The role of a general music teacher

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Music teacher playing instruments with young students.

Your career as a general music educator comes with a variety of advantages for lovers of the arts. Not only do you get to share your passion for different performers and styles of sounds with students interested in exploring the world of music, but you get to help individuals create, express, perform and develop a new appreciation for melodies, harmonies and more. As you progress in your role, you also deepen your gratitude for the industry all while sharing an appreciation for students who may become inspired to follow a musical career path in the future. After gaining licensure from a state board of education and taking the required coursework from a music teacher preparation program, an advanced degree in music education like the one offered at Kent may help you move further in your career. Read on to see if you recognize the necessary skills for teaching music.  As a practicing music educator, it’s likely that you already possess the core skills for music instruction, and already perform the duties, responsibilities and requirements for your role. However, you may be surprised to learn how Kent State’s online Master of Music in music education program can help you build a deeper connection with your students, plan exciting and inspiring classes and  advance your music teaching ability.

Necessary skills

Much like a general teacher, learning how to understand and connect with students is vital to becoming successful in music education. Key skills like instructing, active listening and learning, time management and coordination are a few of the necessities for those anticipating a career in a classroom setting. According to the National Association for Music Education, some of the other skill requirements you’ll need to have as a music educator include:

  • Performing: An ability to perfect your own technique, sound quality, technical accuracy, interpretation and expression through singing and playing instruments.
  • Listening, reading and notating: You must be able to listen to, read and properly notate the melody, rhyme and harmony of music.
  • Creating: Guide imagination, craftsmanship and refining work through improvising, arranging and composing music.
  • Evaluating: After creating and performing music, you must be able to self-assess and compose critiques by following evaluation criteria.

All of these skills are necessary for general music educators who plan to help students learn how to play an instrument, sing, compose music, or learn the general history of the industry.

How can Kent State help you gain these skills?

One of the biggest advantages of acquiring your online Master of Music in music education degree from Kent State is its real-world application process. Throughout the program, you’ll be encouraged to update lesson plans and methodologies based on these skills you’ve learned, such as creating, evaluating listening and performing. This gives you an edge before you graduate; teaching you how to analyze and improve the way you teach in real time. Essentially, this program helps you utilize your degree before you’ve even left the classroom. Specifically, the Inquiry in Music Teaching and Learning classes, as well as the courses in Music Analysis and Music from World Cultures take precedence in teaching and listening and learning skills that can help future music teachers succeed in their careers. Inquiry in Music Teaching and Learning II – This course gives prospective teachers a chance to use music trends and techniques to focus on ways to improve their teaching skills while also learning about student learning styles. Music Analysis – Allowing educators to hone theoretical skills when teaching students how different genres of music work to emphasis understanding of pedagogy. Music from World Cultures – Learn how to teach students about different types of music from various world cultures, passing on listening skills, organology, style analyses and cultural associations.

Duties and responsibilities

As a general music educator, you have the opportunity to teach young children and teens the basic fundamental principles of music. Some of the traditional duties and responsibilities in this role include:

  • Creating balanced lesson plans – Based on general music education, you’ll construct lessons in understanding music theory and history, singing and interpreting music and possibly teaching students how to play an instrument.
  • Provide individual instruction – Learn how to teach students based on individual skills and necessities in music curriculum. Some students may understand music instantly, while others may need more assistance and practice to be successful in the classroom.
  • Maintain music, instruments and other special equipment used in the classroom, advising students to take on the same responsibility.
  • Evaluate students’musical understanding, performance and growth in the classroom.

A general music educator may also be expected to collaborate with other teachers and help develop new educational programs.

How Kent State can advance your career as a general music educator

The online Master of Music in music education program is designed specifically for educators who want to teach at a K-12 level. Because you’re already a practicing music educator, you’ll waste no time the second you start the program. There’s no need to dive back into the information you already learned while earning your prior degrees; instead, you’ll start by studying the next level of music history, theory, practice and pedagogy.   Once you graduate from the online Master of Music in music education program, you may know how to:

  • Connect with students and create personalized curriculum based on individuals.
  • Learn how to plan, instruct and assess students.
  • Create measurable results to share with administrators and higher staff.
  • Become comfortable using technology in the classroom.
  • Encourage students to change the music industry through class conversation and curriculum.
  • Use research skills to improve outcomes for students.
  • Build skills in advocacy, communication and leadership to set yourself ahead of your colleagues as a music educator.

What is it that sets Kent State’s program apart from the rest? This online Master of Music in music education degree offers a dual-focused curriculum, which allows you to customize your coursework in general, choral and instrumental music. That means you can develop a specific set of skills in multiple specialties, which can give you more career options in your future as a music educator.   Are you interested in pursuing the Kent State online Master of Music in music education? Visit or call 1-888-989-7072 to speak with an enrollment advisor today.


Recommended Readings:

Using Data in the Classroom

Engaging Different Learning Styles in Music Class



Kent State MMME
Disposition and Formats Description
What makes a great music teacher – NAfME
Knowledge, skills and dispositions – NAfME Elementary Music Teacher
Music teacher job description – NAfME
Kent State MMME brochure
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