1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Music teacher or musician?

Discussion in 'Music' started by s2341, May 5, 2011.

  1. I'm writing this as I don't know if it is a common transition phase of all/most secondary music teachers.

    I was made the only music teacher in a behaviourally tough school. Being only an NQT I've found this hard especially when I have been told that I am a 'borderline' case for passing and that I've been assessing GCSE music for the first time. Been told that not many people care about the NQT report. Plus lots of other issues.

    It's gotten to the point when I genuinely do not want to go to work anymore and I am considering a musician job. I'm unsure of how to get into this field and I am wondering if this is usual for secondary music teachers to feel?

    s2341
     
  2. I'm writing this as I don't know if it is a common transition phase of all/most secondary music teachers.

    I was made the only music teacher in a behaviourally tough school. Being only an NQT I've found this hard especially when I have been told that I am a 'borderline' case for passing and that I've been assessing GCSE music for the first time. Been told that not many people care about the NQT report. Plus lots of other issues.

    It's gotten to the point when I genuinely do not want to go to work anymore and I am considering a musician job. I'm unsure of how to get into this field and I am wondering if this is usual for secondary music teachers to feel?

    s2341
     
  3. spanboy

    spanboy New commenter

    As much as teachers like to teach music, I'm sure the vast majority would rather perform in an orchestra/band full-time or compose etc. if they could. The reality is, for most, it is difficult to make a living doing this. Even some really fine, world-class musicians afiliated with top orchestras and bands do some teaching to supplement their income.
    I sympathise with your situation - I was at a horrendous secondary comp a few years ago where flying chairs across the classroom and knife culture was the norm. That's why I now work abroad! I didn't want to get up in the mornings and was off work with stress.
    Before making any decisions to quit though, assess your financial situation - jobs are hard to come by nowadays. Maybe sweat it out and get your NQT under your belt (remember that the school has an obligation to train/support you in this) but start getting some contacts in performing and/or private teaching and apply for other jobs at different schools, maybe?
    Being a 'musician' is not an easy route out and doesn't always pay the mortgage - that's if you can get one (!) when the bank asks "what you do for a living, sir?" (if applicable to you)
    What do you play and in what style(s)? Classical? Rock? Big Band?...
     
  4. I play a fair few instruments.

    I have my grade 8 with distinction (ABRSM) on my clarinet with a more classical based route. However I have played clarinet with a big band.

    I am a self-taught pianist who has played lots of accompaniment roles as well as writing and singing songs using this. I also use the piano to compose my main music as well as using the keyboard on the computers.

    I have been singing and performing since I was 3 years old. Mainly in musical theatre although I do branch out to Jazz and pop. I have had lead roles in musicals and I'm currently part of a theatre group. Being on the west end would be a dream however I am aware that it can be a 'pie in the sky' thing.

    I play the flute but have only played in the aforementioned big bang although this was the instrument I improvised with and led solo sections (mainly in the blues).

    I can play a basic drum backing beat but that is to keep people in time in bands or in musical theatre.

    I can read notation and rhythmic scores and have conducted and led choirs, orchestras and woodwind ensembles.

    I love music and it is the most important thing in my life (although others may not like to hear that).

    Apologies for all the sentences starting with 'I' but it was easier to list that to write in paragraphing structure.

    s2341
     
  5. I don't mean this to sound harsh but among my musician friends I'd say that nearly all can do similar to what you've said above, if not more; it's not uncommon at all. I'm not saying you couldn't have a career as a musician but bear in mind you're up against people who have been performing concertos since they were little.... I know people who got their Grade 8 distinction when they were 7, studied at the country's most prestigious music schools, then conservatoires, and still can't get much more than occasional work. It really is tough. Most musicians have what's known as a portfolio career; that is, a bit of private teaching, perhaps some peripatetic teaching in schools, wedding/bar mitvah/birthday gigs, recitals/gigs, recordings, and so on. It's hard work and it's irregular. I know a lot of people who make a good living out of it but rarely do they earn more than I do as a teacher. Having said that, I also know people who have salaried jobs, and/or are in demand and working most or all of the time. It's hard work, talent, and pot luck! And, unless you're a songwriter like Paul McCartney or a singer like Carreras, there will always be somebody better than you. (Depressing but true!)
    Please finish your NQT year - I also know a lot of musicians who've gone from performing into teaching, wanting something more regular, so it's good to have that to fall back on. Plus if you wanted to pursue a performing career you could do supply in the meantime. Perhaps you could look for a part-time post that would allow you to combine school teaching with performance, and then you can gauge how well it goes and drop the teaching if you feel you can make a career out of performing. I'm sorry if I sound harsh - just being realistic! Good luck whatever you decide.
     
