Who here makes a living as a musician?

I’m going to need some sort of income after the new year, and I’m debating on whether or not to go the music teacher route. I’ve got a few students now, but I’m curious if anyone here is a private music teacher full time.

How many students do you have? How much do you make (aprox)? How flexible is your time? How much time a week does it take?

I have a lot of gigs in the evenings, and I’m thinking that with those plus a decent number of students I could do pretty well for myself.

Hmm. I’d bet with the right marketing of yourself you could do pretty good. Throw and ad in the Burlington Free Press - you are sure to get some people out in Williston or up in Essex who want to pay to have someone teach their children…

I was up at UVM a few weeks ago and a Doo-Wop (sp?) qunitet was doing pretty good for themselves on Church street. Then again it’s getting cold so never mind I said that… As a matter of fact I’m going to be up in Burlington with my wife quite a bit around the holidays…where do you play?

Well, things are pretty dead for the holidays for me (fortunately… it’s nice to have a break), though if you’re here for New Year’s eve I do have a few gigs that day/night.

But, if something that’s not a private party or something comes up, I’ll let you know.
Yeah, I figure things could possibly work out pretty well, but I’m really curious how reliable people find their income. The few students I have at the moment are often rescheduling, and I wonder if other people have that same experience.

I make my living playing viola around Southern California. Joke all you want, but it happens. :wink:

I used to teach full-time, at first traveling around, and later making everybody come to my house. I made a decent living, and didn’t have to have too many students; maybe 3 or 4 a day. But it came to be a pain in the ass. I got sick of unreliable students, and students who were just not fun to work with … there were a few good ones, of course, but most of the lessons were just tedious. Eventually I longed to not do it anymore, and I also longed for things like employer-paid health insurance, vacation days, etc.

Taxes were a complete pain, too. And the tax laws are not kind to the self-employed; you have to pay into Social Security as well. I kept just a little over half what I earned.

If you do take this up, I recommend you collect a month’s payment from each student in advance. If they don’t show up, too bad/so sad, but you still get paid.

I had a teacher who was rich enough to be extremely selective of students. If he didn’t like you, he fired you right away. That would be ideal; I still think about taking on just a few students of my choice sometimes. Teaching has its rewards.

But hey, if you’re willing to put up with a certain amount of crap, you can definitely make a living at it. It’s a rare enough skill that (in cities at least) you can charge a nice hourly rate. And some people really love working for themselves only. You should try it and see.

The drummer in my mid-life crisis band (our first gig is this weekend - I posted a thread about it in MPSIMS!) was a professional drummer for 15 years. There was a lot he loved about it - played at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall, played in front of 100,000 people, met a ton of rock stars, etc. - but plenty he did not like. For the first few years, the paltry income (session men and hired guns, unless they are like, say, Daryl Jones who plays bass for the Stones now) make barely any income - $40,000 is a good year.

When he got married, he blundered into another line of work and is now doing amazingly well. And we get to have our band, which is great because it can be for fun only…

100% of my income is from singing.

It’s not much, but it makes me feel great.

Some years back (like twenty) I made a living as a musician. Not an especially good one, and I was younger then and didn’t need or expect much, but I got by.

I was a bassist. Still am, I guess, but it’s a hobby now. I worked for a company that supplied bands for weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. I had a union card. I (mostly) got payed scale. I can’t remember anymore what scale was then. I guess DJs have pretty much killed that business, but it was good enough back in those days.
I wasn’t very talented. I was technically decent enough. I could sight-read. That was required, 'cause the odds were good that at any given gig I’d be working with people I never met before and playing music I didn’t know. A working knowledge of the current top 40 and the usual oldies was essential. But I was never musically creative, so it was pretty boring for me. Eventually I dropped out of it.

This was in New York City. Don’t know how things would be in Burlington.