Most teachers hold college degrees in musical education, and some have Master's degrees as well. A college degree is especially important for teaching in a school setting, as most schools simply will not consider applicants without degrees. Public school teachers must hold education credentials which means keeping up with continuing education requirements for teachers. They often know how to play multiple instruments, and even choir teachers are often proficient piano players.
In addition to holding a college degree, the ideal instructor needs to be patient, as he or she will likely be working with children and teens. Creativity is important, as it is in any arts-related field. It is important for a teacher to have a positive and encouraging attitude toward his or her students, as young people can often become discouraged if they do not pick up on a concept right away. A music teacher who displays a positive, can-do attitude toward his or her students will encourage the students to stick with musical performance as a life-long hobby.
Finally, a music teacher will benefit from having a flexible attitude toward his or her job. A school music teacher may need to spend extra time preparing for musicals or performances and selecting songs for the new school year. A private instructor can make extra money taking on more clients, but this will obviously require more of a time commitment. In both cases, the teacher needs to be flexible with his or her time, and needs to make time management a priority to best serve the students.