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The 10 Best Day Jobs For Musicians

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We have all seen the jet-setting lifestyles of the world’s superstar musicians, but the reality for most musicians is that until stardom comes knocking on the green room door, you’re going to need a day job to support yourself.

The best jobs for musicians are flexible and allow them to rehearse and tour while providing a stable enough income to live off.

Musicians will also want to consider whether they prefer a job that allows them to use their musical skills or keep that world separate.

Here’s a list of the 10 best day jobs for musicians and some helpful tips on what jobs to avoid!

 

What To Look For In A Day Job As A Musician

Best Day Jobs For Musicians - Band

There are a few factors worth considering before you start applying for day jobs. First, consider your expertise and skills as a musician and what you’d be prepared to do.

A day job should be a good way to earn some money while not draining you and leaving you too exhausted to produce, play, practice, or rehearse.

It’s also worth considering if you want a day job that aligns with your skills as a musician at all.

In the list below, we’ll add a few stress-free non-music-related jobs that will leave you with plenty of creativity and energy for your music.

 

Flexible Working Hours

Look for a job that allows for a flexible schedule so that you can easily fit in time for rehearsals, writing music, local gigs, and touring.

If possible, try to find a day job with hours that can be easily adjusted, or perhaps you can work at any time of the day or night.

 

Stable Income

Another key consideration is finding a job that provides a stable enough income to survive and fulfill your lifestyle. This will differ for everyone, and some musicians also have dependents to consider too.

Find a job where you know how much you will be paid each week or month and make sure it fits with your lifestyle and budget.

Try to avoid taking short-term or temp jobs as you’ll spend a lot of time and energy constantly refocusing on job searching, and that takes time away from your music!

 

Skills And Experience

Consider what skills you can bring to the table when looking for a day job.

Musicians have a very diverse range of skills, from instrumental, technical, and live recording skills to a huge wealth of knowledge that can be shared as a teacher.

 

Factors To Avoid

There are plenty of jobs that are not ideal whilst maintaining your music-making and rehearsal commitments. You’ll want to avoid the following factors to allow time for your music career!

 

Avoid Mentally Or Physically Draining Jobs

Avoid jobs that leave you physically or mentally exhausted at the end of your workday.

While any job will require some level of “work,” jobs that drain your energy will make it harder for you to rehearse and be creative with your music-making.

Jobs that are stressful or mentally taxing can have a negative effect on your creativity and take time away from your lifestyle and time with friends and family.

 

Avoid Time Consuming Jobs

Any day job that demands a huge portion of your day will make it harder to maintain your musical ambitions on the side.

Avoid any jobs that involve excessively long days, significant overtime, or inflexible work schedules that may chew into or prevent you from enjoying your time committed to music-making and rehearsals.

Find a balance between your available time for working, your commitment to making and rehearsing music, and your commitment to your friends and family.

They’re your support network, and you’re going to need quality time with them too!

 

Jobs With A Long Commute

Try to find a job where you stay as local as possible and are not commuting huge hours each day or week.

Any job that sucks time away from your musical goals is going to make you want to throw in the towel on your music career or quit your day job straight away!

This also includes jobs where staying away from home for extended periods is necessary, as that’s not ideal for a practicing musician.

Musicians are usually spontaneous and creative individuals. Often, ideas come at the strangest times (2 am jam sessions), and that’s not easy to stay in the creative flow when you’re a thousand miles from your drum kit or music equipment!

 

The 10 Best Day Jobs For Musicians

This list of the best day jobs for musicians is ranked in no particular order.

 

1. Private Music Teacher

By far, one of the most flexible and appealing jobs for a musician is to become a private music teacher. This can also include hosting classes or webinars online to teach people musical skills and expertise.

Expected Earnings

This will vary considerably depending on your location, musical skill level, and experience with teaching. Most private music teachers will ask between $20-40 per hour for a one-to-one class.

This would include training a student on a particular instrument or singing classes or focusing on music theory.

If you are more focused on teaching electronic music, you could host webinars or private online classes and request a fee for each class.

Again, this will vary on your skill and expertise level, but a reasonable pay expectation would be between $10-30 per class.

