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Singing Teacher Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Singing Teacher. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Singing Teacher
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Singing Teacher Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Singing teachers, sometimes known as vocal coaches, work with individuals and groups, teaching vocal skills, singing and music theory, composition and musical appreciation. Singing teachers may also specialise in a particular singing style, for instance choral, opera, rhythm and blues, or pop.

Singing teachers often have several different roles: helping students to prepare for examinations; assisting students in building up a repertoire of sheet music and backing tracks; working with groups in rehearsals prior to public performance; they can be involved in coaching individuals for a particular role in a play or musical.

Teachers work in a wide range of settings including primary and secondary schools, rehearsal studios, music colleges, and on a one-to-one private tuition basis. Singing teachers may be employed by one institution or they may work on a peripatetic basis, travelling between organisations to set up and run classes.

Singing teachers are also increasingly contracted by commercial firms to design training programmes that offer alternative ways of developing professional and interpersonal skills such as teamwork, presentation, creativity and confidence building.

Typical day-to-day duties may include:

  • planning lessons and organising resources
  • coaching in particular vocal/breathing exercises and techniques
  • instruction in melody, harmony and improvisation
  • teaching specific areas relating to exam syllabuses
  • administration of student examinations
  • organising performances
  • practice sessions to maintain high levels in their own performance.

Private tutors may also have to deal with marketing and business accounts if self-employed.

Hours and Environment

In schools, singing teachers work normal school hours, Monday to Friday. Often, teachers divide their time between part-time work in schools and private tuition. They may also teach individual pupils or run rehearsal or music groups after school hours and occasionally at weekends. For performances outside school hours, attendance would be required.

Private singing teachers hours can vary widely and are normally fitted around the students needs.

Music teachers usually work indoors in schools, colleges, arts centres, company training centres, public venues or in their own or clients home in the case of private tuition. Freelance music teachers spend time travelling between different teaching venues.

Skills and Interests

To be a singing teacher you should:

  • have excellent vocal and aural skills
  • have a good knowledge of all singing styles
  • be patient and enthusiastic
  • have good communication skills
  • be self-motivated and well-organised
  • be aware of health and safety issues
  • have good business skills, especially if working in private tuition.

In addition to singing skills, the ability to play one or more musical instruments is a distinct advantage.

Entry

To teach singing in the state school system you must be a qualified music teacher, and may be expected to teach other subjects within the school. Outside the state schools system, for instance in the independent sector, formal teaching qualifications are not necessarily required although they are recommended. You will, however, need a diploma from a specialist music college, or a music degree. Some singing teachers enter the profession with a graduate diploma.

Degree courses are available at conservatoires, music colleges and universities. Ideally, the emphasis of the degree should be on performance. Courses include Bachelor of Music (BMus), BMus in Performance, Performance and Composition, and Popular Music Performance, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Performing Arts and Bachelor of Education (BEd) in Music. Courses are usually three or four years in length.

Graduate diploma courses at conservatoires and music colleges are mainly based around performance training, but also have some academic content. They usually lead to a graduate qualification that is equivalent to a degree.

Minimum entry requirements for a music degree or graduate diploma are usually five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) and two A levels/three H grades including music, or equivalent qualifications.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Additionally, applicants will have an audition, and many institutions also require them to have reached at least grade six on a main instrument. Evidence of recent music study or work on a music project can also be helpful.

For full details of entry routes into teaching in state schools, please see job profiles listed under Teacher.

Training

As mentioned above, for state schools you will be required to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

For independent schools and private tuition, there is a range of qualifications that can be undertaken.

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) offer a one-year part-time Certificate of Teaching (CT ABRSM). The course covers music theory and practice, and is designed to enhance teaching skills as well as offering the chance to develop contacts and share ideas. The course can be undertaken at centres throughout the country or it can be studied on a fast-track residential basis. For more details, contact ABRSM.

ABRSM also offer follow-on teaching diplomas at three levels: Diploma (Dip ABRSM); Licentiate (LRSM); and Fellowship (FRSM). For details on entry requirements and course structure, see the ABRSM website below.

Trinity College offer the ATCL Associate Diploma in Music Teaching (Vocal Teaching) which is of equivalent standard to the end of the first year of a music degree, and the LTCL Licentiate Diploma which is of equivalent standard to the end of year three of a degree. They also offer a postgraduate level FTLC Diploma in Music Education. Although this does not cover vocal teaching as such, it does cater for professionals involved at the strategic level of planning and coordinating teacher-training programmes. Full details of all qualifications offered can be found on the Trinity College website below.

Postgraduate courses are available at a number of universities and music colleges throughout the country. Typical subjects include music performance, music studies and vocal performance. Check with individual colleges for entry requirements.

For practitioners, NVQs/SVQs in Arts and Development Teaching and Enabling at levels 3 and 4 are available. For details contact Arts Advice below.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), in conjunction with University of Reading, offer a professional development programme for teachers in private practice - Music Teaching in Private Practice (Mtpp). The programme can be studied via distance learning with regional seminars. It takes between two and four years to complete. Contact ISM for details.

Opportunities

State and independent schools, and some universities and colleges employ singing teachers with instrument skills and teaching qualifications. Currently, music teachers are in demand within the state sector, especially at secondary level, so prospects are good. However, competition for jobs is fierce for those who want to work in specialist music schools or colleges.

In schools and colleges there may be opportunities for promotion to head of department.

Local authorities may have positions available for experienced singing and music teachers to act as coordinators of music teaching services within the local or regional area. There may also be wider arts development and administration roles available through local authorities or community and regional arts bodies.

Many singing teachers work on a freelance basis. Freelance teachers usually combine teaching privately with part-time or casual work for colleges and other organisations.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

Most teachers in state schools start on £18,105 in England and Wales (£17,226 in Scotland).
More experienced teachers can earn up to £33,150 in England and Wales, depending on performance and extra responsibilities (up to £36,327 as a principal teacher in Scotland).

ISM recommends the following hourly rates for freelance private tuition:

£21.51 to £31.41 per hour outside London
£24.00 to £33.90 per hour in London.
Experienced teachers can expect to charge higher rates to reflect their expertise.
ISM has additional recommended rates for group work.

Further information

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)
24 Portland Place
London
W1B 1LU
Tel: 020 7636 5400
www.abrsm.org

Trinity College London
89 Albert Embankment
London
SE1 7TP
Tel: 020 7820 6100
www.trinitycollege.co.uk

Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
10 Stratford Place
London
W1C 1AA
Tel: 020 7629 4413
www.ism.org

Arts Advice
Tel: 0800 093 0444
www.artsadvice.com

Other Useful Singing Teacher Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Singing Teacher job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Singing Teacher Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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