There is nothing quite as satisfying as the idea of living off your passion for playing music, and being able to solely focus on what it is that drives you in life is a dream worth pursuing. On the other hand, making enough to pay your bills, eat, and have a roof over your head is hard to do without a job, while a full time occupation during the day can take away time from your real career dream: playing music.
Musician picture from Shutterstock
Think of all your favourite musicians, and even though it might seem as though they've always been in the position they're in, they've had to start somewhere. What you'll notice most of them say is they reached a point where putting music on the back burner wasn't an option, and they had to scrounge around to find ways to make money doing what they love. Keep this in mind before you start considering a different career path, and try these creative ways to make money by doing what you do best.
Share Your Knowledge
The internet has opened up numerous opportunities for people to be able to advertise anything, and more people than ever are working for themselves from home. A great way for musicians to make some extra cash is by teaching their craft to others. Offer a drum lesson online or put a flier up in a music store advertising your skills, and you might be surprised how many people start calling you up. If you start getting regular clients, teaching alone might bring in enough money to secure your financial independence as well as allow ample time to work on your own musical project.
Approach Businesses About Live Music
To really make it big in any industry, it takes initiative and courage. You have to put yourself out there in order to make any progress, and a series of rejections should never crush your ambition. That being said, a very lucrative way to make money as a musician is by approaching businesses whose clientele might appreciate some background music. Places such as restaurants, hotel lobbies, coffee houses, or shopping centres might be open to you playing occasionally on evenings and weekends. It's important to be direct and assertive in your pitch, and try to convey the idea that you're the one helping their business out instead of the other way around. Many businesses have never had live music or even thought about it, and they might be excited about trying out the opportunity and seeing how it affects their company.
Offer Your Services For Events
Again, advertise your services anyway you can, and let people know that you're available for many gigs. Weddings, dances, public events, or any other celebration or event that might benefit from having some music accompany it are great ways to earn money using your talent. To really make playing gigs lucrative, it's best to be as open minded as possible. It might not be your desired style or audience, but gaining a solid reputation and quality references will help open the doors to other opportunities.
Start 'Busking' Online
Busking is a deep part of musical culture; there is something about playing for anyone who walks by that comes close to defining what true passion really is. Not only that, but many people are willing to throw down a little bit of cash to the musician in exchange for the live performance. More and more musicians are starting to use a similar approach online, and doing so can be extremely worthwhile. Set up a website dedicated to your art, make videos of your performances or post recorded tracks online, and include a donation option off to the side. That way, for people who come across your site and hear your tunes, they can help support your career by making a donation. It's all about your ability to relate to people; make your site personal, motivated, and honest, and more people will be apt to want to help you along.
Many musicians attest to the fact that in order to make money doing what you love, you first have to diversify your source of income and work on a few things at once. Flexibility is the key to making any progress in the music industry, and it's important to realise that anyone who has been successful had to work out the initial kinks as well. Be proud of your decision to keep hunting down your goal because in a world where many dreams are shoved under the rug in order to pursue more practical means of living, it's refreshing to see that there are still people willing to do whatever it takes to make life work for them. Try to keep that in mind when things might seem tough, and remember that you're not a struggling musician, you're a surviving one.
Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who loves helping people prepare for the unexpected turns life can take. She currently writes about income protection insurance for Suncorp.