Job Title: Music Educator
Type of Company: I teach elementary school students from kindergarten through fifth grade general music, chorus and music appreciation classes.
Education: Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance, Oberlin Conservatory MMusic in music education, Boston University
Previous Experience: This is my first job, and I have been in it for 12 years.
Job Tasks: Most of my classes are between 20 and 28 children at a time. I teach grades K, 1, 3, 4 and 5 for thirty minutes per week. Another teacher takes care of second grade and some first grade classes, because I elect to work part time (3 days per week). In addition to the regular 12 classes in my schedule, all students in fourth and fifth grades are required to be in chorus, which meets for 45 minutes (fourth) or one hour (fifth). For chorus classes, I have a paid accompanist who plays the piano for us, and I also have at least one classroom assistant helping with classroom management. The reason for this extra support is that I have 60 or more children at a time in these rehearsals, and it is impossible for me to notice every little issue that might develop between children and get musical work done with the group. These assistants are indispensable.
Chorus rehearsals are performance-based, and culminate in two or three concerts per year. This year, my fourth graders had a concert in January and will perform again in June. The fifth graders performed a mini-concert in November, then did intensive work on a musical in February, and will have their last concert in June.
Other classes are not performance based, except for third grade recorder students, who share their musical work with parents and teachers in June. My primary lessons (grades K-2) often include many consecutive activities which require different skills from the children: sitting and listening, getting up and moving, listening and describing what they hear, playing percussion instruments, reading musical notation. The pace of my lessons is quite fast and commensurate with the attention span of the young child.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is clearly the "aha" moments, when students demonstrate their understanding of what I have been trying to teach them. Example: this morning my first graders were able to sight read, in tune, a song from solfege notation, without any aural prompting from me.
The most difficult parts of my job include motivating students who think they do not like music, and keeping large-group chorus rehearsals free of social interactions. There are days when student behavior is very conducive to productive rehearsals and days when I feel like a policewoman.
1. Before trying anything else, get solid ideas about classroom management. Ask other teachers the type of negative behaviors they have experienced, and how they structure their classroom environments to make these less likely.
2. Next, understand that there will be a second year: many first year teachers have so much to learn about classroom management that they become discouraged and feel as if their good teaching ideas don't work. They will, as soon as the children have been shown how to CARE. This is more important than anything else.
Additional Thoughts: I am surprised how much it matters that a music teacher have the support of the school principal and classroom teachers. There are several times throughout the year when teachers need to give and take teaching time from each other, and a positive relationship really helps this. I have a very supportive principal who understands that high quality musical performances take time (rehearsal time). I cannot imagine running my program without this.
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.
Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.
Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.
Advance your teaching career with an online master's degree from University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs
At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.
Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Elementary School Teachers, including: