Teacher — Secondary School — Music

Education and training

Career outlook for teacher — secondary school — music

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


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What's it like?

You would help young people to learn how to express themselves by playing, composing and performing music and enjoy listening to music.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old. You could work in public or private schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

As a music teacher you’d inspire and motivate your pupils to value and develop their creativity and imagination. You'd teach them about different ways to compose and play music and different forms and styles of music. They would learn to work with other musicians to create amazing performances.

You’d help young people develop an appreciation of aesthetic and cultural values, identities and ideas and prepare the foundations for some pupils to go on to a career in the arts.

You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence expressive arts and National Qualifications which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • assess students’ progress 
  • set homework
  • manage classroom behaviour
  • discuss students' progress with parents and carers
  • organise study trips, social activities and lead on school musicial show and events

You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Working conditions


Teaching takes place for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. You are likely to spend several more hours outside of these times, planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent evenings and training.


You would probably be based in a specific music room and also often work in or the school hall or theatre.


You could do supply teaching where you work in different schools for short periods to cover the absences of permanent teachers.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Empathising
  • Respecting
  • Social conscience
  • Ethical
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Motivating others

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You will need either a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree in Music or Music Education (SCQF level 9/10) or you can apply with any relevant degree to a PGDE — Professional Graduate Diploma in Education — in Music (SCQF level 11).

To enter a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree in Music or Music Education (SCFQ level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and at least three Highers and recognised musical grading.

If you are applying to a PGDE (SCQF level 11) you will need a relevant degree.

To enter this job applicants must have completed degree level study or above gaining at least 80 SCQF Credit Points in music, the study of harmony, counterpoint, arrangement, orchestration and composition, together with a broad study of music in its social and historical contexts within traditional, ethnic and non-western musical cultures.

Keyboard studies include sight reading, playing by ear, accompanying, harmonising and improvising in traditional and contemporary style.

Proof of extra experience is required when studying instruments or voice to an advanced standard.

Useful subjects

  • Higher English (required by courses) 
  • Music (required by courses) 
  • National 5 maths (required by courses)
  • Other music or performance-centred subjects
  • Social studies subjects such as Psychology

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the ability to work with children or young people will be useful. Communication skills and experience in music can also be helpful.

You will be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as well as your own subject.