Los Angeles ranks among the top metropolitan areas in the nation that puts to work the largest aggregate of post-secondary music instructors, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to current employment data, these masters of rhythm earn between $50,000 and $84,000 annually. Experts say it is an evolving vocation that will require up-and-coming teachers to keep pace with a medley of current trends, changing times and ethnic enrichment.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ric Alviso)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ric Alviso)

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“Tomorrow’s music educator will need to know and use standard repertoire, popular music and music from a wide variety of cultures,” said Dr. Ric Alviso, chair of the music department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). “The inclusion of composition and improvisation, coupled with a wider use of technology, will likely be more prominent in the music classroom.”

Alviso said L.A. is an advantageous location for aspiring music educators to seek and secure a gratifying career.

“Los Angeles is the music capital of the world,” said Alviso, who earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA. “It provides a unique locale for a music educator to present a comprehensive music curriculum to a diverse student population.”

How is CSUN preparing future music educators?

“Our mission is to prepare music majors to become highly effective, state-credentialed teachers that provide a sequential, curricular music education for kindergarten to twelfth-grade students. Our program provides teaching experiences with outstanding mentors in diverse community settings.”

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What defines an accomplished music educator?

“A successful music educator must be a highly competent and organized musician and performer with a passionate commitment to bringing music to young people.”

What is the best way to plan for a successful career?

“Lifelong music educators grow professionally over their entire careers by joining music educator organizations and participating in quality in-service professional development programs. They cultivate partnerships among local school districts, businesses, universities and other professional associations.”

What is your advice to those pursuing a career in music education?

“Those interested in becoming a music educator should earn a bachelor’s degree in music education and a teaching credential from an accredited university with a music program of repute and a successful track record of employment for its graduates.”

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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.