Top Careers for a Music Masters Graduate

People love music. It’s a strong part of learning for all people. As part of our education system, parents schedule their children to have opportunities to learn, to sing, or play instruments because they know it benefits a child’s literacy, physical coordination, and general cognitive skills.

With a master’s degree in music education, you will have many career options. You won’t be paid like a top professional athlete or an astrophysicist but most music teacher jobs provide opportunities to ensure a good living while assisting students to enjoy music or select music education as a career path.

Let’s have a look at salary and description of the most popular music jobs.

Music Jobs

Secondary School Music Teacher

Where: public, private, or parochial schools

Skills Needed: Soft skills such as organizational skills, emotional intelligence, and communication skills are necessary. Completing coursework for a state certification or teaching certificate and classroom experience are prerequisites. Student teaching provides an opportunity to observe and learn valuable teaching skills under the supervision of a well-qualified cooperating teacher.

Job Description: Your role will depend on many factors such as the size of the high school, the music electives offered, and the number of teachers at the school. You may teach an instrument or be responsible for directing the school band, choir, or orchestra and for leading school music events like concerts and competitions, or you may be required to do all choir, and instrumental teaching in a small school system. You must be a team player!

Salary: Range: $30,000 – $71,181, $43,580 – 48,690 – Median salary range


Elementary/Primary School Music Teacher

Where: Elementary schools, high schools, and other specialized schools

Skills Needed: A strong desire to help others. Elementary school teachers need to enjoy working with children, have excellent organizational skills including much patience. State requirements vary but always include at least a bachelor’s in music education as well as teaching certificate, which provides student teacher experience.

Job Description: Teaching a general music class in grades K-6; introducing students to all aspects and varieties of music. You will introduce them to music genres through songs and video clips and teach them the basics of playing instruments such as the recorder. You can show them how music is a huge part of everyday life with clips from TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos, and teach them about music history.

Salary Range: $30,000 – $71,181 with a median salary between $43,580 – 48,690


College/Conservatory/University Professor/Adjunct Professor

Where: Public or private university or college

Skills Needed: A strong desire to help others. Good communication skills, emotional intelligence, and organizational skills are also needed. The academic world is highly competitive, and a PHD is usually required to teach even as an adjunct professor in many public and private institutions. Teaching experience at the high school or community college and technical precision in one’s instrument may also be necessary.  

Description: A university music educator or professor may teach music theory, composition, history, performance, music business studies as well as methods/technique courses for different instruments, and conducting. You may also be assigned to conduct orchestras, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, choir, vocal small ensembles, or chamber ensembles. Other roles may include providing music accompanist/direction for musicals, observing students in field experience, or student teaching. You must also be able to work with members of the College of Education.


Studio Teacher/Private Instructor

Where: studio in a music store, private music school/academy, or in-home

Skills Needed: Excellent people skills and communication skills are a requirement. A bachelor’s and/or in music education may not be required and is very helpful, as well as a high proficiency in an instrument is necessary.

Job Description: Typically, instructors hold individual or group lessons aimed at increasing student skills. Developing and implementing an effective curriculum is needed for an effective teacher. Instructors can work for private schools as a direct employees or contractors, or for themselves. When working for yourself, building up a profitable clientele takes time. Patience, hard work, and setting competitive rates are necessary for long-term success.

Salary: $30 – $120/hour


Choir Director

Where: churches, schools, universities, colleges, and/or elsewhere

Skills Needed: Again, one should have excellent communication skills, organizational skills, people skills, and leadership skills.

Job Description: Choir directors guide and direct choirs. They are responsible for leading choir rehearsals, recruiting singers, training and developing musicians, selecting the music for performances, and directing public performances. Duties may also include managing the choir’s budget and other administrative tasks. People often reflect back on their experiences singing in a choir as the highlight of their lives.

Salary: $15k – $175k

The opportunities with a liberal arts career are endless and really up to where you wish to focus. Careers in academia tend to offer stability and a fulfilling career of assisting others to acquire skills for life-time learning and enjoyment. But there are also opportunities in performance, writing, producing, and a range of other music-based careers.

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