Who do you work for? What is your job? Where do you work?
I work in schools around the borough for the local Music Service. I also do a lot of private work either from my own teaching studio at home or at a private school in West London. In addition I work as an examiner for the Registry of Guitar Tutors which, although a small part of what I do, can take me all around the country.
How did you start in this line of work?
I taught a jazz workshop for adults. The private work has built steadily over a number of years starting with just one or two students per week.
How did you find out about the job? Or where did you get the idea?
A friend who was teaching the course recommended me when he decided to leave.
How did you get the job?
I was told by a member of staff that a vacancy was coming up so I applied directly to the Music Service with a CV.
What do you do on an average day?
Usually I will have two schools to visit in a day where I teach either individuals or small groups depending on what students I have. I will also have private students which I see at various times during the day.
What hours do you work?
I do 3 ½ days teaching per week for the Music Service at the moment but it varies and each term can be different. It tends to be busier in September and tails off a little by the end of the year. There are also planning and other associated tasks involved which take up a couple more hours each week. Private work can be anything up to 20 hours per week
What’s the best part of the job?
Seeing people improving. Working on my own and not having to rely on others and the ridiculously long holidays.
And the worst?
Feeling like I’m not a proper musician.
What can you not do your job without - Qualifications, licences, insurance, comfy shoes, eye for detail, sense of humour?
You don’t need any qualifications to set yourself up as a private teacher, not yet anyway. To work for a Music Service you need a degree although QTS isn’t necessary. Patience and the ability to communicate clearly are essential.
How much initial investment did you have to spend to get started in your career?
Not much really as you don’t need a lot of gear and anyway I already had all the equipment that I need. If you are self-employed you can claim all your equipment as start up costs no matter how long you have had it.
How does the pay and career path compare to other people you know? Can you support yourself, a family, a house on the income from this work?
I don’t know about other people but it certainly pays better than any job I ever had before. Teaching is now my sole source of income and I survive fairly comfortably.
Does your organisation ever advertise for staff? Where?
I don’t know about that. Teaching jobs are a bit like gigs in that it’s mostly word of mouth and contacts.
Have you ever seen other jobs like yours advertised? Where?
Teaching jobs are advertised in the Times Educational Supplement (TES available Fridays) but it’s not very often that instrumental work turns up. The RGT will very occasionally let members know if a job is available
What would you be doing if not in this line of work?
Probably still working in the sales office of a musical instrument importer/distributor or driving a van.
Thank you to the guitar teacher who provided this information, you can contact him at: