4. Have Dozens of Answers Prepared Before the Interview
Like any other significant job interview for any field, preparation is key. Of course, presentation and confidence are incredibly important, but having answers prepared for the interview is even more important.
As a potential music education teacher, there are so, so many different questions that you could be asked at your interview that will shed light on your ability to teach music and handle a classroom of pre-college students at a high level. Some things you will have to know about include the National Standards of Music Education, how to teach a beginning clarinet lesson, the essential differences between the Orff, Gordon, and Dalcroze academic philosophies, and what to do if a student throws his instrument at another student.
All of these should have answers not improvised, but rather, made ahead of the interview. For a comprehensive list of questions typically asked at music education job interviews, see this Michigan State University interview questionnaire.
3. If You Want a High Paying Music Education Job, Target Wealthier Public Districts
I am not saying that if you want a music education job, you should target wealthier public districts. I am simply saying that if you would like a well-paying music education job, then targeting a wealthier district could be to your benefit.
There can be a huge emotional satisfaction in being a teacher at an underprivileged school in a poorer district. These schools need great teachers more than any other schools.
The unfortunate economic reality in this situation, however, is that higher demand for higher quality does not typically equate to higher salaries. It’s too bad that the quality-supply and demand economic principle holds true for nearly every economic transaction or job position in the world except public education.
In a wealthier district, the tax paying dollars to fund public music teacher’s salaries can be significantly higher than those in a non-wealthy district. Also, many wealthier districts simply have more resources and money allocated toward high-end music education programs. So, to get the best-paying music education job, get your resume’ into the hands of people at wealthier public schools or even private schools.
2. Learn How to Develop As Many Performance Opportunities As Possible
Finally, a tip that address the more musical side of being a music education teacher. Performance opportunities are the lifeblood of an enthusiastic young and growing musician. Outside of the school’s regular orchestra concerts, teachers can create unique performance opportunities that are exciting to young musicians, performances that can motivate the student to practice and grow as a musician. For example, performing in a professional venue outside of the student’s public school can make a gig that much more memorable and special to a student who has little or no experience playing outside of an academic setting.
Having the ability to develop varied, exciting and memorable performance opportunities can lead to great things for your future in music education and beyond. Be sure to convey your performance development ideas thoroughly at your music educator job interview to show that you care deeply about the livelihood of the school’s student musicians.
1. Keep a Constantly Updated List of Detailed, Qualifying Skills
And I don’t mean that you should just simply have a good resume’. As a music teacher, there are very specific skills and academic methodologies that you have to know the intricacies of in order to succeed.
For example, you may write on a resume’ that you have successfully taught a beginner woodwind lesson, but when the time comes, how will you – in specifics – be able to teach a first-time flute student the art of producing a fundamentally sound tone? It’s actually quite difficult to do, however, a music education major with a solid background should be able to get a student to create a fundamentally consistent tone on his flute within two weeks of starting.
Also, what are the real differences between the Kodaly and Orff academic approaches, or how do you conduct Mars from Holst’s The Planets, which is in the atypical meter of 5/4? Knowing and owning small details like this are critical to your musical success as a teacher to pre-college students, not to mention can help better prepare you for the day you have your very first job interview in music education.
So there you have it, seven insider tips that can make your dreams of attaining a position in music education come true. If you have any other insider tips, feel free to post them in the comments section below.