Music Teacher Requirements

The demand for music teachers continues to grow, with more and more individuals involved in music and performing these days. If you want to help meet this demand by becoming a music teacher, it can be helpful to know more about music teacher requirements and qualifications.
Knowing the basic requirements of becoming a good music instructor is vital, as you’ll be responsible for providing the right knowledge and helping students progress in music.
If you plan to teach music in school, some will expect you to have music-related education. It isn’t essential for you to have a formal education, although, it’s certainly a plus.
woman in front of chalkboard with staff drawn across

Music Teacher Requirements – Do You Need to be a Professional Musician to Teach?    

You don’t need to become a professional musician to teach and share your knowledge of music. It can however give you an advantage when applying for a music teacher’s job. You don’t have to be a famous musician either, since what matters is your ability to teach students properly.
Different schools require different credentials, and you can choose to teach in public schools or as a private music tutor.
Whether you teach music in a public school or as a private music instructor, your goals would be the same. Your purpose is to enhance and hone the musical abilities of your students.

Are you a talented musician looking for reliable income?

Click here to learn how you can start your own music teaching business

*No degree required

guitar instructor teaching her young female student

Qualifications for Music Teacher in Public Schools

How to become a music teacher in a public school? Here are a few general music teacher requirements in the United States.


One of the requirements of becoming a music teacher is having a bachelor’s degree in music. This shows that you are competent in the subject since you have studied it for years.

Music Teacher Requirements: State Tests

Most states will require you to take a few tests. These tests will measure each candidate’s knowledge and skills specific to music. Some states request a core academic assessment which measures skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.
Other states select the types of tests they believe are needed to be an educator. Additional tests will correspond to the level of teaching you’re applying for. These are on top of the general state assessments.

Teacher Certification

This certification is as relevant as your license. Usually, teaching certification programs are conducted by universities or colleges.
Some degree holders will not be able to teach if they don’t have a teacher certification. This is most evident if you want to teach in a field that your bachelor’s degree isn’t related to.
Regardless, most music teachers who come from universities and colleges don’t have to take these certifications. For others, they can obtain one by attending alternative certification programs. These are commonly conducted by non-profit organizations and school districts.

Qualifications for Music Teacher as a Private Tutor

Being a music tutor doesn’t require you to have a license. However, having a degree or certification can be a big plus when searching for students. Also, more people may recommend you when you have these credentials.  But most importantly, it’s how well you connect with people and if you are able to teach your students what you know with patience and good energy.

guitar instructor explaining to his female student

What Skills Does a Private Music Teacher Need to Have?

As music will be your only subject, you will have to be well-versed in all aspects of it. You should be able to play one or more musical instruments. It’s also vital to know how to play and read the notes for each instrument.
As well as the practical expertise in your chosen instruments, there are other skills you need as a private music teacher.

Private Lessons

Take control of your time and money by teaching your favorite instrument.

Learn how today!

*No degree required

Must Be Organized

Being an organized teacher can help you track the progress of your students easily. Keeping records is essential, especially in relation to invoices issued to your students for the lessons.

Must Be Patient

Patience is a crucial skill when it comes to being a music teacher. Lots of jobs may require patience and persistence, but when it comes to teaching music, patience is really essential.
The speed of learning can differ for each student depending on their skill, knowledge and level of commitment. With the students who learn more slowly, you will need to be patient to make sure they understand the lesson. For example, you might find yourself having to listen to the same piece repeatedly if the student is struggling with certain notes or chords. It’s important to remember that not all students are fast learners or can follow easily.

Should Be Creative

As a music teacher, part of your job will be to organize a music performance with your students.

An effective music performance involves each of your students’ strengths.

If you can help your students show off their skills confidently, it will motivate them to continue with their music education and you to continue teaching.  Finding creative ways to teach and organize recitals and performances can help you stand out as a music teacher.

What Are Other Requirements for a Music Teacher?

Aside from the skills and music teacher requirements mentioned above, here are other elements an aspiring music teacher must have.

The Right Background and Experience

As with any other job, experience is necessary. Whether you’ve grown up with music or your involvement with music has been recent, you must have enough experience to teach. You can’t teach what you don’t know, so having experience is essential.
So what counts as experience? A background in the music industry will be a great credential for a music teacher. Participation in school musical plays will also be counted as experience, and being part of a band or a choir would also be great.
Playing an instrument well involves years of practice, so how long you’ve been playing also adds to your musical background.

Continuous Learning

Apart from experience, any training certificates can be useful for aspiring music teachers. Continuous practice and education is also important. 
Taking extra classes can serve as proof that you are willing to learn, even if you’re already a professional. Training with mentors who have a good reputation is also an ideal way to improve your level as a music teacher.
Getting ideas and strategies from a mentor can make you a better teacher. This allows you to convey what you have learned from your mentor to your own students.

What Makes a Good Music Teacher?

A music teacher should be flexible. Why? Because you’ll have to deal with different types of students. You have to be able to adjust to different personalities and levels of learning.
Remember, not all students who will be enrolling in your class will love music. Some may have struggles or personal issues with learning music. Others may have been forced to take your music class. As a teacher, you have to be able to deal with these concerns. Ideally, students need passion to be able to learn music well.
One of the best characteristics of a good music teacher is the capability to share their knowledge effectively. Not in a strict or forceful manner, but in a way that allows the students to be excited to learn and keen to improve. Your passion and enthusiasm for your lessons will be contagious, leading to increased motivation.
The positive influence will reflect on the students’ performance and enthusiasm in wanting to learn more. A good music teacher should be able to motivate students to love music and see the beauty in it.
Keep in mind that you are not only teaching a subject, but you’re also cultivating success. Your students have the potential to be future stars. So, give your best and guide them on their own musical journey. Encourage them to discover their talents.
Taking further training and ensuring that you have all requirements will prepare you to be an excellent music teacher. Remember, the best teachers are willing to fully explore music and make it part of their lives.
Getting enough of the right experience can increase your chances of becoming a music teacher. If you have a particular musical niche, don’t worry. Some employers will consider those with specializations and give them better salary rates. No matter what music teacher requirements are needed for a particular job, you will always define the kind of teacher you want to be.