Pros and Cons to a Career in Academic Music
You can rarely find great performers and especially music teachers. If you haven’t yet made up your mind about pursuing a career in academic music, allow us to highlight the pros and cons of this occupational path.
The Pros of a Academic Music Career
Teaching music can be a satisfying activity particularly when your students gradually improve under your guidance. Some of your ex-students might become music teachers or professional musicians. Students do everything they can to learn from their favorite teachers. Parents push their kids to hone their talent while managers expect the teachers to produce the next prodigy. Nonetheless, there is more to that when it comes to academic music. Young musicians are fragile roots that require tutors with special skills to help them grow stronger.
So why should you teach music?
- You establish relationships with students of different ages: Even if you forget the names of your past students, you will always hold memories of their characters and the success you achieved together.
- If you are a private tutor, you cannot be fired overnight because the students cannot drop simultaneously.
- Flexible working hours: Many music instructors don’t teach the entire day. Sometimes they get summer breaks.
- You are paid per hour: This can be a very lucrative occupation. For instance, there are piano teachers who earn $36,000 per month. While this may not be a fortune, it can help you meet all the pressing financial obligations.
- Freedom: Being your own boss, you get to maintain convenient teaching schedules and rates. You can also teach at your home.
- If you are looking forward to building a performance career, academic music helps you to focus on just that. There is no need to do extra jobs in unrelated fields.
Do you love teaching music?
How would you feel if your student masters the logic behind the circle of fifths or plays their first song in a crowd? Being a teacher is an opportunity for learning. You get to understand more about life, its beauty, rules, and purpose. Some people think that teaching is a calling or a vocation for those who have failed in other fields. But the truth is it is a deeper experience but it can be a calling if you want to.
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The Cons of an Academic Music Career
To succeed in this field, you require at least a BA in Music Education. The best advice is to start off in a classroom setting and look for private clients as your experience grows. Doing it vice versa is a grievous mistake you will regret later in life. If you lack passion for teaching, you should consider taking a different career path than academic music, for example, you can paint or create videos.
The greatest challenge music teachers face on a daily basis is trying to get students to practice every day. It gets monotonous when you repeat the same thing day after day without seeing improvements. Like any other job, there is pressure involved in this career. You will be trying to please parents even when their kids are not performing well. Many times, a child’s failure is blamed on the teacher as opposed to the kid’s lack of interest and commitment.
So, do you want to know other challenges faced by professional music teachers?
Here are some challenges.
- You will pay heavy taxes if you choose to be a private teacher.
- It is not easy to get enough students for a stable income when you’ve just started out.
- Many students take short-term music lessons and some of them quit mid-way. It is disheartening to lose touch with students you have already established great connections with.
- External factors can hinder your career development, e.g., bad economy, having your name tarnished, poor school management, bad location, etc.
- It is challenging to work with kids. Some are defiant and disrespectful. Sometimes, parents don’t care about their behavior and all they want is to see improvements.
- Fluctuating salary: music students keep coming and leaving. There will be some good times and bad times.
- If you fail to correct bad practices of your students, your job is not okay. It is not about giving orders. It is about engaging with the learners and demonstrating how things should be done. If you lack patience, then you are in a wrong occupation.
- People will always judge your teaching quality and the size of your class. You might even be tempted to give discounts or welcome mediocre students just to have your class fully flocked. But this is unethical because you must choose your students professionally.
Teaching music is definitely not for everyone. It is about helping others and hence making the world a better place. At the end of the day, the people you guide are more important than what you teach. Once you realize this, your career will be less frustrating. You might want to learn how to be a great motivator.
Bottom line of an Academic Music Career
An experience in teaching academic music has its highs and lows. You obviously want to charge reasonable fees for the lessons you render. You might not like doing classes late in the evening or on weekends. And when you have kids who are being forced by parents to study music, they will make little or no progress. Nevertheless, you will feel inspired to see some of your students every day being ready to learn and improve.
Academic music career presents lots of opportunities. One of them is being able to grow as you help others grow. It combines numerous skills, rewards, and concepts whether you are dealing with a socially challenged kid or a young adult who is trying to make up wasted time. You can learn a great deal about yourself from the people you educate. You also gain a deeper understanding of your relationship with music.
The reality is behind every weakness, there is strength and after every failure, success awaits. The role of academic music is to enable learners to discover more. Additionally, there is a solution to every challenge as long as you are committed to knowing why the problem exists in the first place. Sometimes, all you need is to delve deeper into a matter for the solution to resurface. In Academic music, the solution lies in the relationship between a teacher and a student.