People choose to learn the guitar for many different reasons. It’s entirely valid to want nothing more than to strum a few chords at the end of the day, to relieve stress and learn your favorite songs. However, it’s only natural for some people to want something more out of it, given the time invested.
Whether your goal is to become a full-time professional, or just to boost your income in your free time, we at Last Minute Musicians know a thing or two about how to make money as a professional guitar player. In this blog, we’ll list some great ways to get your music career off the ground, and a few job roles to aspire to and research.
Possibly the simplest way to monetize your instrument is by teaching it, and you’ll often find that a lot of people in your area are looking for a guitar teacher. While traditional methods such as advertising in local shops or magazines are still reasonably effective, advertising online and on Facebook (or other social media sites) often yields much better results. Introductory offers for new students and a thorough course (such as those provided by Rockschool or RGT) will also help pick up and retain students. In order to teach children, you will require a DBS background check.
Playing acoustic gigs
Many restaurants, pubs and bars are always on the look out for acoustic acts to play. These sorts of shows can vary wildly in ambience – sometimes you might be playing in the background, to contribute to the atmosphere for dinners, or sometimes you might be asked to take more focus in performing. You’ll typically need at least two sets of material, each about 45 minutes in length.
If you’re looking for gigs as a guitar player, consider becoming one of the guitarists for hire on the Last Minute Musicians directory.
Playing in a function band
Playing at weddings, functions and corporate events is a great way to earn extra money. While it requires dedication, rehearsal and a big time commitment, it can be a regular source of income. If you’re looking to join a function band, a great way to prepare is by learning some of the classic function band material. You can get a complete repertoire list from the website of a local wedding band, but hits like “Mr Brightside” by The Killers, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder are a great place to start. You can then keep an eye on Facebook groups like Dep Musicians in the UK or UK Musicians for gigs for available vacancies.
Writing and releasing songs
While it is by no means an easy path, writing, recording and releasing an album is still a viable way to make money from music for those who look to be more creative with their guitar playing. While it will require some upfront investment in terms of the recording, mixing and mastering, many independent artists sell their album via CD’s at shows, open mic nights and online using distributors like Ditto Music. Once you have a single, EP or album made, it can be a source of income for years to come if correctly promoted.
In order to work as a session guitarist, you’ll have to be very versatile on your instrument and be flexible enough to work in virtually any style. When people think about session musicians, the first thing to come to mind is often the incredible bands that back the likes of Justin Timberblake or Bruno Mars, but session musicians also work at a much more local level.
Various singer songwriters will be recording in studios up and down the country, and will often require the services of other musicians, for instruments or parts that they cannot play. To get work as a session musician, it’s important to get out and about in your local music scene and meet local producers and recording engineers. Being a multi-instrumentalist will also help you secure jobs.
From everyone at the Last Minute Musicians entertainment directory, we wish you best of luck with your career as a professional guitar player!