- 01. Play in a Group and Perform in Small Venues: Interpret and Compose
- 02. The Most Obvious: Become a Guitar Teacher
- 03. Look for Jobs as a Session Guitarist.
- 04. Be a Guitarist for Village Parties or Cultural Events.
- 05. Earn a Living by Performing for Birthdays and Weddings
- 06. Playing in the Metro: A Guitarist's Guide to Busking.
- 07. Becoming a Professional Musician on YouTube. It Doesn't Only Happen to Others!
- 08. Playing Guitar on a Television Show.
- 09. The Professions That a Guitarist Can Exercise are Wide and Varied
You can play the guitar pretty well - or maybe even very well. You have a good grasp of the fretboard and all your mates are dead impressed by solos. Maybe it's time to think about making a living from your instrument. It's a nice life - getting paid for doing what you love!
So, let's take a look at some of the job opportunities you have available if you are passionate about the guitar.
Play in a Group and Perform in Small Venues: Interpret and Compose
If you can strum some chords into a nice riff (more than just a G chord and an A chord though) and that you're good at it, it's probably because you like music – maybe you already give guitar lessons at home or online guitar lessons for kids.
Many musicians play the songs of others, like these youngsters who play in their garage with friends on weekends (does that speak to you?). And if you play another musical instrument, let it be known, maybe you can add a violin, mandolin, banjo, percussion or ukulele solo during a song.
After a certain time, performers decide to compose their own melodies and songs, the opportunity to let the deepest emotions express themselves through the guitar, by rippling riffs or tearful solos. So, if you know how to play the guitar, you can become a composer! Why not be the lead guitarist of a band? Tune your guitar and go for it!
Recording Your Album at Home.
Thanks to the Internet, almost anyone can make their album.
To do this, just start by building a crowdfunding campaign (Ulule or My Major Company for example). Your album will become a communication tool that you can listen to while pub-crawling when you propose to play in the evening! With this tool, you can also get to know the producers, and - who knows? - maybe sign a label! Consider the viral potential of a good sound, it can propel you in the spotlight in a few weeks if the web likes you.
This is the story that the 3 friends of LEJ (Lucie, Elise and Juliette) are currently experiencing, enjoying to cover successful songs. On YouTube, they account for nearly 560,000 fans! The result is that they signed with the former producer of Diam's, Tefa, they have many concerts scheduled and an album underway. The American dream just inside your computer!
But first, you have to get rid of these misconceptions and preconceived notions about playing the guitar...
The Most Obvious: Become a Guitar Teacher
To become a guitar teacher several solutions are available to you:
- Teach in a music school by giving guitar lessons.
- Teach at the conservatory.
- Teach the guitar on the internet by creating your website and YouTube videos or give online guitar lessons.
- Teach the guitar by giving private guitar lessons (like on Superprof!) - at your place or theirs.
Taking the Formal Route to Guitar Teaching.
If you want to pursue serious career opportunities in the guitar, it would be wise to have both a teaching certificate and musical qualification. The latter can be gained by either doing music grades, or by studying music at degree level.
A teaching certificate would show that you have the skills required to be a successful teacher. This would be required probably by job openings in the first two options above. Any official institution would like to see official qualifications. But it's worth the extra work - because you'll have consistent work and a more prestigious job title.
Rest assured, you can be a good guitar teacher without having the qualification - because the most important elements remain passion and taste for teaching!
There are many beginner and amateur students who are interested in guitar lessons (guitar lessons in new-york, guitar lessons in boston). Maybe start by giving guitar lessons for beginners to see if you have the right attitude.
Diplomas are important, but experience is just as much - so don't forget to highlight all the events in which you have participated and anything else that can build your profile as a guitarist.
Finally, keep in mind that the right feeling is crucial, if you don't like human contact and you lack patience, go to the next section below! Guitar lessons must remain a pleasure.
There's a whole world of finger-picking, harmonics, frets, licks, tabs, strumming, dreadnoughts and pickups that beginner guitarists are eager to learn about.
To say nothing of all of the benefits playing the guitar can bring you...
Look for Jobs as a Session Guitarist.
A session guitarist is a guitarist who, although they may not have a big name, can be heard on all sorts of recordings and performances with other bands.
Take Guthrie Govan, for example. Whilst his preferred style of music is a little niche, he was hired by Dizzee Rascal to play festivals across the world on his tour. And whilst Govan managed particularly well, this is a common route for many serious musicians to follow.
The easiest path to doing this is by going to music school. Here, you won't only develop your musical skills, but most courses also offer industry training and advice on how to succeed.
It's the sort of job that is largely based on a network - meaning that you need to know the right people to get the good gigs. Music school is a great way to do exactly this.
Be a Guitarist for Village Parties or Cultural Events.
Although your name probably won't go down in history as one of the greatest guitarists in the world, a nice gig can be performing at community events. This can be anything from village fetes to neighbourhood parties - and, even if you don't make the big bucks from doing this, exposure never hurt anyone.
