Elementary Music Teacher: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Explore the career requirements for an elementary music teacher. Get the facts about education requirements, job duties and career outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is An Elementary Music Teacher?

Elementary music teachers are responsible for preparing lessons and leading music class instruction for elementary school students. They teach students musical concepts and may lead choir and band classes and activities. Music teachers are often responsible for preparing students to perform at special events for the school, the community or at local competitions. They also monitor student progress in class.

Degree Required Bachelor's or Master's degree
Education Field of Study Music education
Licensure State licensure required for public schools in all states
Job Growth (2014-2024)6% (for all elementary teachers)*
Annual Median Wage (2015)$54,890 (elementary teachers, except special education)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Become an Elementary Music Teacher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states mandate licensure of public school teachers; private school teachers may not need a license (www.bls.gov). Licensure rules vary between states, but you'll generally be required to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher training curriculum, the latter of which is often undertaken in conjunction with an undergraduate degree program in education.

You might earn a bachelor's degree in music education or bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minor in music. Since you may provide vocal or instrumental instruction to students, your coursework could include piano, woodwind or percussion studies, as well as choral and vocal teaching techniques. Undergraduate educational coursework may also cover child development and literacy. A master's degree may be required by some states to maintain licensure. Master's programs in the field allow you to study music theory and take classes in education research, statistics and classroom assessment methods.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

As an elementary music teacher, you can provide basic vocal and instrumental instruction for a variety of musical styles, working with students either privately or in groups. You might work within a classroom setting and introduce pupils to simple music concepts, such as beat, rhythm and pitch, as well as teach them how to read musical notes and symbols. Helping students prepare for musical performances to present to their families and the public might be part of your duties, and you could also direct school orchestras, bands and choruses.

What Is the Career Outlook?

The BLS reported that job growth for all elementary teachers is expected to be as fast as average and increase by about 6% from 2014 to 2024. Job options for teachers in general are predicted to be more readily available in rural locales or inner cities, also according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Art and physical education teachers also provide specialized instruction in a specific subject area. Music, art and physical education teachers may be employed by elementary, middle or high schools. These instructors may also work as private school instructors. Preschool teachers also prepare and lead age-appropriate instruction for children who are not old enough for kindergarten, and may incorporate music into their program. Childcare workers may also use music as part of their planned activities for children in daycare settings.

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