Let’s be honest! It’s not easy to make a living as a musician. Music is one of those things that large amounts of people believe that they do well and because of that, there are amateurs who are competing against professionals for the available music jobs.
Here’s the good news: The reason that so many musicians aren’t making a sustainable living is because they aren’t aware of the many opportunities available for a musician. Let’s look at a few:
Recording: Do you have a talent for using recording technology? The equipment to record is cheap for the amateur but very few can really do it well. Hone your skills, take some workshops, and build some experience and this could be a great living.
Critic: Newspapers, blogs, and other media outlets are looking for critics to go to concerts and write reviews of the newest musical acts. If you have a love of music along with exceptional writing skills, this could be a job for you.
Repair: If you’re good with your hands, musical instrument repair technicians are always needed and this job transcends all music. Guitars, keyboards, amps, trumpets, and drums all break and for the hundreds of thousands of small children who play instruments and take music lessons but haven’t learned to properly take care of them, repair technicians always have work.
Performer: This is a challenging career path because it’s an area where the amateurs are competing against the professionals. This also serves to drive down the price that a professional musician can make. Most recommend having these skills and doing it alongside of something with a more sustainable income source.
Publisher: With the amount of music being written thanks to easy to use software, publishers are busier than ever before. Publishers need sales professionals, executives, and other business minded people who can keep the low margin publishing houses maximizing profits. And online publishing is a huge and growing field as well, offering blogs such as Piano Chords & Chord Progressions which offers piano lessons online.
Copyists/orchestrators: Are you in the vicinity of studios that produce television and movie productions? Often, this music needs copyists and orchestrators to rapidly prepare music for studio musicians to perform and record. Because this often happens in a matter of hours, you have to be able to work on sort deadlines and in a high stress environment but most report that the job is exhilarating.
Education: If you enjoy working with young people, probably the most consistent and sustainable living is to be a public school music educator. While the number of jobs in this field fluctuate, as most know, government jobs are some of the most stable and a public school pays a good wage while also offering great benefits. Private teachers too often make a good living giving piano lessons and other types of musical instruction.