Hubs And Spokes | Cover and Instrumental Teaching – Find Your Musical Groove

Primary music teaching comes in many varieties. Learn more about Sing Education’s instrumental and cover teaching. We offer flexibility plus consistency and support – a winning combination.

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You’ve graduated conservatoire or university, music degree fast in hand.

Then for months, you’ve put in the hard graft. Auditioning, pursuing commissions, composing on spec.

Now, to your great credit, you’ve been cast, secured a patron or sold your music.

You’re a working musician.

But what if alongside your amazing accomplishment, you’ve nurtured a passion for developing young talent and a desire to build an instrumental or vocal teaching practice? 

Where to start?

download 3 music warm up activities from Sing Education
Click here to download 3 of our favourite music warm up activities

Freelance Music Teaching: Finding Consistent Work

Teaching music to primary and secondary school pupils requires more than just musical talent. To get your practice off the ground requires business savvy, entrepreneurial spirit and a positive “can-do” mindset.

It also requires a healthy rota of paying clients.

If you’re committed to growing your instrumental or vocal pupil roster, you’ll need to develop a steady stream of parental inquiries, qualified referrals or third-party teaching opportunities to keep your practice afloat. 

Much easier said than done.

According to the Musician’s Union, most peripatetic music teachers find “work either as a private instrumental or vocal teacher, or through a third party such as a teaching agency. [This is any] organisation who organises the teaching for you or introduces you to students[.] These include schools, music services, music hubs & cooperatives, agencies, music schools etc.” MU1

There are also alternative ways, such as promoting your services through local music stores, signing up for e-newsletters that circulate news and jobs relevant to the sector, or applying to ads in publications that specialise in peripatetic teaching jobs. 

The difficulty with most of these routes – as many freelance teachers soon discover – is the extraordinary amount of time, effort and tenacity required to knit together enough tuition time to make a good income for oneself. Rather than spending time with pupils, peripatetics often find themselves chasing the next enrollment, special project, or contract.

A young student in a green school sweater attentively holds a recorder, preparing to play, while a teacher's hands are seen in the foreground, guiding the child with a mallet, suggesting a musical instruction setting that fosters learning and creativity.
A close-up view captures the detailed artistry of a violinist in action, with a focus on the fingers deftly pressing the strings and the bow elegantly gliding across, creating a sense of the music's movement and the musician's skillful expression.

Freelance Music Teaching: Responsibilities and Challenges

Secondly, if you’re thinking about peripatetic work, are you prepared to research, take advice and make provisions for work issues related to your status as a self-employed person? 

Instrumental and vocal teachers – both in and out of schools – need to understand important information about their employment status, legal rights and personal responsibilities. 

Think strategically – are you really wanting to go it alone, managing all the difficulties that could potentially arise around contracts, public liability cover, unpaid invoices, on- or off-payroll tax status (IR35), pension contributions, missed lessons, sick pay, venue cancellations, etc..?

download 3 music warm up activities from Sing Education
Click here to download 3 of our favourite music warm up activities

Over the years, freelance music tuition has become a major minefield due to shifting client expectations, evolving work practices and changes within our UK legislative environment. The Musician’s Union agrees. 

“Employment as an instrumental or vocal teacher used to be simple. You were either ‘employed’ by a music service, school, college or university, or ‘self-employed’ – working at home, visiting pupils’ homes or teaching in a private studio.

Today, various factors have combined to create a confusing and uncertain working environment, often featuring bogus self-employment, the inappropriate use of zero-hour contracts and other questionable practices.” MU2

Freelance Music Teaching: What’s My Day In the Life?

Last, but not least, once you’ve given consideration to the above, have you thought about what your day-to-day work will look like

Will you travel from school to school, organising each day to deliver tuition across a variety of locations and timetables? Will you perform all the back office operations to manage enrollments, payments, cancellations, refunds, student data protection?

