Is Being A Music Teacher Worth It?

Mar 17 · 5 min read

Many young musicians think about becoming a music teacher. As a music teacher myself I am often asked, is being a music teacher worth it?

Yes! If you love to work with and teach children it is worth being a music teacher. The job has more to do with teaching children than it does music. You should also look up music teacher’s salaries in your area and see if that salary interests you.

How To Become a Music Teacher?

If you are interested in becoming a music teacher there are two different routes you can take. You could either go to college and get your degree in music education. Or you could just practice and become a great musician and teach children how to play the instrument. Technically the only thing you need to teach music is a knowledge of music. Let's discuss these two different ways of going about becoming a music teacher.

If you decide to go to college for music education make sure you do the math and figure out how much you will be paying for your degree and how much you will be making after you have your degree. You should also make sure to figure out what degrees you need in order to get a job. If you are going to be teaching at a private school if you don't necessarily need any specific qualifications, the requirements are set by the private school. If you are going to be teaching in a public school you will need to have all the qualifications required to teach at a public school.

Like I said before, before you decide to go to school to become a music teacher, make sure you are interested in the music teacher's salary. You should also make sure you don't end up trapped in a student loan cycle. There is a good chance you will need a master's degree to teach music at a certain level.


What Is It Like To Be a Music Teacher?

The most important part of teaching music is the teaching part. When you are a teacher, it doesn't really matter what you're teaching because you're a teacher first. I would say 90% of the music teacher is being a teacher. The other 10% is just knowing and loving music. This is very important to remember. If you just really love music and you don't really like teaching you should definitely not become a music teacher.

It is important to love teaching as I've said before. It is your job to educate students and make sure they have a positive experience. Even if a student doesn't retain the information but they have a positive experience they will seek out the information later. This is really important to remember. It is easier to have a student retain information and not have a positive experience. You want them to have a positive experience! You will teach them different things about instruments to like, do violins have frets? Having a negative experience doesn't do anyone any good. You want the student to have a positive experience and association with music. You certainly don't want to embarrass any students. This can be very difficult to do because students can misbehave. But if you embarrass students they will permanently have a negative connotation with music.

This is one of the most difficult parts of teaching music. Music is a very personal thing and if a student is playing or singing in front of you, they are being vulnerable. This is something that you have to respect. You cannot embarrass a student when they are trying their best. People are very sensitive when it comes to the art they create because the art they create is a reflection of themselves. So if you are ridiculing someone's art, you are indirectly ridiculing them.

The other option for teaching music is to just be a private music teacher. This does not necessarily involve a college degree. When you're teaching private music lessons you have to establish a positive relationship with each student. This can also be challenging because every student is different. This also involves, oftentimes, going to students' homes. This involves a certain level of people skill. All teaching involves people skills though, so you shouldn't teach if you do not have people skills.

The downside of just being a private music teacher is you can only teach kids after school. This shortens the amount of time that you can be teaching lessons. Because children have earlier bedtimes than adults. So there is actually quite a small window for you to be teaching each day. Keep that in mind before you decide to go down this route.


How Much Do Music Teachers Make?

How much music teachers make varies widely. It varies from state-to-state and it also varies from private school to public school. Extremely successful private music teachers can make a lot of money. This might involve them teaching group classes and even creating instructional videos. You can make a lot of money creating a music education YouTube channel.

There are a lot of different ways to make money as a music teacher. It does involve thinking outside of the box. And you have to be charismatic and good at relaying information. On average music teachers make $53,000 a year. You do have to hustle and work hard as a music teacher. If you are not a good teacher you will not make as much money.

You have to strike a balance between making sure your student is improving in learning and making sure your student is having fun. If you are motivating kids out of fear or stress they will improve but they might not be having fun. You also have to juggle parents' expectations with students' wants and needs. This can be very difficult as well. It truly is a balancing act. Because the teachers are paying for you but the students are the ones who are interacting with you.

So you have to make sure the students are enjoying themselves and the parents are seeing the results of what they're paying for. Always keep this in mind when you're teaching music lessons. I teach music lessons in Tigard.

If you were teaching for a public school on the other hand there are other tradeoffs you have to make. You will have to deal with Administration, parents and students. This can be a lot. You want to make sure your classes are fun and educational but you also have to make sure you are hitting all the requirements set by the administration. You will also most likely have to do some fundraising, because Arts education is typically underfunded. This means on top of teaching you will also have to figure out how to pay for things you need to teach. This can be very tiring and very stressful.

Needless to say, being a music teacher is not the easiest or most stable job. So you have to make sure you truly love to teach, and you truly love music. If you are a music teacher in a public school you won't necessarily be able to teach the type of music you like. Typically schools are teaching a classical Western traditional European curriculum. This means you will be talking about the fundamentals of European music. Oftentimes at the end of the year if you cover everything you have to teach you can sneak in education about pop culture. but typically you're not teaching much about music after the 1950s. So also keep this in mind before you decide to become a music teacher.


Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope this article has inspired you to pursue a career as a music teacher. It can be very challenging, but is it extremely rewarding. Another nice plus about being a music teacher is you remember all your students. You can really have a positive impact on people's lives and they will remember you forever.

Nellie Hughes
More From Morningside Music Academy