The purpose of this study was to explore how instrumental teachers reflect their professional development pathways with reference to their own apprenticeship experiences. The participants were three female instrumental teachers who taught the piano and violin. Reflections of teachers’ own learning experiences on their career pathways and professional development were collected from the participants through interviews, teaching diaries, and field notes. Several themes emerged from the data collected over an approximately six-month period. First, all the participants experienced long musical apprenticeships. Second, the teachers rarely perceived pedagogical skills are ‘learnable’ skills as performing skills. Finally, all the teachers were only interested in practical, examination-oriented professional development programmes, as opposed to academic or pedagogically-oriented outcomes such as journals or conferences. The unitisation of professional development choices would appear to be the most urgent and pressing problem faced by instrumental teachers. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.