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Job Photographs

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Keeping records of student progress.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone, and using a computer.

    Organising an educational trip to a concert.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, looking at some books and writing on a piece of paper.

    Providing written feedback to students.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, writing on a book full of musical notation.

    Marking work.

  • A woman is placing a microphone into a microphone stand.

    Preparing equipment before a music lesson.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, reading a book containing musical notation.

    Music teachers work with a variety of learning materials, including books, CDs and computer-based materials.

  • A woman is looking at various paper documents on a noticeboard.

    Referring to the music department timetable.

  • A woman is playing a piano.  Another woman is standing next to her, watching carefully.

    Teaching a student to play a musical instrument.

  • Music Teacher

Music Teacher

Introduction

Music teachers teach people of all ages and abilities to read, play or sing music. They give lessons in a wide variety of settings, including schools, colleges, universities and conservatoires. Some music teachers teach privately, in their own homes or in those of their students.

Also known as

  • Music Instructor
  • Peripatetic Music Teacher

Work Activities

As a Music Teacher, you'll give music lessons to people of all ages and abilities. You will teach them to read, understand and interpret music, as well as to play a musical instrument. Sometimes you might teach people to sing.

The music you teach might be from one particular style, such as classical or jazz, or it could be from a range of styles.

You'll give lessons in a wide variety of settings. Exactly where you teach will often influence the type of work you do.

For example, Music Teachers who work in schools teach the practice, history, theory and appreciation of different types of music. You'll go to staff meetings and parents' evenings, as well as keep registers and records of student progress. You might also supervise students on trips, such as to the theatre or concert, or get involved with school choirs, bands or orchestras.

As a Music Teacher who gives private lessons, you will usually work from your home or at the student's home. You'll teach students, usually one-to-one, to play an instrument or sing, and you might also enter them for graded music exams.

Some private teachers act as peripatetic or visiting instrumental teachers in schools or music services.

As a Private Music Teacher, you'll run your own business, so you'll spend time marketing your services and building up new contacts.

Music Teachers also teach in colleges, universities, community centres, and music centres run by local authorities.

Whichever type of Music Teacher you become you will need to:

  • plan and organise lessons
  • explain and demonstrate different learning techniques
  • prepare students for exams or performances
  • set assignments and mark work
  • monitor and report on the progress of students
  • teach concepts such as rhythm and harmony
  • provide feedback and encouragement

You will use textbooks, sheet music, CDs and sometimes computer software and websites to help with learning.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Music Teacher, you'll need:

  • knowledge of music theory and the ability to play an instrument or sing to a high standard
  • the ability to encourage, motivate and inspire students
  • patience and understanding
  • excellent communication and organisation skills
  • observational and evaluation skills
  • the ability to maintain discipline and work well under pressure
  • commitment to your own professional development
  • good knowledge of the subject you teach

Some Music Teachers will need the ability to deal with challenging behaviour in the classroom.

Music technology software skills are increasingly important.

Private Music Teachers need business and marketing skills.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

Teachers in the state education sector are paid on a scale according to their qualifications, experience and responsibilities. The highest salaries are available in inner London schools.

The pay rates (per year) below are approximate:

  • Unqualified teachers are typically paid in the range of £17,000 to £27,000 a year
  • Newly qualified teachers are typically paid in the range of £23,000 to £29,500 a year
  • With experience this can rise to £36,500 to £48,000 a year

Teachers with management responsibility can receive a higher salary than this.

Private Music Teachers usually charge a half-hourly or hourly rate. Fees for private Music Teachers are generally in the range of £20 - £30 an hour, and some charge up to £50 an hour. However, fees vary widely depending on the experience of the Music Teacher, whether they are teaching students individually or in groups, and the location.

Hours of work

Teachers normally work from 8:30 am or 9 am to 3:30 pm or 4 pm, Monday to Friday. However, most Music Teachers work extra hours - marking work, preparing lessons and going to meetings. They often have to work in the evenings and at weekends to prepare lessons and mark work.

Where could I work?

Employers include:

  • state and private schools
  • colleges and universities
  • arts organisations and music centres

Music Teachers can also work for local authority music services, visiting a number of schools to give lessons, or as visiting teachers in one or more schools.

In Wales there is high demand for Welsh-medium education, so if you are a first or second language Welsh speaker, you could improve your prospects of obtaining a teaching post by training to teach through the medium of Welsh.

Self-employment

Music Teachers can become self-employed, teaching students privately.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies for classroom teachers are advertised by local authorities and in the local and national press, including the Guardian and the Times Educational Supplement (TES). There are also specialist education recruitment websites, for example, eTeach.

Private Music Teachers often advertise their services in local magazines and newspapers.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Entry routes vary, depending on where you teach music.

If you teach music privately (and not in a school), it's not essential to have a teaching qualification. However, most private Music Teachers have a relevant music diploma or degree.

To become a qualified secondary school Music Teacher, you usually need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) through initial teacher training (ITE). There are several ITE routes.

In Wales there will be new professional standards for students starting their ITE programme from September 2019.

You can also take a PGCE in music. Courses are usually one-year full-time.

Most postgraduates take a PGCE in a secondary education subject or primary education. Some primary education PGCEs allow you to specialise in a particular subject. Courses are usually one-year full-time. Some two-year, part-time courses are available (although not in every subject). You can apply through UCAS Teacher Training or directly to the training provider. There are incentives of up to £20,000 for graduates with certain degrees who want to train to be a teacher in Wales.

