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My job in Belgium: How much does a music teacher earn?
What is your job?
I am a secondary school teacher, teaching music to all levels. I also teach at various Antwerp arts academies. At these academies I teach AMV (general musical education) and I teach young people of all ages to play saxophone. In addition to my job in education, I am sometimes asked to play concerts. I can do this thanks to my artist card. This card gives me the official status as an artist and allows me to accept smaller projects and to be paid, almost tax-free, through the so-called small reimbursement scheme.
Do you like your job?
I love it! I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher. Nevertheless, I studied at the conservatory, because I like to play music myself. Now I can combine teaching and playing the saxophone, so the best of both worlds.
What do you think of your income?
I think my salary is correct (€3,200 gross per month, about €2,100 net plus bicycle allowance and public transport reimbursement) and I certainly can’t complain. Teachers are remunerated on the basis of scales, but in my case it’s a bit different. I have a master’s degree, but I also give a few courses that are paid at the level of a bachelor’s degree. To make up for that difference, I get the opportunity to teach extra hours so that I get the same wage as someone with a master's. They always try to put a teacher in the pay grade corresponding to their diploma, but for music subjects that is more difficult. This is a shame, because it makes the job more complicated. The extras that I earn as a musician are an added bonus.
How many hours a week do you work per week?
I teach 25 hours a week, which is four hours more than normal. Yet my work does not stop there, because I have to prepare every lesson. I spend about three to four hours a day on preparation, which is a lot. The courses I give are so diverse that I cannot often fall back on something I prepared earlier.
Do you save?
I recently bought myself an apartment, so really saving is not possible at the moment. I don’t mind not saving because I see my house as an investment. I do, however, save €81 per month for my pension.
What is your biggest expense?
At this moment in time I have 24 years to pay off the mortgage on my house. In addition to that, the monthly costs of petrol and insurance, are the most expensive. I am currently cutting back a bit on other things.
What can you definitely not spend money on?
On extremely expensive foods. I could never pay €100 for a bottle of wine because it is made from a special grape variety or comes from a special vineyard. I would rather buy a cheaper bottle that tastes just as good.
What do you gladly spend money on?
I like to spend money on restaurants because then I know that I don’t have to prepare the food myself and that I can just enjoy the company I’m with - my boyfriend, family or friends - and the atmosphere. I also quickly pick up my bank card to buy tickets for a concert. Not strange for a musician, of course. Now that I think about it, I’d rather spend money on experiences than on material things.
What would you do it you won the lottery?
First, I would ensure that I can live an easy life. By that I mean that I would pay off everything, set aside enough for my pension and always have enough in my account to make ends meet and occasionally go on a holiday. After that, I would like to support musical projects and start up a music project for less well-off families and children, perhaps even at an international level.