Teach Music Abroad in One of These 12 Countries

by Published

If sharing your melodious talents and instrument know-how around the world sounds like music to your ears, you’re the perfect candidate to teach music abroad. Whether you’ve majored in violin in college, marched with a trumpet in high school band, or play in a weekend garage band on the side, your musical skills can bring the sleepiest village to life with upbeat rhythms. Musicians with a curiosity to explore the world can pack their instrument and sheet music for a rewarding “world tour” in big cities or quaint countryside towns by choosing to teach abroad.

Teach Music Abroad in One of These 12 Countries

How to Teach Music Abroad

Before signing up right away to teach music abroad in your top bucket list country abroad, consider whether you want to pursue a paid teaching job or a volunteer position.

Paid Music Jobs

Job postings for teaching music abroad are constantly changing and involve time sensitive applications due to the limited number of musicians needed for each gig. While finding permanent, contractual jobs requires time-intensive searching, participating in shorter term music workshops at schools or leading entertainment programs for guests at international resorts are common job options that also provide stipends. Not a bad way to see the world!

Volunteering in Music

Volunteering provides a much wider variety of music teaching opportunities abroad in several more countries. Placements are usually available year-round with applications open on a rolling basis. Most volunteer programs organize music lessons in schools or workshops in underprivileged communities, where people might otherwise not have the chance to learn to read notes or pick up an instrument.

Whether you choose to work or volunteer, teaching music abroad is an incredibly rewarding experience of cultural exchange that will leave students’ ears buzzing with the sound of music. 

After all, music is said to be man’s universal language with the power to cross nationalities, languages, and age. Wondering where the best country is to spread music education?

Where to Teach Music Abroad

Here are the 12 musical countries thumping with amazing opportunities to teach music abroad. We promise it’ll just take a minute or two!

1. Italy

Violins in a museum
Train the next generation of classical maestros in Italy

In the artistic mecca of Italy, tenors have been belting out arias in ornate opera halls for centuries and instrumental concertos have earned their rightful place as immortalized classics. It’s an intimidating music scene to teach in, but chances are your young student won’t be an aspiring opera singer.

Pros:

With so many music words originating from Italian (allegro, andante, forte, and so on), you’ll already have a head start on learning the language.

Cons:

Such a deeply rooted musical history means you won’t be the only maestro around, and teaching jobs are difficult to come by. 

Recommended teaching opportunity: 

Sing your way through Italy while strutting chords on a guitar with Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational (ACLE) in workshops for middle schoolers around the country.

2. China

Music festival in China
Share Western music knowledge in the very heart of the East

Millennia of powerful dynasties and a rich artistic history has made China’s music scene a diverse and colorful pillar of Chinese culture. Teach music abroad in a hoppin’ megacity or in the tranquil countryside.

Pros:

Teaching the world’s largest population ensures that you’ll never run out of interested students.

Cons:

If you want to pick up a traditional Chinese instrument, you’ll have to learn a completely different musical notation to read sheet music. 

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Knowledge Must allows you to share your culture and musical talent while learning about the Chinese arts and society in return.

3. Germany

Bavarians in Lederhosen
Learn to yodel or a few notes on the accordion in Germany

Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, and Wagner all walked out of Germany’s cobblestoned streets and into legend as some of the best composers of our time. Bring music education to Germany and continue a tradition of artistic appreciation and excellence.

Pros:

Any musician with a knack for classical will find utter bliss in Germany’s countless composer museums, symphonies, and watching street performances.

Cons:

Because extracurriculars and community music groups are so widespread, there isn’t exactly a pressing need for music teachers and competition can be tough.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Those who have ever dreamed of living in Europe’s hippest city can get support to settle down in Berlin with Nomaden Berlin to start teaching music ASAP.

4. Kenya

Volunteer with kids in Kenya
Take kids on a musical safari

While Kenya is no stranger to music, many people in rural and underserved areas may have never had the opportunity to see or touch a Western instrument like a guitar or piano. Start strengthening your vocal cords, pack up your favorite instrument, and learn your students’ favorite tribal songs in Kenya.

Pros:

As music is deeply imbedded in virtually every aspect of life in Kenya, you’ll be able to contribute to already festive musical traditions.

Cons:

Classrooms and music workshops may lack resources for instruments or other teaching material, so you’ll have to be prepared to hone into your best improvisation and creativity skills.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Teach children how to incorporate music theory, vocals, and instruments into their vibrant musical traditions with International Volunteer HQ.

5. Greece

Woman walking on a ledge in Santorini, Greece
Turn your students into musical Hercules

Who doesn’t want some sun, sand, and sea in their lives all throughout the year? Although Greece’s musical reputation might be a bit lost in the toga-clad characters of Disney’s Hercules, its long history dates back to the oral storytelling traditions of ancient Greece.

Pros:

While teaching music abroad in Greece, you can also learn about the ancient instruments depicted in ancient vases and early start of Western music. Even the word music comes from the Greek word mousa.

Cons:

Still reeling from financial crisis, Greece has been grappling with an increased poverty rate, loss of jobs, and governmental funding cuts that can affect the availability of music teaching jobs.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Get paid to splash around on Mediterranean coast with Remarc Sunseafun while teaching resort guests and kids a thing or two about music. 

6. Jamaica

Towels hanging on a clothesline on the beach
Bring your one love for music to Jamaica

Music is king in Jamaica, where Bob Marley and reggae single-handedly put the caribbean nation on the world map and gave the country its own musical identity. There’s one love in Jamaica, and that’s the sweet, sweet sound of music!