In Wales, you can train whilst employed at a maintained school through the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) but places are limited and subject to local recruitment needs.

In England there is also the employment-based School Direct scheme: you'll train while working in a school. The expectation is that you'd go on to work in the school or group of schools where you trained, although there's no guarantee of employment at the end of your training. This does not apply in Wales.

In England, you can also train in a school after your degree through school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT). These programmes are delivered by groups of neighbouring schools and colleges and often aim to meet local teaching needs.

In Wales, you can train whilst employed at a maintained school through the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) but places are limited and subject to local recruitment needs.

Also in Wales, all candidates for teacher training need to have Grade B/6 in English Language and Maths. Students training to teach through the medium of Welsh will also need a GCSE grade C/4 or above in Welsh (first language).

Teach First is a charity that recruits and supports graduates to teach in schools in low-income communities in a number of UK regions. The programme takes two years to complete.

Music degrees are widely available at universities, colleges and conservatoires. They cover performance, theory and composition. The balance of this varies, so check college/university websites very carefully.

To achieve QTS, student teachers need to pass tests in English and maths.

Welsh medium applicants will also complete a literacy test in Welsh.

Training

Ongoing training involves keeping up to date with the requirements of the awarding bodies and their syllabuses in the various stage examinations.

Progression

Music Teachers may move into music board examining, performing, composing, directing choirs or orchestras, or accompanying at exams or recitals.

Work Experience

To enter teacher training courses, you'll usually need to have at least observed some classes in a mainstream primary or secondary school. For some courses, you'll need paid or voluntary work experience in the classroom, or other relevant experience with children and young people.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Working with children and young people who are under 18 is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.

This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree in music, the usual minimum requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels, including music
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.

You'll also have an audition, and many universities ask that you have a particular grade in playing an instrument.

All candidates for teacher training need GCSEs (or recognised equivalent qualifications) at grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics.

In Wales, all candidates for teacher training need to have Grade B/6 in English Language and/or Welsh, and Maths. Primary teachers also need GCSE in science at grade C/4 or above.

Students training to teach through the medium of Welsh will also need a GCSE grade C/4 or above in Welsh (first language).

In England, if you want to teach at Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14), you must also have a GCSE (or recognised equivalent qualification) at grade C/4 or above in a science subject.

If you don't have the GCSEs that are usually needed, you might be able to sit a pre-entry equivalency test; you should contact individual course providers to discuss your situation before making your application.

To achieve Qualified Teacher Status, Student Teachers need to pass tests in English and maths. Welsh medium applicants will also complete a literacy test in Welsh.

To enter a degree, such as a BEd, or BA/BSc with QTS, you'll need to meet other qualification requirements, depending on the course and subject. You'll usually need a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above and at least 2 A levels.

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Welsh Baccalaureate

However, course requirements vary, so please check prospectuses carefully.

To enter a secondary education PGCE course, your degree should usually be related to the subject you want to teach. Universities often accept degrees with at least 50% relevant content.

For a primary education PGCE, you need any degree that is relevant to the primary National Curriculum. In Wales, you need a degree that is related to primary education.

It can be possible to enter a secondary education PGCE without a directly relevant degree. For example, universities might suggest that you increase your knowledge through a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. Most SKE courses are in maths, physics and chemistry; there are smaller numbers in design and technology, ICT and modern languages.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Skills/experience

To enter teacher training courses, you'll usually need to have at least observed some classes in a mainstream primary or secondary school. For some courses, you'll need paid or voluntary work experience in the classroom, or other relevant experience with children and young people.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications you need to enter a degree course, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, although you should check this with the course provider.

Distance learning

PGCE courses are also available on a flexible learning basis. For example, you may be able to train in the evenings or at weekends, or by distance learning.

Employment-based training

Instead of going to university to do a PGCE, graduates can follow an employment-based route. This is where you train in a school. Employment-based routes include School Direct, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) and the scheme offered by Teach First, and in Wales, through the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) but places are limited. For more information, please see 'Entry Routes and Training'.

Funding

For funding information see the 'GOV.UK website, or Student Finance Wales if living in Wales.

Further Information

UCAS Teacher Training

Website: www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/teacher-training

Teach First

Website: www.teachfirst.org.uk

Department of Education Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Email: DE.DEWebMail@education-ni.gov.uk

Website: www.deni.gov.uk

General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland)

Scottish enquiries

Email: gtcs@gtcs.org.uk

Website: www.gtcs.org.uk

GOV.UK

UK government services and information

Website: www.gov.uk

Music Education Council (MEC)

Address: 10 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AA

Tel: 020 7193 6615

Website: www.mec.org.uk

Teach in Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Email: teaching@infoscotland.com

Website: www.teachinginscotland.com

In2Teaching

Website: www.in2teaching.org.uk

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol

Information on Higher Education courses and scholarships through the medium of Welsh

Email: gwybodaeth@colegcymraeg.ac.uk

Website: www.colegcymraeg.ac.uk

Welsh Government Education and Skills Department

Email: customerhelp@gov.wales

Website: www.wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/?lang=en

Teacher Training & Education in Wales

Website: www.teachertrainingcymru.org/

Student Finance Wales

Welsh enquiries

Tel: 0845 6028845

Website: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Discover Teaching - Wales

Website: www.discoverteaching.wales/

Education Workforce Council Wales

Website: www.ewc.wales

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