Teaching As A Career

Many musicians consider a teaching career for a number of reasons. Some will seek employment in either public or private school systems while others may combine private teaching with a performing career. The latter will either be self-employed or work part-time in a formal school system.

Musicians choosing a teaching career in a formal school system will need at least an undergraduate degree in Music Education. A career at the college level will generally require a graduate or doctorate degree in a specialized field of music study.

Regardless of the type of teaching chosen, it is often controlled by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiated by a union or faculty association. Advancement, working conditions, pay and benefits will often be circumscribed by the terms of that written agreement. Decisions on whether to join the labor organization involved are more fully explained in the section of this web site devoted to Unions.

While employment may be more reliable once a teacher becomes tenured, career advancement is strictly controlled. Compared to free-lancing musicians, the work can become monotonous and routine although somewhat more secure. Security is often subject to budget limitations when “music” and “art” become the first programs to be eliminated in a financial crunch.

However, many will realize a great deal of personal satisfaction in a teaching career, seeing some of their students developing and maturing into gifted musicians or musical artists as a result of their study.

Part-time teachers of students studying how to play an instrument in private schools are often paid a percentage of the fees paid to the school by their students. Many musicians choose to teach in their own private studios or homes. While this mode of teaching does offer flexibility, developing a large student base can often be difficult and unreliable. However, expenses involved are generally tax-deductible.

Deciding which musical career path to follow can often be difficult and frustrating. Following the dictates of your own personality is generally the deciding factor. Whatever the results, pursue it with a passion and you will be more likely to succeed.

Examine the other pages of this web site for practical advice on musical career decisions. Study the interviews of successful musician to learn how others have developed rewarding and satisfying careers. There is no shame in imitating and emulating the proven strategies of others.