Music Teacher Organization Membership


by John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
Rio Rancho, NM USA


lthough many piano and music teachers are members of teachers organizations, statistics about music teachers, per se, and the fraction of teachers who are members of such organizations are difficult to obtain. What follows is an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and stated membership in the most prevalent music teacher organizations in the U.S., provided in order to address these questions. A shorter version of it appeared earlier on the PEP Forums.


keyinfo.gif (1045 bytes)National organizations can claim a substantial majority of music teachers as members 


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps private music teachers in the category Teachers - Self Enrichment Teachers. Its occupational description for this grouping says: "Self-enrichment teachers provide instruction in a wide variety of subjects that students take for personal enrichment or self-improvement. Some teach a series of classes that provide students with useful life skills, such as cooking, personal finance, and time management classes. Others provide group instruction intended solely for recreation, such as photography, pottery, and painting courses. Many others provide one-on-one instruction in a variety of subjects, including dance, singing, or playing a musical instrument. The instruction self-enrichment teachers provide seldom leads to a particular degree and attendance is voluntary, but dedicated, talented students sometimes go on to careers in the arts. Teachers who conduct courses on academic subjects in a non-academic setting, such as literature, foreign language, and history courses, are also included in this occupation.....Teachers of self-enrichment education held about 253,000 jobs in 2004. About 3 in 10 were self-employed. The largest numbers of teachers were employed by public and private educational institutions, religious organizations, and providers of social assistance and amusement and recreation services." This 253,000 number includes lots of other, non-music, professions, but it puts an upper bound on the number of private music teachers.  

The BLS lists another 78,000 "Art, drama, and music teachers" as employed in "Teaching - Postsecondary" . There is some overlap with the previous numbers, since music professors often teach privately, as well. Nonetheless, adding those numbers together we get, as an absolute maximum, a total of 331,000 people who have even a remote chance of being employed as music teachers, recognizing that many of those are in unrelated professions, as indicated by the U.S. BLS.

Indeed, a survey of employment in the non-teaching parts of arts occupations suggests that music teachers might be expected to represent, at most, about half of that 331,000, though there are several assumptions involved in making that estimate which might cause it to be somewhat more uncertain than the other numbers cited here. Since there is some uncertainty associated with that "less than half of 331,000" number of music teachers, I won't use it in further calculations, but I wanted to give readers a "ball-park" idea of just how much that 331,000 number is likely to overestimate the number of music teachers of all sorts.

Music teachers in the U.S. belong primarily to four national music teachers organizations, the Music Teachers National Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the National Federation of Music Clubs. MTNA claims 24,000 members on its web site, MENC claims 130,000, total 154,000. The National Guild of Piano Teachers indicates that it has over 118,000 teachers and students who participate in auditions nationally. NFMC says,
"NFMC provides opportunities for musical study, performance and appreciation to more than 200,000 senior, student and junior members in 6,500 music-related clubs and organizations nationwide.  Members are professional and amateur musicians, vocalists, composers, dancers, performing artists, arts and music educators, music students, generous music patrons and benefactors, and music lovers of all ages." It doesn't give a breakdown of how many of those are teachers, but most of the members of NMFC that I know are teachers. Since some teachers are members of several such organizations and all the organizations allow student membership there is some overlap in these numbers. However, they do not include those teachers who are members of local or state organizations, but not the national ones, so we can view it as a conservative estimate of the number of music teachers who are members of local or national music teachers organizations.

Thus, these national organizations reach at least half of the 331,000 people who are employed in any kind of arts-related or self-enrichment teaching, not just music teaching. Taking into account the likelihood that somewhat less than half that 331,000 are actually music teachers, as discussed above, the national organizations can claim a substantial majority of music teachers as members.

Page created: 4/20/09
Last updated: 09/03/15
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
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