FAQs for Music Teachers
Am I being paid fairly as a music teacher?
Music teachers' pay varies due to several factors, including location, experience and client base. Some music teachers, for example in schools or universities, might be paid a salary, while freelance or self-employed tutors get paid an hourly or day rate.
The best way to find out if you are being paid fairly as a self-employed music teacher is to check the rates of pay for music teaching as recommended by the MU. These give guidance on recommended minimum rates and contextual information to help when setting rates.
Can I teach music online?
Trying online music teaching can feel daunting, especially if your experience stems mainly from the classroom or teaching studio. But with the right support and confidence in using conferencing or video calling systems, teaching online can be simple.
The right technology makes music teaching more accessible for everyone. The Musicians' Union offers advice on group teaching online, along with specialist guidance on safeguarding that applies to both online and in-person teaching.
Do I need qualifications to become a music teacher?
Qualification requirements will depend on where you work. Most classroom music teachers will have a teaching qualification that leads to qualified teacher status, often in addition to a music degree. Instrumental and vocal music teachers are less likely to need qualified teacher status, but they will often be highly qualified to diploma or degree level and beyond.
Our free and accessible career development advice for musicians includes specific pointers on qualification paths available, regardless of your chosen teaching setting.
If you're thinking of becoming a private music tutor, an understanding of how students learn and what they most enjoy will be just as important as your musical qualifications.
How can I increase my earnings as a music teacher?
There are several ways to maximise your income as a teacher of music. These include:
- Gaining more specialised qualifications
- Offering extra services, like exam accompanying
- Learning how to teach music online
- Selling a digital music teaching course
- Writing blogs or posting videos relating to teaching music
- Recording or publishing educational music
These strategies are not always easily accessible for everyone, so it's important to approach new tactics with the right support. Our teaching resources feature advice on pay and employment, including recommended rates of pay.
How to teach music to beginners
Learning how to teach music to children or adults starting from scratch demands certain skills and qualities. You should first ensure you can provide evidence of an enhanced DBS check before working around children. Members can apply online via the MU.
When you're teaching music to beginners, you should focus on making your lessons engaging and fun. Make actual music the focus of your lessons, rather than theory and rules.
Use the first few lessons to share your enthusiasm for music, get to know your new student and gain an understanding of their learning style. From there, you can focus on technique and begin to build a repertoire.
Can I still be a music teacher if I have another job?
Yes. Teaching music while maintaining a professional career is possible, but you'll need to commit to providing consistency for your students even when your schedule gets busy. Additionally, working as a part-time music teacher requires excellent time management and organisation. If you work freelance, you'll need to check the latest tax advice and guidance for musicians.
Professional musicians who mainly perform during the evening often teach music in schools or from home during the day. Likewise, if you work the usual office hours throughout the week, you could offer evening lessons as a private tutor.