How to make a living from Music?
Anyone got any advice on how to make a decent enough living out of a career in music? I presume that teaching is the first place to start, but what other avenues are open to musicians and how do you go about starting out in them?
How do you go about writing / producing music for commercial use? I.e. TV, Radio and Film. And then how do you get someone to pay you to do it?
This is not something I knwo too much about but here are some suggestions.
I teach the guitar for a living. It took nearly one year to be earning enough to make a living just from teaching so some other source of income might be necessary initially. I was lucky as I am a nurse and could work pretty much when I wanted gradua;;y reducing my hours as the lessons picked up. I advertised a fair bit but also wrote directly to potential customers i.e all the local schools and colleges. From over 100 contacts I got four jobs.
I'm also looking to do showcase / workshop / seminar type work in schools in the near future. Again, I'll write to them all explaining what I can offer.
Getting gigs as a solo / duo / band can be slow at first unless signed with an agency. Most find it more gratifying doing their own material but of course it's much harder to make an impact and reasonable earnings. Covers done well will earn you good money eventually. Agencies take a cut of your earnings of course and I think most of us have nightmare stories to tell from agency experience. I'm not saying don't use them but be careful and double check anything you sign.
Writing and producing and marketing I have no idea about. The greatest resource though is probably the musicians union. Anyone serious about making a living from music should join as soon as they are able.
Hope this has been of some help.
Good luck with it all.
Thanks Richard, it is definately a help.
Could I ask you whether you mainly teach privately, or in the schools and colleges you mention? Also, when you said you got 4 jobs from a 100 letters, again were you referring to teaching posts in schools? If so, did you send out 100 letters to 100 different schools? Or send repeat letters over a period of time? I can't imagine there would be 100 schools within a reasonable commuting distance?!
How does it work with regards to teaching in schools? Are you hired as a 'private tutor' which the kids can go to in there lunch hour or something? Does the school pay you?
Thanks for the help.
I do teach privately. I also work in 3 primary schools though as self employed so I invoice them regularly. I run a lunch time and 2 after school sessions each 30 minutes long. I also do 3 evening courses at a local 6th form college. These are 2 hours long and they employ me and pay me a salary.
I sent out 100 letters to 100 schools. This included nursery, primary and secondary. There are 101 schools in the city and another 160 I think in the county. They will all receive letters when my seminar / showcase plans are complete.
The above jobs I got through writing to schools. There is still some interest from other schools and I'm expecting more work to come from it.
I charge Â£20 / hr for individuals
Each child pays Â£3 for their school group.
Hope this answers your queries.
Thanks for the help. You've given me some ideas.
Good luck with it all.