Blog #13
Blog #13: Career of the week
Music Teacher
Other Titles: Conductor, Professor, Lesson Instructor, Band Director
Salary
Private Lessons: $41,000-$83,000 Per year
K-12 Level: $38,000-$78,000 Per year
College/University Level: $74,000-$140,000

Music Teacher
__________________

Who

A music teacher is someone who has had experienced background in music of some sort.  They generally play at least one instrument, sometimes from a young age, but not always.  

Private Lessons
: Private teachers can be anyone with a musical background.  Many musicians who perform locally in an area professionally (from one to seven nights a week, or at events like weddings or parties regularly) suppliment their income with private lessons during the day.  This gives them the flexibility to make their own schedule taking on as many students as they want, without getting in the way of their performing careers.  Other private teachers could be retired teachers/performers or teachers/performers between jobs.  

K12 Level
: A teacher at this level will likely be a college educated (to some degree) musician who has been playing for several years leading up to entering college.  While this is not always the case, this allows the teacher a broad background to be able to understand the content that they learn in college and understand how to make it understandable to their future students. 

College/University Level
: A teacher at this level will almost always have an extensive history in music, and hold several degrees (Bachelors, Masters, and usually a PhD) in their field.  There are a lot of people who want to be professors, so many teachers will move across the country for a job and stay at that job their whole career.
__________________
What

Music teachers jobs entail teaching students about all different kinds of music, including: how to play their instrument, history of music, how to listen to music, how to read/write music, how to understand music deeply, and many more things.

Private Lessons:  Here the teacher will be much more focused on the individual student, as teaching happens one on one.  The focus will be mostly on how to play the instrument the student is practicing, traditional techniques, setting the student up with music that applies to their level of experience (harder or easier), and giving them information to apply when they are practicing between lessons.  It is mostly on the student to apply what they learned outside of the lesson, the the teacher guides them along the way.

K12 Level: At this level, the teacher is either a general music teacher, a ensemble teacher (band/chorus/orchestra/jazz/etc.), or a combination of both.  Their job is to create a curriculum that ensures students are learning about music, making music, and thinking deeply about musical concepts.  At the younger ages, you might experience music through games, dances, and explore other performance arts (acting, moving, etc).  At the higher levels, it generally focuses on ensembles making music together and performing their music.  

College/University Level: At this level, the teacher is much more specialized.  They will likely teach one subject (Music History, Music Theory, Ear Training) or teach only the students that play a specific instrument (Violin Professor, Trumpet Professor, Piano Professor).  The subject teachers will likely teach several classes in their subject to undergraduates as well as graduate students, and will be involved in some sort of research paper relating to their field.  The instrument professors will give private lessons to the students in their "Studio", teach group ensembles in their instrument field (Percussion ensemble, strings quartet, brass trio) as well as give a public performance every year of the music they are working on.  
__________________
Where

Private Lessons
: Private lessons can happen practically anywhere.  Many lesson teachers operate out of a studio space, such as a private rehearsal building, a music shop, or their own homes.  Some will even go to the students homes and give the lessons there.

K12 Level
: This teacher operates out of a school (or in our case right now, off of a computer).  This could be a public, private, or charter school.  It could be an Elementary school, Middle school, or High school.  Many have their own rooms that they work in while some travel from classroom to classroom, giving music in the homeroom of the students.  

College/University Level
: These teachers teach on a college/university campus.  They use the universities music spaces, such as rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and their studio/office space depending on the size of the lesson they are teaching.  

__________________
When

Private Lessons
: Private lessons happen year round, since there is always someone who wants to start learning an instrument somewhere.  The teachers have the flexibility to make their own schedules, so how many students each teacher has at different parts of the year will depend on demand of students and demand of their schedules as performers or other obligations outside of teaching.  Lessons generally happen on a weekly basis, or on a consistent schedule decided on by the teacher and student from the start of the process.

K12 Level
: It's easy enough to assume that most of these teachers work during the school year (August-June).  Since that is when the schools are open they are doing the bulk of their teaching while school is in session.  However, many teachers (not just music teachers) continue teaching throughout the summer as well.  For music teachers, there are opportunities to teach summer programs, private lessons, clinics in their field, or teach other teachers professional development.

College/University Level
: The school year of the college/university level is similar to the K12 year, but generally shorter (lat August-December and then Late January-May).  This opens up time for them to pursue other musical experiences in their subjects/instrument such as conventions or performances, as well as work on research that at many schools is required in order to maintain a job at your school long term.  One down fall of the shorter time at school means that there is less teaching time to help your students learn and to prepare for performances, so the expectation for teachers and students is very high. 

__________________
How

Private Lessons
: The best way to become a private lessons teacher is to learn how to play an instrument. Almost all music teachers had to start somewhere and that either meant picking up an instrument and messing around, or beginning in school band, or taking private lessons themselves.  Learning an instrument is a skill (like learning a new language or learning how to fix a car) and the only real way to learn is to do it.  To get to the level of the lesson teacher, it takes years of practice and performing to know how to help students learn from their mistakes and guide them along their way.  

K12 Level
: As above, the best way to be a teacher is to learn how to be proficient at the subject.  All music teachers at some point played an instrument, but that doesn't mean they were the greatest player that ever lived. Many teach at this level because it is more stable than performing, many teach at this level because it doesn't require as much post K12 education, most do it because they love teaching, and the best way to know if you love an instrument, performing, or teaching is to try it.  

College/University Level
: To be a college professor, it takes a lot of time and dedication.  Many colleges wont hire you unless you have multiple post K12 degrees (Bachelors, Masters, and PhD) simply because there are a lot of people and not that many jobs, so they take the most qualified.  The first step to this career would be learning an instrument and getting a Bachelors Degree (4-5 years).  While doing this, you would want to try as many different classes as you can so that you can figure out what subject you would want to focus on.  Then you would major in that field in your Master degree, such as Music History, Piano Performance, Music Education (1-3 years).  Once you have both of those degrees, you will want to build a resume in the field by attending/presenting at conferences, working with other professors in your field, doing your own research, and then you will want to get your PhD (2-6 years).  During this time, you will do research/perform as much as possible, to prepare for what life will look like when you are a professor and to build your resume.  Once you have done all that, you apply for as many jobs as possible, and then audition for the ones that choose you and hope you get one.

__________________
Examples

Private Lessons:
Find a private lesson teacher in DC 
How to become a private music teacher

K12:
How to become a music teacher

College/University:
How to become a college professor
__________________
Respond

Click this link to respond to the questions below
 
If you were to be a music teacher, which of the three levels would you most want to teach at?

Regardless of which level they teach at, what do you think makes a great music teacher (or teacher of any subject)?