For those who are looking into being educators in music, it’s time to understand that the job market is very different from what it used to be. Not only will the area for employment need to be broadened, but so will the prospective teacher’s set of skills, and teaching style. It is also increasingly important to look for work before graduating, or looking for work in a new school.
Below are some tips from other music educators around the country who wish to help future educators that are entering the job market.
- Kelly Filsinger, a University Fellow and PhD candidate in Music Education, states that one needs to be a great musician to be a music educator. That teaching music to the inexperienced is a process that requires “demonstrating high levels of personal musicianship.” So it is very important that being an amazing musician is part of the gig.
- Learning how to adapt and improvise is a valued skill in a music teacher, according to Edward Smaldone, a professor of composition. He says that music is about communicating, and not just about playing what is on the sheet of paper. He also suggests that, while lesson plans allow for great ideas to be formed, there is no way to know what will happen in each classroom. So knowing how to adapt to the classroom and improvise for every session will be a great skill for the teacher, and their students.
- According to both Russ Sperling, an instrumental music specialist, and Susan Wharton Conkling, the professor of Music Education, having entrepreneurial skills are also a must have for music educators. Sperling says that recruiting students into the music program and dealing with administrative work to run the program will require marketing skills. And according to Conkling, teachers must also stop limiting their skills to K-12 education, and start expanding into partnering with local youth clubs, assisted living facilities, or retirement centers so that they can build employment opportunities and learn to think outside the box.
- Knowing how to do different things is an asset. Dr. Deborah Sheldon, a professor of Music Education, believes that employers look for people who are skilled in a multitude of areas. Someone who can perform choral, instrumental, and general music is a great asset to the school. Especially if they are imaginative polished, good at communicating, and well prepared. This is because they are looking for someone who is unique and can bring something to the school and the community.