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Pay advice for music teachers

Finding Teaching Work

We offer advice on finding work either as a private instrumental or vocal teacher, or through a third party such as a teaching agency.

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How does the MU support music teachers?

Whether you're a private music tutor or a school music teacher, getting paid fairly is vital. The Musicians' Union provides music teachers across the UK with expert advice on pay, including how to set rates for different types of teaching work.

When you join the MU, you'll gain access to an array of services tailored to your work as a music teacher. We also work closely with partner organisations to make joining us more accessible. If you're an existing member of the National Education Union, the Educational Institute of Scotland or the University and College Union, you'll benefit from reduced MU membership rates.

Teaching member benefits

Speak with us to find out how we can help you

Whichever part of the music industry you operate in, the MU has an expert network and useful resources you can lean on. Get in touch today if you would like to know more about membership and how our services could benefit you.

Music teaching pay rates: FAQs

What's the average music teacher salary in the UK?

The average salary for a music teacher in the UK will vary according to several factors. These include the nature of your employment, the region in which you work, and your levels of expertise and experience.

According to the National Careers Service, the average music teacher salary is too variable to list a set figure. Classroom music teachers in the UK will normally be paid under teachers’ pay and conditions, which takes into account your qualifications and years of service. Instrumental and vocal teachers are on a much wider variety of pay scales, including self-employment and casual employment. The MU can help you decide whether an offer or teaching work is right for you, and we can also challenge employers about unfair terms.

For guidance on how much you should charge as a self-employed music teacher, check the MU's recommended rates of pay for music teachers.

Am I earning the correct music teacher salary?

If you feel unsatisfied with your salary as a music teacher, check our recommended rates of pay to see if you could be earning more. Bear in mind that rates vary widely in practice. The rates that music teachers can expect are influenced by location, experience, qualifications and client base.

We've also written down answers to some of the frequently asked questions concerning our recommended pay rates. If you're thinking of starting negotiations with your employer or seeking advice before your next move, don't hesitate to contact the MU.

How much do private music teachers make?

Private music teachers don't usually earn a fixed salary. The MU recommends that music tutors teaching individual lessons and small groups should charge a minimum of £40.50 per hour in the 2023/24 academic year. However, rates will vary in practice due to experience, location and other factors.

You should consider charging a rate that's closely aligned to your expertise, demand and qualifications. If you perform in a professional capacity, in an orchestra for example, you might charge a higher rate and deliver more advanced lessons.

Knowing when to charge more as a music teacher is vital. While charging more could put you at risk of losing pupils to teachers who charge less, it's important to remember that experience is very valuable. If you'd like more advice, get in touch with the MU.

Do all music teachers make good money?

While starting salaries for music teachers might seem relatively low, potential earnings can increase over time as you develop your career and skills. Music teachers who earn a high salary generally have years of experience alongside an excellent professional reputation.

Those with advanced qualifications like diplomas and degrees can stand out from the competition and might find it easier to negotiate higher pay. Similarly, performing musicians with a high profile might charge a higher hourly rate for occasional private music lessons than a freelance tutor.

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