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Music Teacher Profile


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 Music Teacher. This page details the following Information:-

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

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Music teachers have an understanding of music theory as well as being able to play an instrument or sing very well.

Music is part of the National Curriculum. Teachers teach pupils the history, theory and appreciation of different types of music. Those who work in primary schools may teach other subjects too.

Music teachers help pupils prepare for music examinations, competitions and performances in schools, local halls or at events. Secondary school teachers also prepare pupils for GCSE/S grade and A level/H grade music examinations.

Some music teachers work on a freelance basis. They give private lessons to individuals or small groups and usually divide their time between giving lessons from home and at different schools, colleges or music centres. Increasingly, music teaching is part of the leisure economy, with older people also taking private lessons.

Hours and Environment

Music teachers normally work school hours from Monday to Friday. They may also teach individual pupils or run rehearsals or music groups after school hours and occasionally at weekends. Private lessons are usually outside school hours.

Music teachers work mainly indoors - in schools, colleges, arts centres, public venues, or at home for private lessons.

Freelance music teachers spend time travelling between different teaching venues.

Skills and Interests

To be a music teacher you should:

  • wish to share your enthusiasm for music
  • have a good knowledge of all types of music and its background
  • have musical skills in playing an instrument or singing
  • be patient and enthusiastic
  • have good communication skills to encourage pupils to appreciate music and develop creative skills
  • be self-motivated and well-organised
  • enjoy music as a hobby.


Music teachers working in state schools must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), or in Scotland be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

If you become a freelance music teacher and do not work in a state school you do not legally have to hold a professional teaching qualification. You will, however, need a diploma from a specialist music college, or a music degree. Some music teachers enter the profession through a graduate diploma.

Degree courses are available at conservatoires, colleges and universities and vary considerably in their balance of music (musicology), composition methods and performance training. Courses lead to Bachelor of Music (BMus), Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Education (BEd), and are usually 3 or 4 years in length.

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

Some colleges offer a shortened two-year specialist music BEd course for applicants with graded music examinations. Evidence of recent music study or work on a music project can also be helpful.

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. Additionally, you will have an audition, and many institutions also require you to have at least grade 6 on a main instrument.

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.

Specialist music schools only usually accept instrumentalists up to 20 years and singers to 24 years. However, as maturity is often considered an asset for teaching, there is no upper age limit for universities and colleges offering degrees with QTS.


If you have completed a music degree or diploma without Qualified Teacher Status, you must also take a one-year Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) course to be able to work in a state school.

Performing arts diplomas and NVQs/SVQs in Arts and Development Teaching and Enabling at Levels 3 and 4 are available through relevant training organisations.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


State and independent schools, and some universities and colleges employ music teachers with teaching qualifications. Armed forces bands usually employ their music teachers from musicians who are already serving officers.

Competition for jobs is fierce for those who want to work in specialist music schools or colleges.

There is occasional opportunity for promotion to head of music department, or head of primary school.

Many music teachers are freelance and self-employed. 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.

Newly qualified teachers working in state schools earn from £18,105 (Inner London £21,522).
Experienced teachers in state schools can earn up to £33,150 depending on performance and extra responsibilities (up to £36,327 as a principal teacher in Scotland).

The Incorporated Society of Musicians’ (ISM) recommended rates for freelance private tuition for newly qualified teachers are £21.51 to £31.41 per hour, outside London. In London, recommended rates are between £24 and £33.90 per hour. Higher rates are advocated for experienced teachers.

Further information

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
24 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7636 5400

Incorporated Society of Musicians
10 Stratford Place
Tel: 020 7629 4413

Musicians Union
60-62 Clapham Road
Tel: 020 7582 5566

Teacher Training Agency
Portland House
Stag Place
Tel: 0845 6000 991 (English-speakers)
0845 600 992 (Welsh-speakers)

Scottish Executive, Education Department
SS13, Area 2A
Victoria Quay
Tel: 0131 244 4544/7930

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI)
Rathgael House
43 Balloo Road
Co Down
BT19 7PR
Tel: 028 9127 9279

Arts Advice
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Other Useful Music Teacher Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Music 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 Music 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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