Music Teacher

Music teachers give instruction in instrumental and/or vocal music to people of all ages. Music teachers may teach popular or classical music to serious students and those who are studying music as a hobby. Private music teachers provide music lessons about how to sing or play a musical instrument to pupils (adults and children) within home or school or college settings.

Typical responsibilities of the job include planning and preparing lessons in relation to individual pupils' needs and examination syllabuses, acquiring appropriate teaching materials / 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/or 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/concerts for pupils' families and friends, keeping financial, administrative and business records and 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.

In addition to teaching students to play certain instruments or to sing, music teachers may teach the various theoretical components: Rudiments of Music, Harmony, Counterpoint, Musical Form, History of Music, Instrumentation and Orchestration.

Music teachers in schools may also conduct choirs, school bands and orchestras. As schoolteachers, they may be required to attend staff meetings and perhaps parent-teacher meetings in the evenings and may be expected to teach another school subject in addition to music. They may also be required to help with other school activities such as sports and educational tours.

Important skills for music teachers are the ability to motivate others, determination and perseverance, enthusiasm, imagination, commitment, passion, excellent interpersonal and verbal communication skills and patience.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Study of an instrument should begin at an early age. This early training can be acquired through private lessons or through school. Degree courses in music up to doctorate level, degree and diploma courses combined with teacher training, are offered at most universities.

Degree: BMusic, BA Music or BMusic Musicology - UP, NMMU, UNISA, UFS, US, NWU, UCT, UV, RU, Wits.
Diploma: N.Dip: Music - TUT

Some colleges offer tuition to adults with a view to doing the written as well as the practical teachers’ examinations set by UNISA and the Royal Schools of Music, London. These courses aim primarily at training students for a career in music teaching.

Further qualifications: Music teachers need to obtain certification to teach at primary or secondary school level. To obtain certification, a bachelors degree in music, or an educational degree or diploma with specialisation in music, is usually the minimum requirement.


  • public and private schools
  • colleges, universities of technology and universities
  • independent music conservatories
  • self-employment (giving private lessons)
  • television
  • press
  • performing art councils

Further Information

South African Society of Music Teachers
P O Box 35242
Menlo Park, 0102
Tel. (087).808-4945 / 082 673-0532

Getting Started

  • perform in public as often as you can
  • form a musical group or get together with other musicians
  • get as much leadership experience as you can
  • take in pupils for private tuition while you are still studying music yourself
  • make an appointment to speak to a music teacher about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

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