The List

I’m sure you have thought of – or done – many of these things on this list already. But I’m just compiling everything I can think of, that either I have done or my musical friends have done or seen done, to earn part time income in some aspect related to music. I will leave comments open on bottom; please join in the discussion. Strange & unique ideas welcome! I have certainly done my share of that in music; most notably – performing singing telegrams in the middle of a weekday at a fancy corporate office. Nothing like walking into corporate XYZ company fully costumed like vintage movie star!

  1. LIVE LOCAL SHOWS – this is a no-brainer; but of course, it’s a huge one. I’ve played for tips only, up to a very nice sized paycheck for a musical event. Most of the shows I have played have paid somewhere in between.  If you aren’t currently playing yet, or have taken a big break (like I have done in my life at times); just start back at open mics / showcases. If you have friends that play out, see if you can get an invite to come up and sing a tune with the band. Have “that song” down pat and ready to go!  Get your set list together – originals, covers, combination……start memorizing as much as you can.  Tips will be fine in the beginning; it’s the practice & experience that counts. Bring a way for people to sign up to your mailing list during this time, because as you will learn – your mailing list is crucial.  Research what other solo (duo/trio/bands) are playing in your area, go check out their live shows. Not only is a good local music community support; it also shows you how long their sets are, what type of music/genres are played (originals/covers/mix?), the stage setup, the sound system (of if you will need to bring your own), what kind of crowd shows up, etc. When you feel you can compare, in your own right, to the acts you have seen in a particular place, you can approach the person responsible for booking. Make sure your demo is put together well, all contact information accurate/current, and that the music you give them is truly representative of what you can bring to their establishment. As you get to authentically get to know people in the music community, you will start hearing about how much a venue pays so you have a ballpark figure of what might be “normal” – at least for THAT venue.  What I have described above pertains to Coffeehouses, Bars, Restaurants & Music Venues.
  2. PRIVATE EVENTS– holy cow, let me count the ways.  WEDDINGS! Singing/playing an instrument during the actual service, performing chill music/jazz during cocktail hour, playing (full band) during the Reception. These can be very lucrative, and also can take a LOT of preparation beforehand.  Alot of times, the couple will pick out all (or many) of the songs they would like you to do during to cocktail hour & reception (bride&groom dance, etc.) And of course, everything is picked out for the actual service. I have found I have been MOST scared of performing during an actual wedding because I know will be on video (since all weddings are now), and I dont want to hit that wrong note! Eeek! But other than nerves, and the extra prep; it’s a unique often lucrative musical assignment where you will play an crucial (although background) role in one of the most important days of newlyweds lives!