How to write a CV for a Music Education Hub teaching post
Music Services are keen to recruit a diverse workforce of peripatetic tutors with a wide range of musical and life experiences so that they can offer musical education that meets the needs and interests of all children and young people.
Applying to be a peripatetic tutor with a Music Education Hub is no different from applying for any other job – your CV and the accompanying covering letter are your advertisement for your skills and attributes and how they match the job you are applying for.
Hubs are interested in people who can demonstrate passion for working with children and young people and are able to build a rapport with them. They are also looking for people who are committed to continuously developing and improving their teaching practice. So even if you don’t have any formal teaching qualifications or experience, you may be able to demonstrate your suitability for the role through other things that you have done.
Here we identify some of the common problems that put talented and creative musicians off applying for teaching posts within Music Education Hubs and suggest some solutions that may help you to make your application successful.
What should be in a CV and a covering letter?
Your CV is a chronological list of your working life and education
A covering letter (or application form-if used) expands on your CV and explains how your experience is relevant to the job on offer. In your covering letter should focus on your experience of teaching and working with young people.
Most advice about writing a CV will suggest that you list all your previous positions and education without gaps. The National Careers Service advice https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/get-a-job/cv-tips identifies the CV as a way of selling yourself and your achievements. It also recommends tailoring each CV to the job for which you are applying.
The Guardian also has some good articles on writing CVs https://www.theguardian.com/careers/cv
Problem 1 – I haven’t had a job I’ve been gigging…
Music Education Hubs are run by musicians so they will understand the way in which musicians are contracted. So, identify the period when you have been working as a freelance musician i.e. between October 2014 and July 2015, then detail your main contract(s) or type of work ‘tour of UK and Europe with XXX band’, or ‘playing UK festivals’ ‘writing a musical for XXX’.
If you can, give a little information about what you did and if you took on any of the admin work that comes with being on tour eg. ‘bass player and booked all the dates on the tour’.
Working musicians are authentic and bring experience with them that young people really appreciate but don’t forget about detailing your teaching experience as well.
Problem 2 – I have no teaching experience
You may not have been teaching in an official capacity but think about the work you have been doing and the transferable skills you may have developed. For example, a tour guide is not a teacher but must organise information, enthuse and engage their audience, be calm and patient in dealing with a variety of people and unexpected situations, answer questions and be flexible depending on the interest of their group. They need to be confident speaking in front of large groups of people and may need to alter their delivery if the group they are talking to does not speak English or has specific needs. These are all skills that are also useful in teaching.
Music Education Hubs develop their tutors through training and professional development but they do want applicants who can demonstrate the skills surrounding teaching and enabling young people to make progress in music.
Think about other musical activities you might have done which didn’t directly involve teaching children but may have helped you develop some relevant skills:
- Have you run music workshops in the past – even if this was for adults?
- Did you run practical music-based activity for others on a music course you were taking?
- Have you taught songs or simple instruments to individuals and groups? Have you been a musical director for a show?
- Have you taught or trained others in another subject? An example might be ‘First Aid’ or ‘how to sell broadband contracts’ – how could you use some of the skills you learned to help someone learn music?
Ideally you should be able to demonstrate that you have some relevant experience in teaching both individuals and groups
Don’t forget your experience as a learner – what inspired you? And what made you want to give up?
Problem 3 – do I need to have experience working with young people?
Music Education Hubs provide music education for young people between 5 and 19. They are the focus of everything the hub provides, so yes you must be able to show that you are committed to working with young people.
Ideally you should be able to show that you have some recent experience working with young people, it doesn’t have to be in a school or a musical activity, helping at your local youth club or coaching a youth football team are also activities which will help you to understand the concerns and interests of children and young people.
It would also be helpful to be aware of basic information around child protection, although you would receive training if appointed. Have a look at the NSPCC website https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-protection-system/
Consider if there is something special you could bring to the Hub? Do you have experience with working with young people with a disability or with mental health problems, for example, or have you got experience of using music to deal with the social problems that young people face for example, using rap to talk about bullying.
Problem 4 – I don’t have any qualifications
This may not be a barrier to developing a career in teaching if you can show that you have skill as a musician (through a live audition) and that you have the relevant skills and aptitudes that a Hub is looking for in a tutor as discussed above. If you have proven ability to ‘get alongside’ young people, to inspire them and support them in their ambitions in music then these are the attributes which Hubs will be interested in.
However, you should expect to be organised, complete reports and paperwork, to create and implement lesson plans and to be observed in and receive feedback on your teaching – wherever you start on your teaching journey.
Be honest – if you haven’t got the experience Hubs would prefer you to say that you are keen to learn. Even if you aren’t offered a job straight away, the Hub may be able to support you with further training or shadowing.
Check your application for mistakes and spelling, or even better get a friend to check for you!
Make it easy to read – CVs and covering letters should be no more than two sides of A4 each.