Requirements

  • You’ll need the patience of a saint to be a music teacher of any kind. Whilst you may be highly skilled at playing an instrument or singing, you must also be able to teach all levels of students, from complete beginners to professionals looking to enhance their craft.
  • You’ll need the musical knowledge and teaching skills for each lesson.
  • Good communication skills.
  • You’ll also need a space at home or in a studio to teach or the right equipment (good microphone, video, and reliable internet connection) for engaging online classes.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • Private music teaching pays well and keeps you practicing your instruments while not making music for your own projects.
  • You can teach classes online, from home, or in the studio, which is also convenient.
  • You also have full control of your schedule and how many hours you teach. Just keep in mind that teaching, like any job, can be mentally taxing if you work too many hours.

How To Become A Private Music Teacher

The best way is to consider advertising your services. This could be a small advert in the local paper, a full advertising campaign online, or via social media. Advertising at schools is also a great tactic to get a few students.

Another way to get your services out there is to rely on word of mouth, and whenever you finish a gig, engage with the audience and offer classes.

If you’re considering hosting private music classes online, it’s worth connecting with chat groups and like-minded musicians and music lovers to spread the word.

Streaming services like Twitch offer a wealth of opportunities for teaching electronic music online.

 

2. Sound Technician / Audio Engineer

If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time touring or training to be a musician, you’ll likely have the skills and first-hand expertise to be a sound technician.

Your ears will already be trained for live music, and transferring these skills into a day job is a great way to keep improving as a musician whilst earning a few bucks on the side.

Expected Earnings

Depending on your skills, experience, and qualifications:

  • Sound Technicians can expect around $15-40 per hour.
  • Instrument Technicians can expect between $10-25 per hour.
  • Audio Engineers can expect between $15-30 per hour as aids in a studio. If you own your own studio and equipment, then rates will be much more favorable!

Requirements

  • You’ll need experience in whatever field of music you choose.
  • You’ll need a good ear for live sound or experience setting up and transporting instruments and equipment for gigs.
  • If you’re going down the audio engineer path, you may also need some additional training and skills such as audio mixing, using a sound desk, editing equipment and programs, and mastering skills.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • It keeps you connected with your local scene and fellow musicians whilst giving you a financial boost.
  • You’ll refine your existing skills as a professional musician and expand your knowledge on different equipment and setups for various gigs and live shows.
  • You’ll also absorb new skills and techniques and be working within various musical fields and genres.

How To Become a Sound Technician / Audio Engineer

Get in touch with your local music venues, record labels, recording studios, bars, or music promoters and ask if there’s a position available.

You can also study music production and sound engineering at various schools and universities around the world.

 

3. Freelance Writer Or Blogger

Freelance Writing is a great way for musicians to expand their existing knowledge base whilst providing information to the masses about musically related topics!

You could also go down the blogging route, but this takes longer to return a profit and is a long-term plan.

Expected Earnings

Freelancers with reasonable writing experience and musical knowledge could expect around $50-100 for a well-written and informative article depending on the word count and research needed.

Technical writers and writers for education or instructional manuals can expect more.

There’s also the opportunity of written endorsements for products and reviews that can provide some nice perks, such as free equipment trials.

Requirements

  • Great writing skills.
  • Great researching skills.
  • A good internet connection and a laptop will get you started as a freelance writer. However, if you’re serious about writing as a day job, you’ll want to invest in a good chair and equipment to improve your posture while writing for longer periods.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why do it

  • Writing about music-related topics, products, services, and other artists and musicians is a great way to keep on top of the music world, both locally and internationally.
  • It can pay reasonably well and requires a small amount of kit to get started (laptop and internet connection).
  • Without the right posture and equipment for writing, you may become physically fatigued and get RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) in your hands, back, or shoulders which is also an issue for practicing musicians.

How To Become A Freelance Writer Or Blogger

If you’re looking to write freelance, there are plenty of online job boards with freelance writing jobs available.

For bloggers, create a roadmap and content plan and begin to develop your skills of getting pen to paper.

The best and only way to create regular and engaging written content is to write regularly and update your blog as often as you can.

 

4. Music Store Clerk

Selling music and music-related products can be a dream job for musicians.

