Close up of a keyboard.

Making a Living Performing

The old adage ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work again’ certainly rings true for many performing musician. It’s hard to describe the thrill you get when you’re on stage with a captive audience listening to every note you sing or play. However, being in such a position – and being able to make a living from it – doesn’t come easily. Surprisingly, it’s not about being able to sing or play an instrument well, and it’s not even about being 'better than the rest'. There is much more to making a living performing.

Of course there are shortcuts to securing an income from performing, which are no secret:

  • go to a music college and spend a few years getting to a very high standard on your chosen instrument, then join a professional orchestra (this will take at least five years of higher education so barely qualifies as a shortcut);
  • win a major television talent show, such as ‘The X Factor’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent’;
  • get lucky performing somewhere and be spotted by a talent scout or an A&R person from a major record company;
  • have a YouTube video that goes viral, be noticed by a recording company, and get a lucrative recording contract.

There are success stories that accompany all of the above scenarios, but they are few and far between. For the vast majority of musicians there is no shortcut to the top and no shortcut to making a living performing. It takes time, motivation, drive and determination. These are all qualities that must come from within.

Assuming you possess these qualities, what do you do next? Well, in fairy tales you would do a few gigs, get noticed by the people that count, and overnight success would quickly follow. In the real world this rarely happens. Even well-known stars that have seemingly had overnight success have, in truth, worked hard for many years.

A picture of the book 'Breaking into the Music Business'.There is no secret formula to making a living performing, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success and reduce the amount of time you spend on non-productive endeavours. The book Breaking Into the Music Business: An Essential Guide for performers is all about getting started, and contains a vast amount of information and advice. In fact I firmly believe that if I had read a book like this at the start of my musical career it would have put me at a significant advantage.

Be professional in dealing with people, develop a good business sense, set targets, network in the right way, have your own pricing structure, know what you are worth, learn how to promote yourself – these are just some of the many topics covered.

The book is available as an eBook from Amazon. If you don’t have an eBook reader, such as a Kindle, you can download an eBook reading App for a variety of smartphones, computers and tablets, free from Amazon.

Check out the full list of contents and read a preview at Amazon, and if you still want to read more download a sample onto your eBook reader - free.




Just arrived on this site:

Jan. 30, 2018. Turntables are making a comeback, with many on the market to choose from. This month's article, Choosing a Turntable, can helps you make the right choice.

Dec. 30, 2017. This month I've updated the article Harry Beckett in Concert.

Nov. 27, 2017. After evaluating the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Generation USB Interface for several months, I can now post this in-depth review.

Oct. 30, 2017. The KORG SV-1 Keyboard Image Gallery has been updated this month with a brief description added to each photograph.

Sept. 25, 2017. This month sees the addition of a new piece of music - Heaven's Door.

Aug. 29, 2017. This month I've added a small selection of old photographs to a new page entitled Gallery - Archive.

July 26, 2017. The question I attempt to answer this month is Why Pay For Music? Leaving aside the legal argument there is much more to consider. Read the article to find out more.

June 28, 2017. This month features an article on how to make DIY Acoustic Panels that don't need attaching to a wall with screws or glue.

May 29, 2017. New this month is a selection of six Royalty Free Radio Jingles.

April 30, 2017. After a half-year break from adding new material to this site, I've added an article / review on Headphone Holders.

Jan. ~ Mar. 2017. New posts coming soon.


Sometime Somewhere...


A relaxing Smooth Jazz CD. Listen to extracts of all 12 tracks now.


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