How to become a Teacher - Music

Music teachers develop students' interest in and appreciation of music through teaching theory, history and practical skills.

Personal requirements of a Teacher - Music

  • High degree of proficiency in at least one instrument
  • Enthusiasm for music and teaching
  • Good organisational skills
  • Able to communicate musical concepts and instructions clearly
  • Patient when dealing with students of differing abilities
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours

Education & Training for a Teacher - Music

To become a music teacher you usually have to complete a degree in education, specialising in music or performing arts. Alternatively, you can undertake a music degree or an arts degree majoring in music, followed by a postgraduate qualification in education or teaching. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education and have AMEB qualifications. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and music are normally required. Applicants may also be required to submit a folio, attend an audition or interview, or complete a music theory proficiency test. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. A number of universities in Australia offer postgraduate courses in education and teaching. They may be available by distance education. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. No formal qualifications are required to be a private music teacher, but they may be an advantage.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - Music

Music teachers in secondary schools may perform the following tasks:

  • undertake general teaching tasks (see the separate entry for Teacher - Secondary)
  • illustrate basic musical concepts (timing and rhythm, for example) for students through activities such as playing recorded music or playing an instrument in class accompanied by students
  • design creative activities to allow students to experience different musical styles, interpret musical scores and compose their own music
  • teach music theory and history, including principles of harmony, counterpoint, form and analysis
  • provide aural training through the performance of music, talks and discussion, use of audiovisual equipment, practical music and written assignments
  • introduce individual students to particular instruments and assess students’ needs in regard to instrumental training
  • arrange for and timetable regular visits by instrumental teachers
  • set up and conduct school choirs and orchestras, concert bands, rock bands and jazz ensembles
  • organise student concerts and invite visiting musicians to schools for concerts and performance classes
  • organise the repair, servicing and replacement of instruments and equipment
  • teach and develop individual student skills in computer designed music.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - Music

Employment opportunities for school-based teachers may arise in government and non-government schools, and overseas. Demand for this occupation is mainly dependent on government funding, as well as teacher resignation and retirement rates. Opportunities may be enhanced for teachers willing to work in remote or rural locations. Opportunities for private music teachers depend on the ability of families to pay the fees and teachers’ ability to promote their services. Music teachers may teach groups of students ranging from pre-school through to university, or they may work with individual students. Employment opportunities are enhanced for music teachers who keep up to date with instrumental technology and sound reinforcement systems.

Specialisations:


Instrumental Teacher

An instrumental teacher visits schools to teach individual or groups of students particular instruments and prepare them for music examinations. They may be employees of the Department of Education or privately employed. Instrumental teachers employed by the Department of Education are required to have formal qualifications. Instrumental teachers working in private schools may or may not require formal qualifications.


Private Music Teacher

A private music teacher usually specialises in teaching one instrument and may prepare pupils for examinations set by the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB). Most private music teaching is done in the evenings or on weekends. It usually happens in the teacher's home or in the home of their student. Computer skills are an advantage for classroom work.

Additional Information
Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. Some people who have reached a certain level of musical competence set themselves up as private music teachers, even if they have not completed a training course.
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