How do I Become a Band Teacher?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2017
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A band teacher is usually a teacher of K-12 students. He or she may specialize and work with younger kids or prefer teaching band at the middle school or high school levels. In underfunded music programs, band teachers very often teach choir and or administer string programs, if they exist.

Learning how to play musical instruments can be vital to those who want to become a band teacher. The job requires ability to read music for all instruments and have some sense of how play most instruments to a certain level of competency. If a person is flautist, for instance, it’s not a bad idea to learn a brass instrument too, like trumpet. It’s likely people will have more opportunities to learn other instruments as they progress in their education. Especially important is percussion, since as conductors, band teachers keep time for their students.

Generally, those wanting to become a band teacher will need credentialing. This means first getting a bachelor’s degree in music. Some colleges have specific program emphases and people can chose degrees in music performance or education. Music education is probably the better choice; it will offer more information about how to instruct others.

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Depending on region people might become a band teacher simply by completing a music education major. Others have to get a teaching credential prior to getting work. This takes one to two more years of study, but gives people a license to teach in their region. Some people also get a master’s degree, though this may not be a requirement for most band teacher jobs.

Some advise picking up a master’s degree at a later point after a person has become a band teacher. The reason behind this is that many teacher unions construct pay scales based on level of education. If a music department is underfunded, it may hesitate to hire a teacher who will cost more. Once a teacher has a tenured position, getting the master’s degree can mean getting paid more without concern about losing a job.

As a band teacher, there are so many things a person might be expected to do. They may teach students who are beginners, or those who’ve been playing for many years. Designing a curriculum and picking music that will accommodate different strengths and weaknesses can take some planning. Band teachers also need to be good at raising money, organizing trips, figuring out when to have performances, and determining the extra activities of the band like creating marching bands, pep rally bands, or ensembles for musicals. When a person will become a band teacher, they should expect to devote lots of time to their work as they help shape the musical interests of their students.

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