Career Outlook: Music Educators
Music educators have an exceptionally inspirational position. Not only are they provided the opportunity to assist with students’ cognitive development, but music has also shown to improve social and emotional growth, as well as provide students with a lifelong hobby or even profession. To further highlight this rewarding profession, lets examine the duties, salaries and benefits of music educators.
An Overview of Music Education
Music educators have a number of important duties and responsibilities. Regardless of their teaching level, the primary responsibility of music teachers is to help students develop their academic and music skills. Similar to other teachers, music educators utilize a number of educational strategies including assigned readings, quizzes, exams and group projects. Likewise, music educators also segment their curriculum to ensure students receive a well rounded music education. Despite these similarities, there are a number of differences within the curriculum depending on the education level.
- Elementary Level – Music curriculum at the elementary level will tend to focus on the foundations of music. Topics covered may include major and minor keys, types of notes (ex. quarter note vs. whole note), basics of reading music, basic melodies and tempos. Elementary music teachers may introduce students to basic music instruments, such as the piano/keyboard, recorder and percussive instruments. There may also be vocal or musical performances, yet these will tend to be more basic in structure and difficulty than middle and high school level performances.
- Middle & High School Level – At the middle and high school level, the music curriculum becomes more advanced as students study concepts such as the circle of fifths, formation of harmonies, differences between pitch and timbre, augmented chords and polyphonic rhythms. Music teachers will also introduce students to more advanced chord progressions, tempos and textures. At this level, students may also study orchestration, as well as utilize music software to study recording and production techniques. Performances at this level are far more advanced and many choirs and orchestras may be featured to perform at professional level events.
Additionally, beyond basic teaching duties, music teachers often provide assistance to students before and after school. This assistance can range from help with an instrument or vocals to simply providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere to hang out with friends or work on homework. Music teachers may also spend a considerable amount of time planning and organizing events, such as concerts, performances and competitions. Teachers may also find themselves taking on accounting duties as they allocate the music department’s budget, plan for trips and even set up fundraising events.
Salary & Benefits
On average, music teachers can earn between approximately $30,000 to $71,000 annually (with a median of $43,000 – $48,000), but individual salaries tend to depend upon teaching experience and location. For example, music teachers that find employment in large school districts will be more likely to find a position with a higher salary than a teacher that works in a small school district. Likewise, teachers that find work in private schools may earn higher wages, especially if these private institutions are in major cities, such as Los Angeles or New York.
Beyond salary, music teachers employed within the public school system will enjoy a number of contractual benefits, which often include health and retirement packages. An additional benefit of being a music teacher is the opportunity to share your passion for music with others. Music teachers have the opportunity to introduce students to what for some may become a lifelong – and sometimes even life saving – journey exploring the world of music. Furthermore, music teachers are also able to hone their craft while at work, whether that be the advancement of their symphonic understanding, skills as a musician or simply the continual exploration of sonic harmonies.
Music education is a great vocation for individuals that not only enjoy music, but are also looking to make a difference in their community. Whether introducing students to new music or inspiring them to begin the life-long journey of learning a new instrument, music teachers can have a positive impact on our country for many generations to come.
Are you passionate about music and education? Well, why not share your passion with others by becoming the next graduate of Kent State’s online Master of Music in music education program. You can study entirely online and graduate in as few as 23 months – find out more today!
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