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Elementary Music Teachers: Education Requirements and Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an elementary music teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

An individual with a zest for music that desires to impart his knowledge to today's children should consider a career as an elementary music teacher. Teaching students to play instruments, how to sing, and about music history are among the numerous duties of a music teacher. A bachelor's degree in music education or elementary education with a music minor is favored for most jobs; a license and certification are required to teach in a public school.

Essential Information

Elementary music teachers work with children in kindergarten through fifth grade to enrich their knowledge in the world of music. Like all teachers, elementary music teachers are responsible for creating lesson plans for classroom instruction, administering tests and assigning homework and projects to students. Professionals in this field may complete a bachelor's in music education or a bachelor's in elementary education with a music minor, as well as gain certification through their state.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, including student teaching experience
Other Requirements Certificate/license for public school teachers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all elementary school teachers, except special education)
Average Salary (2015)* $57,730 annually (for elementary school teachers, except special education)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Elementary Music Teacher Job Description

Elementary music teachers are responsible for providing an introduction to technical musical concepts such as beat, rhythm and pitch to primary school students. They expose students to musical scales, musical notation, the art of singing, different types of musical instruments and different styles of music. Elementary school music teachers also teach students about the history of music, as well as introducing them to the music of many legendary musicians and composers. Additionally, a music teacher may be required to prepare students for public performances, as the director of a school band or chorus, and give private or group music lessons.

Education Requirements

All states require teachers to hold a teaching certificate and to be licensed, if they wish to teach in a public school. Those interested in teaching music in an elementary school must be certified in elementary education and elementary music education. A Bachelor of Arts in Music Education is preferred; however, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in music may be satisfactory.

During a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education program, students might take classes on such topics as music literature, music history, child development, applied instruction and elementary music methods. Those who wish to conduct student orchestras and choirs may take courses on ensembles, voice methods, string methods, and conducting. Elective courses in music education might include music technology, music for special needs, and jazz studies.

Meanwhile, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education will give students in-depth instruction on different teaching strategies, child and adolescent development, and education technology. Elementary education majors interested in teaching music will be required to take additional music-related courses, which may include music theory, composition, music history, and music performance. Since proficiency in at least one musical instrument is also a prerequisite, participation in an orchestra, band, or chorus is also advised.

As an elementary music teacher, your job is to educate children on the history and theory of music, perform school concerts, and various other activities. To do this, you will likely need a B.A. in music education or elementary education with music as a minor; both teach different yet important music topics. Elementary teaching jobs are all continuing to grow at a 6% rate according to the BLS, so this could be a career with a future.

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