Private music teacher: job description

Private music teacher: job description

Private music teachers provide music lessons about how to sing or play a musical instrument to pupils (adults and children) within home, school or college settings.
Some work for county or private music services but many are self-employed.

What does a music teacher do? Qualifications and training | Typical employers | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • planning and preparing lessons in relation to individual pupils' needs and examination syllabuses
  • acquiring appropriate teaching materials and resources
  • teaching music theory, aural skills and practical techniques to pupils
  • entering and preparing pupils for examinations
  • motivating pupils and encouraging progress
  • liaising with academic staff and parents
  • creating and maintaining a network of contacts to ensure work continuity
  • ensuring up-to-date knowledge and awareness of examination requirements
  • assessing pupils’ abilities, providing feedback and writing reports
  • arranging recitals and concerts for pupils' families and friends
  • keeping financial, administrative and business records
  • advertising or publicising the business

Because many people take music lessons as a hobby in their spare time, the job commonly requires working evenings and weekends. In this respect it may be possible to make it work around a day job.

Qualifications and training required

A music degree, though not essential for becoming a private music teacher, can be very helpful. Music grades, a teaching qualification or teaching experience can also be beneficial in your application.

Private music teachers often find work through their local reputation, which can be built simply by having good music and teaching skills. This can take some time and hard work to build this reputation without qualifications however.

There are also various specialist qualifications that music teachers can gain, including a DipABRSM from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), a teaching diploma from Rock School and various qualifications from Trinity College London.

To find out how to get into teaching and education careers via a school leaver route, see the teaching section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Typical employers of music teachers

County music services employ a number of music teachers, and can act as a reference service for even more. Many music teachers are self-employed, but you will need to build up a client base before you can be fully established.

Speculative applications to educational establishments are also recommended. Vacancies with schools, colleges and higher education institutions are advertised online, in newspapers and in publications such as the Times Educational Supplement and its respective website.

Key skills for music teachers

  • Ability to motivate others
  • Determination and perseverance
  • Enthusiasm
  • Imagination
  • Commitment
  • Passionate
  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal communication skills
  • Patience