The Challenges of a Music Teacher

The life of a music teacher is definitely pleasant, however, there are times when we get frustrated and have to deal with certain challenges, just like in any type of work. The Challenges of a Music Teacher differ to those in the business world. Today I will share with you some challenges I personally experience in my field of work and ways to overcome them.

I am very happy in my work and with the people I am surrounded with, they are all so supportive and helpful. This is especially important for someone who has just begun their first full-time music teaching job. I have found that whenever I have a question or need some help or guidance, there is always at least one colleague who is ready and willing to help me and I appreciate that so much.

So here are the Challenges of a Music Teacher:


This is one of the biggest challenges of a


Music Teacher and any teacher. The lack of respect from learners can affect your attitude towards the class and kids. I teach creative arts to full classes and I have one class that just doesn’t want to listen to instruction. They are rowdy and noisy and it always takes a while for them to calm down. Because my ears are so sensitive to sound, I totally dislike the noise and the chaos. For this class, I have to rule with an iron fist and when kids feel that they don’t have freedom, they usually dislike the teacher and makes them prone to act with poor behaviour.

Solution: If there is a student with extremely disrespectful behaviour, you could punish them by removing them from your class. This will improve the class’s behaviour as a whole. You could make an agreement with the students that if they behave well, they can play a fun game that everyone enjoys.


the-challenges-of-a-music-teacherThis is a very common challenge among music teachers and also the most important part of playing a musical instrument. All students begin taking music lessons with the intention of practicing, however, with school activities and extra-mural activities, practicing for their instrument is usually the first thing they cut out from their busy schedules. Some students may have academic tests coming up and then they usually forsake their instruments.

The challenge with this is that, when students stop practicing, their progress is affected. They don’t make as much progress as they were making when they were practicing and now they may not feel interested in their instrument anymore because they don’t feel like they are winning. This is why music teachers always stress to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

In addition, it drives us music teachers crazy, because we don’t like having to repeat the same work the student did the previous weeks again and again. This makes me personally, not enjoy teaching my student and then

Solution: Set out a practice schedule for your student and every week you see them, ask them if they practiced and check if they have ticked all the days they have practiced. You won’t know if they may be telling you a lie or not, so you just have to trust your student and hear if they really did. Once you have heard from their playing and checked their schedule that they have stuck to it, you may reward them. For kids, I give them merits, but you can choose any reward you have in mind.


the-challenges-of-a-music-teacherHere is the next challenge of a music teacher. A forgetful student is a student whom continually forgets to bring their books and their instrument. Kids can be forgetful, they live in the now, so what happened a while ago they forget. Perhaps in your lesson you have told them to bring it next week casually, they don’t take much notice of that. Next week they arrive again without their equipment. Students need to play on their own instrument and read from their own music, because it helps them do and learn their instrument better. Continually changing between the teacher’s instrument and their instrument is not good. They need to learn to be responsible too.

Solution: For kids, tell them to bring their homework diary from class and let them write it in their book in front of you. This works most of the time, but there are some kids that fall through the cracks. Another solution would be to give them a kind of punishment or threaten to give them this punishment if they don’t bring their books; the opposite works well too – to reward them. I told my student I would reward them if they remembered their lessons and brought all their books and she was excited because she knew she was doing the right thing and knew she was going to be rewarded.


the-challenges-of-a-music-teacherA music teacher is always at the short end of the stick when it comes to organising music lessons. Something that most probably won’t change in the near or distant future, is academic work being more “important” than music lessons. It’s not always easy finding a suitable music lesson for your students when you teach music at a school. There are only certain subjects students can come to music in, but sometimes kids don’t want to miss the certain subject then you need to find a different time and sometimes you are not available at the time that a student is available.

Therefore, teachers need to juggle lessons by moving one student here and adding one there. It’s a constant juggle because timetables change or kids go on outings and you need to fit them in or they missed a lesson and you need to make it up. Or a student’s marks have dropped in a particular subject that you were taking them out from and now they need to improve their marks so they need to change their lesson time.

Solution: Take them in a lesson that they have more than one time in a week, or a lesson that they do academically well in. Another lesson could be in physical education or art etc. In addition, you could take them during assembly so that they miss part of assemble and part of their first lesson, or they could miss the whole assembly and attend their whole first lesson.


Today we discussed the challenges of a Music Teacher and how to overcome them. Challenges are good and they help us to grow. No teacher or person is perfect and often we will get it wrong or respond in a way we shouldn’t have, but as long as we recognise that we can improve and we improve it’s alright.

I love teaching music, it’s loads of fun. I love getting to know my students, what they like and dislike and help them in their life journey. Although teachers have these challenges, teaching music is still fun.

Please comment below if you have any helpful tips or strategies on today’s topic, I would love to hear what you do.

You are a great teacher!

4 thoughts on “The Challenges of a Music Teacher

  1. Hallo there Carolyn, 

    I have a to say a huge thank you for compiling this list of challenges for music teachers. My daughter got a job as a music  teacher in a nearby school and she is over the moon right now. But I talked to her and told her that she should be well versed with the challenges in the job so that she knows what to expect and how to go about it. She insisted there are no challenges and I had to look that up to confirm to her there are because I know all areas have challenges. I am going to show her your post and get to read it. She needs this and I care so much about her. Thanks again.

    1. Hello Dave,

      That’s great news! Congratulations to your daughter! You are so right. It will be very helpful for her to read it, she will be more prepared. University life and teaching life are so different. However, I am sure she will make a good transition. If she has any questions or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me on my website and I can share my knowledge and experience. 

  2. I love music because it takes my stress away so am glad I have come across this content connected to music and to make it more interesting am also  teacher but not a music teacher and I usually face some of the challenges you have mentioned especially disrespect from students to add on thanks for the solutions you have provided towards each challenge thanks a lot

    1. Yes, music is healing. I sometimes think that subject teachers have worse disciplinary issues than music teachers do, because you see full classes all day, everyday. Music teachers only see full classes 3 times a week for an hour each. I’m glad you enjoyed the content. Continue to be a great teacher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top