It provides access to all the freshest gear, plus you’ll likely have access to the latest music releases first. Then, of course, is the perks of receiving employee discounts on equipment and products!

Expected Earnings

Shop clerks can expect around $10-15 per hour, and more experienced clerks in managerial roles can expect around $15-25 per hour.

Requirements

  • You’ll need to be confident with your music knowledge, and selling experience would help.
  • You’ll need to stay up to date on the latest musical gadgets and techniques and be able to provide customer support for a range of different instruments.
  • You’ll also need to be a good communicator and able to motivate those budding musicians out there to buy!

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • Having access to all the latest instruments and equipment is hugely appealing to musicians.
  • You may also receive special offers and discounts from your store, which helps you build your own kit.
  • As a music shop clerk, you’ll also build on your knowledge of music and instruments, and best of all, you’ll be surrounded by the newest sounds and albums by the hottest artists!
  • Being in sales isn’t for everyone, and it will come down to your personality type.

How To Become A Music Store Clerk

Visit your local record stores and music shops and get to know the team that works there.

Make sure you show interest in working with them and keep applying and visiting the stores regularly so when a position becomes available, you’re the first name on their list!

 

5. YouTuber / Vlogger

Being a YouTuber or Vlogger is a great day job for musicians.

It’s a win-win job situation where you can promote your own music whilst learning the skills of effectively marketing and producing quality content for an audience online.

Expected Earnings

There are a few different ways to earn a living as a YouTuber or Vlogger.

  • Ad revenue is between $3-5 per 1,000 video views on YouTube
  • YouTubers can connect with a wealth of affiliate links to receive revenue from endorsed sales from their videos and channels.
  • Donations through channels are also becoming popular when hosting special online events.
  • Sponsorship is also an option for more established YouTubers and can be quite lucrative with payments for products and services. Sponsors will often supply new products for established Youtube channels to review.

Requirements

  • You’ll need to be confident in front of the camera alongside razor-sharp video making and editing skills.
  • You’ll need a good computer, internet connection, plus good quality audio and video recording equipment.
  • You’ll also need to be a good writer and script builder, creating engaging content that appeals to the masses.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • Many musicians start out making YouTube videos of their own music, and their career grows from there.
  • It can take some time to receive a stable income from being a YouTuber, but once established, it is a reliable source of earning money online!
  • Making creative and engaging content will support your career as a musician and provide you with experience in online marketing and strategies.

How To Become A YouTuber / Vlogger

Much the same as freelance writing, you’ll need to develop a good content plan and map out at least 20-30 videos.

Then you’ll need to develop engaging content for each video, all the while improving your video production and editing skills.

 

6. Music Composer / Arranger

Being a freelance music composer or arranger goes hand in hand with being a professional musician. It helps boost your creative skills whilst giving you experience in a wide range of musical genres.

Expected Earnings

You can expect to start earning money slowly as a music composer or arranger, perhaps taking on projects on a freelance basis.

Depending on the project complexity and length, you can expect to earn anywhere from $10-20 per hour, up to $100-200 per hour for more experienced and sought-after composers working in film and commercial productions.

Requirements

  • You’ll need to be highly experienced with a range of music theory and instruments, and you’ll need a vast range of music-making and arranging tools.
  • You’ll also need the right software and editing equipment to compose and arrange music alongside a powerful computer and soundcard to get your music up to commercial quality.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • You’ll also need a dedicated studio and listening environment and enough space to house the various instruments for composing and recording.
  • Initially expensive investment for software and equipment.
  • Once you’re established and have the right equipment, you’ll be experiencing all aspects of composing and arrangement techniques that will provide you with an excellent skills base for helping your own musical goals as an artist.

How To Become A Music Composer / Arranger

Your best starting with a small portfolio of work online that you can direct prospective clients to.

Be sure to get in touch with local media and production houses and put your name out there with the people in the industry too.

Another great way to get into the market is by creating scores or working for fellow musicians, videographers, or even Vloggers. After all, there’s a ton of creative content out there that needs a soundtrack!

 

7. Record Label Assistant

Working for a record label is a great way to learn all of the business-related aspects of the music industry. It will provide you with a wealth of experience in music recording, distribution, and marketing techniques.

