So Why Teach Music?

I used to work at a college that started out as a music conservatory. The college now has a music school well-known for pedagogy and foundations in music performance. Many of my music students were so excited about what they were learning and the skills that they were acquiring, that they could not wait to graduate to go out and find jobs as performers. Performing, not teaching. However, most of us career professionals know that there are far more gifted performers than there are jobs out there for them.

One alternative career or supplement to performing is teaching. Those students who were so excited about performing weren’t always so enthused about teaching. But teaching can provide a steady income, whether through a community school, K-12 school, college or an independent studio. It can also give musicians different insights on a piece of music, how people learn differently and help them increase their professional network. A larger professional network can lead to more paying gigs. A portfolio career, one where you hold two or more jobs in a given career field, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can earn money doing one job that can lead to making even more money in another job in your portfolio career. The money keeps rolling in, and you keep developing your career.

You are also helping your music students in several ways. You are passing on knowledge about music that your students may not be learning in school. More school districts are cutting music from the curriculum. However, that is not an excuse to skip teaching music. It is a very good reason to consider teaching. Studies have shown that learning music also helps improve students’ reading, math and foreign language skills. Learning music also gives students a way to express themselves and to describe the world they see around them through singing and playing instruments. You also develop future audiences when you share your music knowledge, thereby keeping music performance alive. Teaching music is a way to participate in that village described by Hillary Clinton — as in it takes a village to raise and educate a child. In short, it is a way to give back to your community and to “pay” your knowledge forward by sharing it. 


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