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Music teacher

Music teachers give music lessons to people of all ages and abilities.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 37 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

Future employment

There will be 7% more Music teacher jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Depending on where you work, in your day-to-day duties you could:

  • plan lessons to suit the individual needs of a group or pupil
  • teach pupils to play an instrument and to read and understand music
  • help pupils prepare for music exams, competitions and performances
  • teach the history, theory and appreciation of all kinds of music, following the national curriculum in schools
  • set assignments and mark and assess pupils' work
  • help to organise school choirs, orchestras or bands
  • organise school concerts and musical performances

Working environment

You could work at a college, at a university, from home or at a school.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies

Most music teachers begin with a degree in music.

To teach music in a primary school, you could train to teach all subjects, and develop a subject specialism in music.

To work as a secondary school music teacher, you could train to teach music as a single subject or combine it with teaching another subject.

To teach in a music college, conservatoire or university you may also need to gain a postgraduate music qualification, have a recognised profile as a performer and have teaching experience.

When you apply for a music degree or postgraduate course, you'll usually be asked to attend an audition. You may be expected to have at least Grade 6 on a main instrument.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels including music, or equivalent qualifications
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You'll need a level 3 qualification or higher in music, if you want to be a music lecturer in a further education college.

You would also need a further education teaching qualification that is relevant to the level of teaching responsibility you would have in your job.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

You may be able to start by doing a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, if you have a relevant degree and want to teach 3 to 19 year olds.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • a degree for a teaching apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You may be able to work as a private music teacher with or without qualifications, if you've got exceptional musical ability. A teaching qualification would also be helpful though not essential.

Many musicians combine performance and music teaching as a career.

Other routes

You could take training accredited by professional bodies, like the Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators, offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London.

The certificate course is aimed at people who are new to teaching music to children, and covers the purpose of music education and promotes best practice. It has been developed for:

  • instrumental and vocal teachers working privately with schools
  • primary teachers
  • community musicians
  • professional musicians who do educational work

Other options include training like the Instrumental Teaching Diploma offered by Rock School.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You can search for jobs in schools through the Teaching Vacancies service.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a music teacher from:Get Into Teaching; Incorporated Society of Musicians; Musicians' Union

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As a qualified and experienced music teacher in a school, you could become head of the music department.

You could also become an advisory teacher, or inspector employed by a local education authority or independent agency.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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