Instrumental Music Pedagogy

Read on to learn more about a career in instrumental music pedagogy. Get information about the education and certification requirements as well as job outlook and possible earnings to make an informed career decision.

Is Instrumental Music Pedagogy for Me?

Career Overview

Music teachers prepare lessons for students of all ability levels, teaching them how to practice, perform, how music works and about the composers who wrote what they're playing. They work full- or part-time in schools, music stores, summer music programs and camps. Many private music teachers give lessons evenings and weekends. Teaching requires creativity and patience. Most music teachers begin learning to play early and then earn a bachelor's degree in music education. Music education programs are widely available at universities and colleges, some of which boast conservatories offering dual degrees in pedagogy and performance.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), music teachers who taught in public schools as of May 2013 earned median salaries of $53,590 at the elementary level, $53,940 at the middle school level and $55,360 at the high school level ( At the postsecondary level, teachers of music earned a median salary of $62,830. Job prospects were projected to grow by 6-12% between 2012 and 2022 at the K-12 range and by 19% for postsecondary positions.

How Can I Work in Instrumental Music Pedagogy?

Undergraduate Education

If you'd like to be certified to teach music in an elementary school, middle school or high school, you would need a degree in music education. Most schools require an audition and these programs typically take about five years to complete. Coursework will cover music theory, musicianship, applied music, child development, teaching methods and issues in secondary education. You would also need to do a student teaching practicum and pass a basic skills exam to be certified to teach grades K-12.

Graduate Studies

If you want to teach at the college level, you would need at least a master's degree in music education. These programs may require an audition, a bachelor's degree in music education, references and a GRE exam or a specific GPA earned during your undergraduate studies. Since maintaining teacher certification requires continuing education credits, many music teachers go on to earn master's degrees specializing in topics such as jazz, conducting or piano pedagogy. Doctoral degrees in music education are also available and could lead to running music departments or becoming a tenured music professor.

Alternative Career Path

If you want to teach as a private music teacher, you may have a degree in music rather than music education. You would need to demonstrate skills in both playing an instrument and teaching it to others. Some private music teachers specialize in specific pedagogical techniques, which are often taught at method schools and which may require certification and continuing education.

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