Some go into schools where they are known as peripatetic teachers; they usually have a number of schools that they visit and often help to put on concerts to celebrate what the students have learned. Private tutors prepare students for their graded practical exams, for auditions etc.

Music teachers may also work in colleges, universities and conservatoires, and some work with professional performers.

Along with a high standard in musical performance, music teachers are patient and have excellent verbal communication skills. They enjoy working with others.

What it takes

What it takes:

  • the ability to teach pupils how to sing or play an instrument
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • leadership skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device


  • for school teaching, demonstrate the required standard in English and maths
  • pass enhanced background checks

Day to day

Day to day:

Depending on where you work, your duties may include

  • 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 schools, teaching the history, theory and appreciation of all kinds of music, following the national curriculum
  • setting assignments and marking and assessing pupils' work
  • helping to organise school choirs, orchestras or bands
  • organising school concerts and musical performances

You could work at a college, at a university, from home or at a school.


You will need
  • An A Level (or equivalent) in music
  • Highly proficient on at least one musical instrument
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in English
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in maths
  • A degree in music
You may need
  • An A Level (or equivalent) in English
Academic and Vocational Notes

To work as a music teacher in a school, you normally need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are different routes to achieving this including taking a degree in music that incorporates QTS, or taking a degree in music and then a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or a school-based initial teacher training programme/apprenticeship.

Check entry requirements for degree courses and teacher training programmes with individual course providers before making an application. For a music degree, you will need to have taken practical music exams to a high grade.

Private music teachers usually - but not always - have a music degree. Although it is not essential, some also have QTS and/or take a teaching qualification through a professional music body/college.

Work Based Training Notes

Once they have gained QTS, secondary school music teachers have an induction period during which time they receive support with their development and undergo further assessment.

Throughout their career, they need to keep their knowledge and skills up to date through continuing professional development. With experience, promotion is possible, for example to head of music within a school.

As private music teachers are normally self-employed, their prospects very much depend on their reputation and ability to market themselves.

Some very talented and experienced teachers work in conservatoires and/or with professional musicians.

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

Some data provided by NCS. May contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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