Exposure brings further employment opportunities. And, for all jobs that pay better, you're not going to want to show that you have no experience. These sorts of gigs are a great way to put yourself above all the other job seekers.
If you know how to play the guitar with one hand and play the electric guitar, you can even get into a more "crazy" metal band.
Earn a Living by Performing for Birthdays and Weddings
When you want to live off your passion, don't count hours of prospecting!
If you want to offer your services as a guitarist for a birthday or a wedding, you'll need a reputation. Word of mouth is a great way to showcase your talents, enjoy every opportunity to play a small piece of guitar and keep business cards around.
And, honestly, these sort of gigs are great - as usually everyone is in high spirits and they are going to like what you are doing. As soon as that happens, you're in for a winner.
Don't hesitate either to offer your services to the town hall, and place advertisements in the city's newspaper. Bring your favorite Gibson, Les Paul, Fender, Mahogany or Ibanez along and show them what you can do!
Sometimes it happens that individuals fall under the spell of a guitarist or a music group in the street and offer him to play for a birthday. See below for more info on busking!
To do this, go see the bars and restaurants nearby, they may want to organize a special evening to mark the occasion! Of course, don't forget the web. If paper ads can reach a certain audience, many potential customers rush to Google to do their initial searches. Here are 3 tips to apply to boost your exposure:
- Create your own website to introduce yourself and get users to view some services by working on SEO.
- Update your YouTube channel to present your directory and to be easily broadcasted on social networks.
- Register on music directories. Try The Unsigned Guide, Last Minute Musicians, or the Music Producers Guild. On these sites, you'll find job listings and job postings, and you'll be able to search jobs that you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. A nice database through which to do a jobs search is key for any freelancer - as you want access to a diverse range of current job openings.
You may even host a series of informative videos about the origins of the guitar...
Playing in the Metro: A Guitarist's Guide to Busking.
Certainly the subway isn't a place of dreams. Yet, when you think of the thousands of people who could pass before you, playing your finest compositions, think about it twice!
You can take your guitar bag and a hat, and go sit around on any platform or in your favorite corridor with your acoustic guitar. However, without the proper application, you risk getting moved along.
Different places have different ways of applying - and different laws regarding what you can and can't do: at what times, how loud, and in what specific locations. It's worth checking out these things in your area before you take your guitar out.
Don't hesitate to propose albums for sale, a musical favorite (and more!) is possible. You can also come with a small amplifier for you electric guitar if you have the right authorization.
People do find all sorts of different gigs when they have started playing by busking. When someone important notices, you may start seeing the job offers rolling in.
Becoming a Professional Musician on YouTube. It Doesn't Only Happen to Others!
The job of a YouTuber isn't reserved for comedians. We also find Youtube channels on beauty, fashion, love coaches and many others who receive a nice salary at the end of the month through advertising.
Yeah, YouTube has not missed out on the juicy potential of successful videos. But whilst this option doesn't come with a cushty benefits package, you can make a killing.
Here is the video of Matt Rach, the most followed Youtube guitarist:
By hosting ads a few seconds before the viewing of your favorite videos, the biggest video site on the web agrees to give some crumbs to his small foals. Thus, you can offer guitar lessons online without leaving your home and without having to put away the space that is outside the camera field.
You can potentially make $10 per a thousand views. This doesn't sound like much, admittedly. But when you have plenty of videos up, this can put you in a tidy salary range.
Isn't life beautiful? If you meet success online, you need to declare this to the tax office, like anyone engaged in remote work would do! This is an online job after all!
Playing Guitar on a Television Show.
Like the session musicians above, you can find yourself as a regular musician on a TV show. This is a good employment opportunity - as it usually pays pretty well and it helps you to get further new jobs.
There are two options for this. You can either work for a show like Jools Holland or chat shows that have a permanent band of session musicians. You'll play alongside a group of excellent musicians once a week when recording for the show.
Otherwise, you can sell your compositions to companies that may use them for adverts or as the soundtrack for TV series. Either way, this can be an excellent gig.
Who would have thought that a reality show could get you to have a good career in music?
The Professions That a Guitarist Can Exercise are Wide and Varied
There are finally more jobs accessible than you think when you know how to play the guitar!
Everything is about personality and personal motivation. Some will prefer the calm of a classroom to teach how to play the guitar while others will access the larger auditoriums or play flamenco all night long.
Well, let's be honest, there is also a little bit of string pulled and contact that comes into play, but with talent you can do everything. Want to become a professional guitarist? Go ahead!
Our final advice would be that, if you are serious about being a musician for a living, always keep up your search for jobs. Use job boards and job sites, go to job fairs, send off endless job applications - and nail those communication skills so that you can build a big network of people who might offer you work.
These days, looking for employment can be a full time job! But get your cover letter and resume nice and tidy, keep up that job application, and you'll be working nice jobs at places you've dreamed about in no time!
Now discover how science gets behind guitar playing to affirm why guitar playing is good!
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