Will you develop (or purchase) your own age-, SEN- and EAL-appropriate teaching materials? Will you build in methodologies to ensure inclusion and diversity are part of your teaching plan? Ask yourself…

  • Are you using a variety of teaching methods and different learning styles to meet everyone’s needs?
  • Are your teaching resources accessible for all learners?
  • Is the language that you use non-discriminatory and appropriate?
  • Is diversity included within teaching – making reference and using examples from a variety of cultures, religions, traditions? MU6
download 3 music warm up activities from Sing Education
Click here to download 3 of our favourite music warm up activities

Will you arrange your own CPD and safeguarding training? This last point cannot be emphasised enough. According to the MU, “Safeguarding is an area that every music teacher needs to know about. Following good safeguarding practices in music lessons, online or face-to-face, creates a safe and secure environment for children, young adults and vulnerable adults to learn in.” MU5

A music teacher with a beard and glasses is engaging with young students while holding a ukulele, raising his hand as if to illustrate a point or direct the class. The students, wearing green school uniforms, are attentively listening to the teacher, with the backdrop of a classroom featuring a piano, suggesting a hands-on music learning environment. The atmosphere conveys a sense of interactive learning and musical instruction.
Two joyful schoolchildren are seated side by side, each holding a bright blue ukulele. They are engaged in a music lesson, with the boy looking to his side with a bright smile, and the girl looking ahead, laughing as she strums her instrument. The natural light from the window behind them highlights the cheerful atmosphere of their learning experience.

Sing Education - Bringing the Strands Together

When you join Sing Education’s peripatetic teaching faculty you don’t give up on your aspirations. Instead, you build on them.

Our flexible contracts, teacher training curriculum, comprehensive lesson resources and schools portfolio across Greater London, the Southeast and Yorkshire means you can have it all. Be a working musician AND a freelance teacher.

Curricular and Instrumental Go Hand in Hand

It might be one-to-one tuition or small group learning – but whatever the format, instrumental music lessons are an important part of music education. Sing Education offers a number of instruments such as guitar, recorder and keyboard. Moreover, we ensure instrumental lessons are joined up seamlessly with our curricular teaching.

However, if as an instrumental teacher you bring bespoke teaching resources or methodologies, we work closely together with you to incorporate them into the Sing Education classroom Schemes of Work. We do this so that children feel their musical learning is well joined up and so they understand that what they’re learning in an instrumental lesson is linked to what they’re learning in their curriculum music lesson.

download 3 music warm up activities from Sing Education
Click here to download 3 of our favourite music warm up activities

Cover Music Peripatetic Teaching Made Easy

Cover music teaching takes a special kind of skill. You need to be flexible, resourceful, quick-footed and most of all have a real passion for teaching primary school pupils. But the support from Sing Education is tremendous – lesson plans, onboarding, classroom technique training. And as our current teachers will tell you – the rewards are priceless.

The Sing Education cover music teacher role has two strands to it – one focused on short-term cover to help schools manage the day-to-day provision emergencies that arise and the other other focused on future/planned cover to address long-term teacher absence. We actively recruit for both opportunities and in each instance look for someone who is reliable, confident and inspirational who can get up to speed quickly. 

And regardless of the nature of the cover requirement, with Sing Education, you’re never tossed in the deep end to work it out on your own. We provide all the training and resources teachers need to be successful in the classroom from cover assignment Day One. We do this to ensure the teaching standard retains its high quality and so that your lessons mesh seamlessly with what has gone before.

So if you’ve got the musical skills, teaching commitment and passion for nurturing young people AND you think you could find your working musician’s groove as an instrumental or cover music teacher with Sing Education, get in touch. 

We’ve been waiting for someone just like you!

To learn more about Sing Education, including how our music provision, online instrumental lessons and at home learning resources contribute to a well-rounded music curriculum, please visit

For even more info, practical tips and guidance, click below to download your FREE GUIDE “Three Music Warm Ups for Primary Schools”

download 3 music warm up activities from Sing Education
Click here to download 3 of our favourite music warm up activities

About Us

Founded in 2014 and serving more than 16,000 children each week, Sing Education is a first class provider of primary school music education. Focusing on high-quality, singing-led tuition, we deliver a complete solution for schools which includes teacher recruitment, training and management, bespoke curricular resources and educational consultancy services. 

Through music lessons, singing assemblies, choirs, after school clubs and instrumental tuition, Sing Education works with students from Nursery right through to Year 6. Our core philosophy is that “Every Child Has A Voice,” and, as educators active in the classroom, our directors and teachers know firsthand how much young learners benefit from exciting, rewarding music education. 

#SingEducation #MusicInFocus #HubsAndSpokes



  1. Finding Teaching Work MU1 Musicians Union1
  2. Employment Status for Instrumental and Vocal Teachers MU2 Musicians Union2
  3. Safeguarding MU5 Musicians Union5

Inclusion and Diversity in Teaching MU6 Musicians Union6

A young student in a green school sweater attentively holds a recorder, preparing to play, while a teacher's hands are seen in the foreground, guiding the child with a mallet, suggesting a musical instruction setting that fosters learning and creativity.

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