Making it as an artist is difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get work as a musician. There are a handful of jobs that involve playing music and offer a steady paycheck and an opportunity to hone the craft.
Here are five jobs for every musician.
1. Write music for local business advertisements.
Writing jingles for commercials isn’t an easy gig to get, but once a musician has a few jobs under his or her belt, the new ones keep coming. Most commercials have background music now anyway, and that’s not too difficult to create once an artist gets the hang of it.
2. Teach music at a school in your community.
Teaching is a noble profession that’s infinitely rewarding. Whether privately or in schools, there are always opportunities for skilled musicians to teach. The hours are generally flexible and not too demanding, leaving plenty of time to work on personal projects.
3. Perform on soundtracks.
Performing on soundtracks for movies or video games is typically reserved for experienced musicians from symphony orchestras, but it’s worth giving a shot. If this sounds enticing, it’s recommended to hire an agent to do the searching. There are plenty of opportunities, but they aren’t easy to look for.
4. Become a resident musician.
There are tons of venues looking to fill spots, and they’re not all that one might expect. Nordstrom hires pianists, coffee shops hire people with guitars and keyboards, and several music venues look for people to regularly open. For the performer, this is a perfect way to get exposure while getting some steady income.
5. Compose soundtracks for student films.
While it seems like a lofty goal, the writer can always find work with indie or student films. It’s important to stay motivated because the projects can often take several months to complete. It’s worth trying, though. Being a successful composer has huge financial benefits.
It takes time to make it in the music industry, and it’s certainly beneficial to find a job that keeps food on the table and allows you to hone your skills.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s bumping music from his car stereo.