Copyright

Careers in Music Education

While the term 'music education' may invoke an image of a public school music teacher, that is just one of the career options available in the music education field. This article examines some other careers that involve teaching music to students.

View popular schools

Music Education Career Options

A career in music education allows individuals to combine their knowledge of and passion for music with their desire to share this expertise and enthusiasm with others. While being a music teacher in a private or public school setting is definitely one career option, this article is going to examine that as well as some other career options that can be found in the music education field.

Job Title Median Annual Salary* Job Growth (2016 - 2026)*
Conductor $50,590 (for music directors and composers) 6% (for music directors and composers)
Music Librarian $58,520 (for librarians) 9% (for librarians)
Private Music Instructor $34,857** (for tutors) 10% (for teachers and instructors, all other)
Music Professor $66,930 (for art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary) 12% (for art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary)
Marching Band Director $50,590 (for music directors and composers) 6% (for music directors and composers)
Music Teacher $57,160 (for elementary school teachers, except special education); $57,720 (for middle school teachers, except special education); $59,170 (for secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education) 7% (for kindergarten and elementary school teachers); 8% (for middle school teachers and for high school teachers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS - May 2017); **PayScale .com (May 2018)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agricultural Education for Teachers
  • Art Teacher Education
  • Biology Education for Teachers
  • Business Teacher Education
  • Chemistry Teacher Education
  • Drama and Dance Teacher Education
  • Driver Safety Teacher Education
  • English Teacher Education
  • Foreign Language Education for Teachers
  • French Language Teacher Education
  • Geography Teacher Education
  • German Language Teacher Education
  • Health Occupations Teacher Education
  • Health Teacher Education
  • History Teacher Education
  • Home Economics Teacher Education
  • Industrial Arts Teacher Education
  • Latin Teacher Education
  • Mathematics Teacher Education
  • Music Teacher Education
  • Physical Education and Coaching
  • Physics Teacher Education
  • Psychology Teacher Education
  • Sales and Marketing Teacher Education
  • Science Teacher Education
  • Social Science Teacher Education
  • Social Studies Teacher Education
  • Spanish Education for Teachers
  • Speech Teacher Education
  • Teaching, Computers
  • Teaching, Reading
  • Technical Teacher Education
  • Vocational Teacher Education

Information on Music Education Careers

Conductor

One career in the music education field is that of a conductor, who may also be known as a music director. A conductor manages the performance of a variety of musical groups, both vocal and instrumental, including church choirs, gospel choirs, and orchestras. Some job responsibilities of a conductor include selecting the musicians, selecting the music, conducting rehearsals, and working with and coaching the musicians in preparation for performances, as well as performing various administrative duties. A bachelor's degree in a music-related field is typically required, and prior teaching experience is beneficial.

Music Librarian

Music librarians perform many of the same functions as librarians; however, their focus is specifically music-based. As such, music librarians have numerous responsibilities, including maintaining and cataloging a library's music collection as well as assisting patrons with their music-related inquiries and research. Music librarians can find employment not only in local public libraries, but also within university libraries, museums and even the Library of Congress. Becoming a music librarian requires not only a master's degree in library science, which is necessary to be a librarian, but also a bachelor's or master's degree in music history or another music-related major. There are even universities that offer dual degree librarianship and music programs to aid individuals in meeting these requirements and pursuing this career choice.

Private Music Instructor

If you are musically talented, whether that talent is having an excellent singing voice or a mastery at playing one or more musical instruments, and you want to pass that skill on to others in a one-on-one environment, you may want to consider becoming a private music instructor. While pursuing a career as a private music instructor obviously requires an individual to have musical talent, the ability to effectively teach those musical skills to others is also necessary. As a private music instructor, you have the freedom to work from home and to choose your own working hours and, unlike most musical education careers, there are no formal education requirements, although your proven mastery will be necessary to obtain clients.

Music Professor

Music professors teach at the university level, typically specializing in one area such as vocal instruction, percussion instruction, music theory, music literature, and songwriting, to name a few. In addition to performing typical professor functions such as preparing lesson plans, presenting class lectures, and holding office hours, music professors may also be actively involved in the university's theater productions. They may provide musical assistance such as auditioning singers and band/orchestra members, as well as providing guidance and instruction in rehearsals. A Ph.D. in music, typically music education, is required by most universities, and prior teaching experience (as a teaching assistant in graduate school or as a music teacher in a secondary school setting) is also a common requirement.

Marching Band Director

Marching band directors can be found working in high schools and colleges, directing, as the job title implies, marching bands. Marching band directors must have not only a mastery of music, but they must also be excellent teachers, strong leaders and have a strong artistic ability, since they design the marches and formations that the band performs. Some of the many marching band director job duties are to select the music, create the drills, and work with all band members, on both their music and marching, in numerous rehearsals. For working at the high school level, a minimum of a bachelor's degree in music education is required, as well as any necessary state teaching certifications. For marching band director positions at the university level, a minimum of a master's degree in music education is necessary, while some universities will require a Ph.D.

Music Teacher

As previously mentioned, the career choice that probably comes to mind when hearing the term 'music education' is that of an actual music teacher. Music teachers are employed at all grade levels within both public and private schools, and they have a variety of teaching responsibilities at each level. For example, within an elementary school environment, music teachers may be responsible for introducing students to music, helping them to understand rhythm by clapping to beats within a song, as well as introducing them to different types of music and instruments.

At the middle school and high school level, music classes are typically more specialized, separating voice teaching from instrument teaching. For example, teachers may be responsible for teaching only chorus classes, only stringed instrument classes, or only percussion instrument classes. Both public and private schools require teachers to have bachelor's degrees, typically with minors or concentrations in education, along with a major in the specific subject desired to be taught. Public schools also require specific teacher certification and licensure.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
    • MS in Education (for Practicing Teachers Grades K-12)
    • MS in Higher Ed - College Teaching and Learning
    • BS in Early Childhood Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
    • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
    • M.Ed. in Secondary Education
    • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Christian Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Education - Character Education
    • Doctor of Education - Curriculum & Instruction
    • Ph.D. in Education - Character Education
    • Ph.D. in Education - Curriculum & Instruction
    • Ed.S. in Educational Leadership - Character Education
    • M.Ed. - Individualized Degree Program
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Christian School
    • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Elementary Education, B.A. without Licensure
    • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Leadership
    • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Reading
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Science
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Mathematics
    • M.Ed in Career and Technical Education Leadership

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?