Can you really make a living out of being a musician? Let’s face it we’re not all going to be rock stars so what are the options? When you start to investigate the music industry you will discover that there is a wealth of information out there on a whole range of careers.
Of course you can still perform music and make money even if you’re not a rock star! There are many venues that are looking for live music entertainment. In fact the live sector has grown more than any other area of the music industry in recent years. You could play in a cover band at local venues and as you build up a reputation you may find you are able to scale it up. Themed bands are also very popular so you may decide to start a tribute band! You could even sign up with an entertainment agent. Some of these acts command over £1000 per gig! If you’re not too comfortable up on stage then you could also set yourself up as a session musicians performing for recordings by other artists.
If you are not a performer then you could look at careers in recording. Music producers and sound engineers still hold very creative role.. A great place to start is to set up a home studio to learn the skills on your own. Alternatively there are many courses you can enrol on to learn the ins and outs of music production. Often music producers are the creative force behind successful artists and their careers tend to have more longevity than the artists themselves!
Some musicians also decide to go into teaching music. You can teach music privately one to one or you could decide to teach in schools/colleges. Many of them offer one to one music lessons as supplementary activities. You should be able to demand around £25 an hour for teaching music. You may decide to do a teaching qualification which will mean you could teach on full time courses in schools and colleges. This has the added benefit of regular income and is seen as a ‘real job’.
You may decide to look at a broader career that makes use of your talent. For example some musicians go into radio broadcast or become engineers for broadcast studios. Many of the skills musicians hold are transferable to related industries.
You may have ambitions to become a rock star but you can still have an enjoyable career creating and performing music. The key to being successful in today’s music industry is contacts. You have to be really persistent and make contacts wherever possible. The old saying ‘it’s who you know not what you know’ really stacks up in the music industry. Keep knocking on doors and build up a body of work that showcases your talent. After all that is what you will be judged on.
It is also a good idea to brush up on your business skills. Many of the careers discussed are self employed so you will need to have an idea of how to take care of your business responsibilities. As you can see there are lots of options to investigate. If you are serious about making a living in music then it is very achievable.
About the Author:
Sam Chapman is MD of entertainment agency Music Live UK. For a great wedding band or function band visit Music Live UK.
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