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Become A Music Instructor

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Working As A Music Instructor

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Getting Information
  • Make Decisions

  • $68,040

    Average Salary

What Does A Music Instructor Do

A Music Teacher instructs children and adults to sing or play instruments. They may teach lessons at school, train students at home, or conduct choir rehearsals.

How To Become A Music Instructor

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.


Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.


A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Music Instructor jobs

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Real Music Instructor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Music Instructor Victor Valley Community College District Victorville, CA Jul 08, 2011 $125,220
Music Faculty/Instructor Academy of Fine Arts LLC Gaithersburg, MD Sep 29, 2011 $114,785
Music Faculty/Instructor The Academy of Fine Arts Gaithersburg, MD Sep 29, 2011 $114,785
Music Faculty/Instructor Academy of Fine Arts, LLC Gaithersburg, MD Sep 29, 2011 $114,785
Music Instructor Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA Jul 30, 2012 $108,754 -
Music Instructor ÉTudes LLC Washington, DC Jul 24, 2015 $104,350 -
Musical Instructor Serom Music, Inc. West Windsor, NJ Oct 01, 2012 $104,350
Piano and Chamber Music Instructor Manhattan School of Music New York, NY Jul 15, 2011 $85,567
Music Instructor ÉTudes, LLC Washington, DC Oct 01, 2015 $83,480 -
Instructor of Music In Preparatory Department Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL May 10, 2012 $83,480
Music Instructor M Institute for The Arts Washington, DC Jan 02, 2016 $83,480
Music Instructor New School of Music, Inc. Cambridge, MA Dec 01, 2012 $78,263
Musical Instrument Techician and Instructor Thomas Govelitz Boonton, NJ Aug 24, 2016 $75,132
Instructor of Music Georgia Christian University, Inc. Atlanta, GA Apr 11, 2015 $61,677
Music Instructor Debora Sanchez Piano Studio LLC Miami, FL Sep 10, 2015 $60,670
Music Instructor (Voice) Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX May 31, 2015 $60,387
Instructor of Music Hawai'i Pacific University Urban Honolulu, HI Sep 05, 2012 $57,430
Music Instructor Central Community College Columbus, NE Aug 15, 2013 $57,000
Instructor of Music Georgia Christian University, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jan 05, 2015 $56,349
Music Instructor Neighborhood Music School Inc. Arcadia, CA Oct 01, 2012 $56,349
Music Instructor Neighborhood Music School Inc. Arcadia, CA Oct 01, 2012 $56,160
Band Director/Music Instructor Hamilton County Catholic High School Corporation Noblesville, IN Jun 20, 2011 $46,862
Music Instructor Bella Quattro Strings, LLC Carmel Valley Village, CA Jul 25, 2012 $46,550
Music Instructor Bella Quattro Strings, LLC Carmel Valley Village, CA Aug 11, 2014 $46,550
General Music Instructor The Music Place, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 08, 2013 $46,331
Music Instructor Remnant Music Academy, Inc. Rancho Cucamonga, CA Aug 14, 2015 $45,365
Instructor of Music Hawaii Pacific University Urban Honolulu, HI Sep 05, 2012 $45,153 -
Band Director/Music Instructor Hamilton County Catholic High School Corporation Noblesville, IN Sep 30, 2011 $44,362

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Top Skills for A Music Instructor


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Top Music Instructor Skills

  1. Basic Music Theory
  2. Music Curriculum
  3. Music Classes
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Introduce basic music theory in all classes.
  • Created the music curriculum, and taught approximately 115 sophomores at this charter high school on the south side of Chicago.
  • Plan, coordinate and instruct music classes to any age group.
  • Teach Guitar 1 and Guitar 2 classes, and Classic Country Ensemble classes that include 6-8 people.
  • Counterpoint, Form and Analysis, Theory, Music History, Composition and Arranging.

Top Music Instructor Employers

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