How to Become a Music Teacher

Many people want to be music teachers because it allows them not only to pursue their own passion for music, but also to share this passion with others. However, it is also a profession that involves many years of training, often starting in childhood.

Make sure you have the necessary musical chops. You probably would not be interested in becoming a music teacher if you did not already enjoy and play music. If not, now is the time to start! Join your school’s chorus or band to see if you enjoy and excel at the serious study of music.

Determine if teaching is right for you. In addition to a music background, this career requires that you enjoy working with children, which is not for everyone. Do you have the patience, enthusiasm, and positive attitude to inspire the next generation of musicians?

  • Look into teaching music at a summer camp or in an after-school program. If you continue to pursue this kind of work during and after college, it can also count as teaching experience when it comes time to apply for jobs.
  • Ask the music teacher at the elementary, middle, or high school you attended if you can interview them and/or shadow them for the day. Be sure to ask them what the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of the job are.

Tailor your high school classes to your desired future. If your school offers them, take classes in music history and theory, including AP Music Theory. Child psychology is also a natural fit for people interested in becoming music teachers.

Try subjects like computers and math. You might be surprised at the others kinds of classes that may be helpful. Since so much of music is now technology-driven, make sure you take the necessary classes to become computer literate. Aspiring composers in particular may find that they enjoy advanced math classes and that these classes help them think about music in new ways.

Consider taking private music lessons. It’s great to play in your school’s band or sing in the chorus, but if you want to attend a good program, you will need to do more than that. Private lessons can be pricey, but the right teacher can help take your skills to the next level.

  • Your teacher can also be a useful resource in identifying the best schools for you and preparing for auditions, which most music programs will require.