Pros:

English is the dominantly spoken language, so you won’t face a language barrier when explaining chords on a guitar.

Cons:

Some obstacles to teaching music in Jamaica may be ill-equipped classrooms and students’ limited background in musical schooling

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Get involved in a music project with Projects Abroad and volunteer teaching music to school children.

7. Cambodia

Man playing the guitar
Strum your way into the heart of Cambodia

Music in Cambodia has been shaped by centuries of influence of the Khmer people, who make up the majority of Cambodia’s population, and is traditionally accompanied by dances. With such a strongly engraved musical dance culture, your talents will fit right in.

Pros:

Because students’ spend the bulk of their day memorizing texts and listening to their teacher’s lectures, providing them with an expressive outlet after a long day in class will no doubt make you their favorite teacher.

Cons:

A wanting healthcare system leaves much to be desired for citizens and visitors alike in Cambodia. Get informed on common diseases to plan appropriate vaccines and use common sense for hygiene.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Join the team and contribute your skills through Kaya Responsible Travel to bring singing and dancing to children in Cambodia.

8. India

Street performer in India
Become a music guru in India

India has certainly made a name for itself through the catchy dance numbers and accompanying hits in Bollywood music videos. Teach music in India and you might even make a brief appearance in the next Bollywood sensation.

Pros:

India’s sheer size and ethnic diversity creates an even more diverse music scene that can change from one village to the next.

Cons:

Prepare yourself for limited air conditioning in buildings and sweltering heat in the summer, especially if you’ll be dancing around.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

An artist’s life is never easy, so with some help ELI’s Art Colony brings artists together to create self-sufficient communities that support the arts and builds sustainable careers.

9. Costa Rica

Band performing outside
Where would pura vida be without music?

With a Pacific Coast, Caribbean Coast, and a name that means Rich Coast, you can probably guess that Costa Rica has a lot of beach to offer. As one of Latin America’s stablest and safest countries, Costa Rica also enjoys tons of government sponsored arts and music organizations to promote cultural and modern arts.

Pros:

Costa Rica is huge on ecotourism, so when you’re done teaching keys and clapping your hands for the day, you can glide down a zipline, snorkel in coral reefs, or ride horseback on the beach.

Cons:

The close proximity to the Equator means stifling humidity, perpetual downpour, or an unwelcome mix of the two during the rainy season.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Become a part of Performing Arts Abroad to teach music around the community and practice Spanish with a host family.

10. Brazil

Capoeira dancers in Brazil
Drum to the beat of samba in Brazil

SAMBA! It doesn’t have to be Carnival in Rio to enjoy the energetic, blended sounds of Brazilian music. Influenced by European, African, and ethnic Brazilian beats, the sounds of drumming, clapping, and bells ring through the streets throughout the year.

Pros:

Music flows through every Brazilian’s veins and with so many diverse music genres and instruments originating here, your students won’t need any convincing to pick up an instrument.

Cons:

Teaching music abroad in the bigger cities like Rio or Sao Paolo presents amazing opportunities to get a condensed dose of Brazilian culture in one place, but keep in mind there are still many districts and neighborhoods that are best left unexplored by tourists due to crime.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Empower the youth to stay out of trouble and provide an escape through music with Iko Poran.

11. Bolivia 

Festival performers in Bolivia
Plunge into the hidden traditions and culture of landlocked Bolivia

Sharing the Andes mountain range and many of the same indigenous ethnic groups as Peru, Bolivia’s traditional music scene mirrors many of the same rhythms and styles. Although Bolivians are incredibly close to their roots, Spanish influences left behind many European instruments that have been integrated into folk music.

Pros:

Bolivia’s high population of indigenous people and remote communities makes it seems like some parts have been frozen in time and you’ll be able to truly have an unworldly experience.

Cons:

In a landlocked country of rugged terrain and a fairly rural landscape, reliable infrastructure isn’t a given and getting around will take some research.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Work with local music teachers to educate orphans and underprivileged children through Projects Abroad.

12. Peru

Peruvian man playing the trumpet
Teach kids in Peru to toot their own horn with newfound talents

A musician playing a pan flute on the cloud-shrouded Andes surrounded by the ruins of a lost civilization and llamas epitomizes the world’s image of Peru. Although traditional music and modern hits are widely listened to, limited resources in schools narrow knowledge about classical music.

Pros:

Sharing classical music in Peru compliments an already deeply rooted musical tradition in Peru and expands the harmonious horizons of students.

Cons:

Like many other developing countries, avoid the rookie tourist mistake of drinking straight tap water. Even if you’re teaching in a seemingly agrarian village with no visible sanitation issues, it’s better to be safe than spend hours in the bathroom.

Recommended teaching opportunity:

Contribute to community empowerment with Vive Peru and teach music abroad in Peru to children and teenagers.

Travel to Your Own Beat

Some people travel for exotic tastes in foods, others for the breathtakingly alien views. Music stimulates our other senses and puts a finishing touch of vibrancy on the colorful diversity of the world. Japan just wouldn’t be the same without its twangy koto tunes, and Jamaica just wouldn’t be itself without raggae! Teaching music abroad not only exposes others to your musical knowledge, but you also learn about a whole new world of music in return.

Save & compare your fave opportunities to teach music abroad with MyGoAbroad.