Are you a passionate musician with a deep understanding of music theory? Do you enjoy teaching and inspiring the next generation of musicians?

If so, becoming a music theory professor may be the perfect career path for you. In this article, we’ll explore the steps you need to take to become a music theory professor.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Music

The first step towards becoming a music theory professor is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Music. This degree will provide you with a solid foundation in music theory and performance.

During your undergraduate studies, it’s important to take courses in music history, composition, and analysis. These courses will help you develop your critical thinking skills and prepare you for graduate studies.

Step 2: Pursue Graduate Studies

After completing your Bachelor’s degree, it’s time to pursue graduate studies. You should aim to obtain a Master’s degree in Music Theory or Composition. This degree will provide you with advanced knowledge and skills in music theory and pedagogy.

During your graduate studies, it’s important to gain practical experience by working as a teaching assistant or tutor. This experience will help you develop your teaching skills and prepare you for future employment opportunities.

Step 3: Gain Teaching Experience

Once you’ve completed your graduate studies, it’s time to gain teaching experience. You can start by applying for adjunct positions at local community colleges or universities. These positions are typically part-time and offer valuable teaching experience.

It’s important to build relationships with colleagues and supervisors during this time as they may provide references or employment opportunities in the future.

Step 4: Obtain a Doctorate Degree

If you want to advance your career as a music theory professor, it’s important to obtain a Doctorate degree in Music Theory or Composition. This degree will provide you with the highest level of knowledge and expertise in the field.

During your doctoral studies, it’s important to focus on your research and publications. This will help you establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase your chances of obtaining a tenure-track position.

Step 5: Apply for Tenure-Track Positions

Once you’ve completed your doctoral studies, it’s time to apply for tenure-track positions. These positions offer job security and opportunities for advancement.

When applying for positions, it’s important to tailor your application materials to each institution. Highlight your teaching and research experience, as well as any publications or presentations you’ve made.


Becoming a music theory professor requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for music. By obtaining the right education, gaining teaching experience, and establishing yourself as an expert in the field, you can achieve this rewarding career.