Careers & Education

Essential Skills and Qualifications for Music Educator Positions

A music teacher works with students to provide instrumental and vocal lessons. Their duties include planning lessons, entering and preparing pupils for music exams, and arranging recitals.

A bachelor’s degree and an approved educator preparation program are required to become a music teacher. They must also be proficient in their principal instrument.

Skills and Qualifications

Music teachers often have to take on various roles, from motivating students to helping them understand musical concepts. According to PayScale, these professionals must have a broad range of skills to ensure their students are fully engaged. It includes creativity, entrepreneurship, and working with diverse students.

Most music education programs require candidates to complete classroom observation and student teaching and pass certification tests for their state. These tests generally cover music content, pedagogy, and classroom management.

A candidate for a music educator positions must also possess the fundamental abilities for that instrument. With this knowledge, teachers can inspire their pupils to experiment with various musical genres and methods, creating more engagement opportunities.

It can also give them a better understanding of the musical histories and techniques behind popular genres like folk, jazz, and rock. To help them build these skills, many music educators turn to online resources and self-study guides.


Music teachers often start their careers after college with teaching internships, sometimes called practicum semesters, where they are observed and mentored by an established teacher. It allows them to gain experience in a classroom setting while continuing their studies toward their state certification. They can also apply for positions as assistant or substitute teachers while waiting to secure a full-time job.

Any music educator must have a deep enthusiasm for music since this will show in their instruction of students. Conversing with various musical styles and genres to create more music, especially those that cross cultural boundaries, is helpful.

Music educators must also be comfortable with public speaking and active listening skills, as they will frequently communicate with their students to provide tailored guidance and feedback. They will also need to be able to lead a class or rehearsal effectively. It can involve motivating and guiding students, resolving student conflicts, or addressing student concerns.


As a music teacher, your education goes beyond the standard degree and certification programs required by many colleges and conservatories. It includes studying pedagogical concepts, supportive technologies, and teaching methodologies for different learning situations.

Creativity also plays a prominent role in music education, whether that involves finding ways to help students build their knowledge with engaging, hands-on activities or creating new ways of learning and practicing musical skills. That is why a music education program will include many observation and practicum hours so that future teachers can practice their teaching skills under the guidance of experienced teachers.

Organization skills are also critical for music educators as they may see many students in a day or week and must keep detailed records of each student’s progress. In addition, many music educators collaborate with other core subject teachers to create interdisciplinary units or projects for their students. 


Music teachers must have a strong work ethic and be patient with their students. They need to be able to keep track of their student’s progress and guide them at a pace that feels natural for them. They must also be passionate about teaching and desire to help their students succeed.

Moreover, the personality traits of cultural empathy, openness to experience, emotional stability, and flexibility are essential for music educators to develop for multicultural music education.

The Core Self-Evaluations Scale personality trait was correlated considerably with music information motives such as collection development, seeking information for a specific performer, and work. The self-efficacy personality trait was positively correlated with performance motivations, including improvisation, composition, and listening.