Money, money, money

Would you like to be the subject of a future practice clinic? Contact us with any practice problems and we’d be happy to help.

No, not an Abba song but a question submitted to the Practice Clinic by a young and enthusiastic musician:

Can you tell me how to earn money as a musician?

Our reply:

Wow, you’re very keen and obviously committed to a career as a musician. That’s fantastic to hear and you should certainly go for it if that’s what you want.

There are two sides to the question you have raised. Firstly how to actually make money which we’ll cover later. Secondly how money relates to music practice.

One of the first things I recommend to any musician is that you should enjoy your practice. If you don’t enjoy it you will find it more difficult to improve. If you are practising purely for financial reasons you may well find that you lose the enjoyment. Not an idea situation.

From a practice perspective you should try to find other dreams and aspirations for yourself. If you are lucky you might find yourself as one of those musicians for whom money comes as a result of that.

On the issue of how to actually make money I think more musicians need to take a broader view. Far too many musicians see the only way of making a living in the profession as playing an instrument. Whilst this is possible there is fierce competition and ‘making it’ is not always down to ability – there is a fair amount of luck involved.

Think about this for a second. Less than 1% of people who play a musical instrument make a living purely from playing. Under 1%!!! Not great odds in my opinion.

Instead try to think of all the other music related activities you can do in addition to your playing:

  • Teaching, composing, arranging, transcriptions, studio engineer, sound engineer, artist management, art management, orchestral manager, promoter, A&R, instrument retail, online, software . . .

The list of ways in music in which you can earn a living in the music business is enormous. Playing is just one of them.

I would suggest that you pick one or two, as well as your playing to focus on. That way if you don’t have the break that you need to make it as a player you will still earn money as a musician.

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