Putting in the effort to learn a new skill is not only a fun way to expand your knowledge and open up new doors, but can also be a great investment – in yourself. Depending on the scope and variety of your education with your instrument, you could potentially be putting your skills to work in ways much more secure and profitable than chasing fame with a band or as a solo artist. If you are serious about creating a career as a working musician, then applying yourself in all these areas is a great idea. The following are some tried and true methods to get the most out of your talent, all while having fun.
- Studio Work
Getting your name out as a reputable studio musician can take some hard work, but the benefits are many. Each project you are hired to work on will give you an opportunity to explore different genres, approaches, and mindsets in the song writing process. This can be an exciting challenge for many. Your ability to adapt and be open to many different styles is critical, and the more varied your playing can be, the better. All that being said, specializing in one particular area can allow you niche dominance, rather than competing for work in all sorts of different projects. Specialization can also allow you to raise your rates and increase your demand.
Teaching an instrument can be one of the most fun and rewarding components of your musical career. Seeing a passionate student develop their skills thanks to your guidance is a wonderful feeling, and also has a ripple-effect in strengthening your musical community. Numerous years of playing experience are not necessarily a must. Some of you may be ready to teach after 5 years, if you can efficiently pass on your knowledge. A musician of 5 years with great teaching skills is far more valuable than a musician of 10 years with poor communication skills. If you think you could be an effective instructor, I would absolutely recommend this route. As with studio work, getting your name out can take time, but once you gain a decent number of students each week, teaching an instrument can actually become one of your most profitable income streams as a musician.
- Bar Band
Being in a bar band is sometimes frowned upon by aspiring artists making original music, but the truth is that writing original music is just not for every musician out there. Bar bands will typically have a well rehearsed set-list of well known cover songs, drawing largely from the rock and pop genres. Once you manage to get into some well known bars, usually in a downtown setting, you can expect to play for far bigger crowds than most bands get with all-original songs. As long as you give a solid performance and select good songs, it does not take long to establish a relationship with a few key bars, and performance opportunities will begin surfacing every weekend. Keep at it for a few years and establish a name within your city, and you could potentially be making $1000 in a weekend. Even after this money is split between band members, it’s still a great way to add a couple hundred dollars to your monthly income. And loads of fun!
- Jingle Writing
This is the most difficult of these four suggestions, but can also be the most lucrative. One of the best parts about jingle writing is that it is an almost entirely passive source of income. Once the music is written, you simply sit back and collect royalty payments. If the product of business you have written for becomes extremely popular, you will most likely make even more money. In addition, the task of writing the music is rather small, however this can be a double-edged sword. Some musicians may have a difficult time thinking simplistically – and many jingles are only a few seconds long. The main detractor from this musical route is the extremely high competition. You will more than likely never become swamped with offers, and if the advertising campaign is unsuccessful, it may be discontinued, and your jungle will go unused. Once that happens, the royalties stop as well.
Hopefully you will put some thought into how to start earning some income for your hard work towards your instrument. Success as a musician is highly dependent on determination, as there is no fast method to gain status and demand in the music community. But if you can stick it out long enough, the work will become increasingly consistent, and you can reasonably expect to create a respectable living doing what you love.