  6. Agree with Fuzzycat the list of what you can do sounds like all my music teacher mates. Finish your NQT year and then get a new job if you can. Hope that helps. Good luck.
     
  7. You are not on your own, lots of people have doubts and difficult times. As well as considering your employment options have you thought about this......Are you in a union and if so, is there a trustable in school rep. If there is one you could seek advice about getting the best support and advice on managing and improving your situation
     
  8. gliss

    gliss New commenter

    I am now old and past my sale by date, but.... complete ur NQT year, get this behind u cos then u are qualified and if u go on another route u can always fall back on teaching.
    I went to a top music college, I won several major awards for performance, played as a dep for many major uk symphony orchestras when needed, as well as taught, but one day I realised that i would never get a salaried orchestral job and had to decide on a teaching career in the classroom or peri. I went for teaching and have had a blast, there have been many all time lows but to be honest I have loved it.
    Gonna be very blunt....sorry.........u come over as a bit like britains got talent applications.....got a bit of talent but not much, u play a variety of insts but not excell......u are gonna find the music industry harsh. I wish u well, may ur dreams and aspirations come true, but be realistic.
     
  9. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Elisa, sorry to say this but you come across as an insecure person (typical musician!) if you feel you have to list your attributes, which is surprising as you have been in the music biz for 20+ years. I don't think this is what OP needs to hear. Besides, not meaning to sound harsh or unkind, PGCE and passing is one thing - securing a teaching post in today's climate is another. 'S' has done all that and is nearly finished one year in - I say well done to you S!
    Finish your year and try to find another school if you are still unhappy. You will have made friends and formed good working practice with some of your pupils this year which may encourage you to stay; after the summer holidays you will be refreshed and your enthusism will be revitalised! Put the rough school down to experience and keep up your playing for pleasure.
    Even old-bods (like Gliss and myself [​IMG]) have off days. I find this time of year particularly hard going and have had a wee cry in the toilet myself already today, but I know I'll feel better next week once the senior exams are over and my dept. development paperwork is complete.
    Take care and keep posting!

    Joni xx
    (ps don't worry about being "borderline" - ask your line-manager for advice about improving and don't be fobbed off!)

     
  10. LennoxBerkeley

    LennoxBerkeley New commenter

    I find the classroom provides me with the sort of captive audience that seems to disperse when I play my music in the public arena. Locking the door has helped all the more. Lennox.
     
  11. Being told your borderline is a common experience whilst doing teacher training.
    Trouble is music is not exactly well paid, is it? Music teachers are teachers who happen to be musicians.
    Like the Navy: you are an officer first then whatever you happen to do (Principal Warfare Officer, etc.) comes second.
    Many music teachers are having to accept teaching subjects they never qualified for just to keep their contract. Very sad. I would get out while you can.
     
  12. What do you mean by borderline?
    I worked as a peri teacher in a school where the head of music was previously a french teacher, and didn't know enough about music to teach GCSE.

     
  13. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    My 'boss' (very tongue in cheek!!) once was a PE teacher and knew nothing about music, but thought he did. If it wasn't so sad it would have been hilarious......anyway, surely that is more reason to keep Music teachers in the Music classroom?
    I now am in a brilliant school in charge of my own dept.,my Boss (HT) couldn't be more supportive and I feel priviledged to be here (most days!) I feel after 30 years it will be a nice end to my career if I'm here till retirement as I've taught in bad schools, very bad schools and some so-so schools.
    How are you doing at the moment Post 1 (sorry can't remember your name) ?

     

Share This Page