Expected Earnings

Depending on your role and seniority in a record label, your earnings can vary considerably.

If you’re starting out as an intern, you can expect a minimum wage of around $8-15 an hour. However, if you stick with it and become more skilled and take on more senior roles, you can expect a reasonable paycheck at the end of each month!

Requirements

  • Music industry experience is a must.
  • You’ll also need extensive experience in recording and editing equipment.
  • If you’re more focused on the marketing and promotion side of the record label, you’ll need good communication skills alongside a range of marketing and sales skills.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • Working for a record label can be hugely rewarding and offers the first-hand experience of working in the business side of the music industry.
  • It can, however, be quite taxing on your time, so you’ll need to find a balance that fits with your own family and musical commitments.
  • Depending on your role at the record label, the workload can be quite flexible and allow you to work at any time that suits you.

How To Become A Record Label Assistant

Get in touch with all of your local record labels and promoters and see if they have any entry-level positions available. In this industry, you’ll have to work your way to the top, so expect some hard work ahead of you!

Don’t be afraid of rejection, and keep in contact with the record labels as much as possible so when a position becomes available, you’re the top contender and seen as being keen to work and learn about the industry!

 

8. Virtual Assistant / Administrator

If you’re looking for a flexible job that is non-music related, working as a virtual assistant or in administration jobs is a great fit.

Working online gives you the flexibility of working across any timezone and from anywhere with a stable internet connection and a laptop.

Expected Salary / Earnings

Depending on your skills and experience, you can expect to earn between $8-20 per hour.

Requirements

  • You’ll need excellent communication and organization skills.
  • Good knowledge of office-based tools and programs.
  • A good computer and internet connection.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • These types of jobs are often not labor-intensive and arent taxing on you physically, allowing you more time and energy to focus on creating music and rehearsals.
  • Online assistant roles allow for a flexible work schedule.
  • Whilst many tasks may be repetitive and often boring, they free up creative and mental energy for you to create music!

How To Become A Virtual Assistant/Administrator

There are many websites offering online jobs for a wide variety of administration jobs or virtual assistant positions. Signing up is easy, and then typically, you apply directly for each job of interest.

 

9. Uber Driver / Delivery Driver

Being an Uber driver allows for flexibility of the hours you work and also keeps you local to your area.

Expected Earnings

Uber drivers earn between $9-15 per hour.

Requirements

  • You’ll need a new model car that is reliable and able to take 4 passengers.
  • You’ll need to keep the car in good condition and clean.
  • You’ll need a smartphone and GPS for your car and Uber transactions.
  • Good communication skills are also a plus.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why Do It

  • You’ll have ultimate flexibility to work when you want.
  • The job is not mentally or physically demanding.

How To Become A Uber Driver

Contact Uber or your preferred car-sharing company and make an application directly. They all have different criteria and conditions to consider, so be sure to check first and be prepared!

 

10. Teach English Online

This job is great for native English speakers and is flexible with the hours you work.

As it’s online, you can also work from anywhere with a good internet connection meaning you can take your work on the road with you when touring.

Expected Earnings

Expect between $12-25 per hour for online teaching, depending on your experience and the company.

Requirements

  • You’ll need an excellent grasp of English.
  • Good communication and teaching skills.
  • A good internet connection and a laptop with a good camera and audio.
  • Some companies require a qualification such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.

Pros/Cons/Benefits/Why do it

  • Teaching English online is an easy way to earn money on the side of your music schedule. It allows for flexible working hours and pays reasonably well per hour.
  • Best of all, the job is not too taxing and will give you plenty of energy spare for creating music and attending rehearsals.
  • One of the biggest advantages is you can do it anywhere!

 

Summary

Many of the jobs listed above will help promote the skills and work ethic you’ll need to propel your music career to great heights.

They’ll give you flexible working hours, a good level of security financially, and, more importantly, allow you the time and energy to channel your creativity into your musical endeavors.

 

Matt's the guy behind Audio Captain. He's a qualified sound engineer and self-confessed music nut who's passionate about electronic dance music. When he's not writing about all things audio, you'll find him in the gym or working on his next EDM track.

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