ARTICLE: Maxing your musical mastery…

Maxing your musical mastery (earning more without learning more) (By Kenny Love)

Every musician has, at least, two methods he (or she) can use to proactively earn an income, yet, most only utilize one method. As an example, most artists utilize performing as their primary source of income.

And, while many artists do have recordings, their recorded music is generally treated as an “aftermarket” product. Or, more clearly, a product that is left to defend itself in the income producing arena.

So, in an effort to apprise you of more areas that you may (or may not) have considered for producing more income from your local market, please review the below list of avenues artists can utilize to gravitate to a higher tax bracket.

1. Live Performance
a. Night clubs
b. Weddings
c. High school functions
d. College functions
e. Company functions
f. Holiday parties
g. Summer outdoor parties
h. Grand openings
i. New company openings

2. Your Own CD For $ale

3. Private Teaching
There are always a large number of people, even in the smallest geographical areas, who would like to learn to play an instrument, if only they knew someone who could teach them. And, you don’t need a college degree to teach someone to play an instrument.

Actually, I find that most people are, initially, really only seeking to be introduced to an instrument and, basically, interested in learning how to get sound out of it in order to not be embarrassed, instead of seeking virtuosity.

4. Public Teaching
Do you reside in a fairly sized town, or in a college area? If so, why not consider teaching classes for a couple of hours, one or two nights at a nearby community college? Community colleges are almost always open to new ideas for continuing education classes, as long as there isn’t already a similar class on their current curriculum.

Even if there is, perhaps, you can still get on the curriculum by putting a spin or angle on your class, in the interest of making it different from the current class. For example, instead of simply offering a standard guitar class, why not add a specialty to it, such as “Jazz guitar,” “Rock guitar” or “Classical guitar,” etc.?

5. Studio Session Work
How many local artists do you encounter who are trying to produce their own CD? Probably, quite a few. if so, why not hire yourself out as a studio session musician? In order to make this pay off well, you will probably need to study various commercial genres of music, i.e., Country, Rock, Urban, Jazz, etc., in order to be flexible enough to work and earn from it consistently without limitations.

6. Songwriting
Another area that most artists aren’t true masters in, at least, for some time. If you are, however, a seasoned songwriter, who understands the process fairly well, i.e., when enough is enough, or not, in terms of content, this can be a rewarding source of income for you. Just be sure to cover yourself on the “writer royalty” end with your performing rights organization.

7. Arranging
While many artists can put songs together generally, I find that many beginning songwriters are not adept at arranging their material according to commercially accepted standards. For instance, maybe a bridge or hook is too long. or, perhaps, an instrumental intro could be shortened for radio.

And, maybe, the entire song is too long for radio, as radio is still a stickler about the length of music, preferring to remain safely within the confines of the 3 – 4-1/2 minute range for commercial sake.

Fixing all of these kinds of things equates to commercial arranging. And, you can probably help out a lot of artists, particularly, neophytes in perfecting their original material.

8. Radio/TV Jingles
Why not add some income by approaching businesses in your area and offering to write an original score for them? If you live in a decently sized town, i.e., Chicago, Detroit, etc., it is likely there are companies that are already seeking someone with your skills, but don’t know you exist.

9. Ad Agencies/Public Relations Firms
You could also contact area advertising agencies and public relations firms in order to align yourself with them as a resource for jobs that they acquire.

10. Area Stage Plays
How about you and/or your band providing live background music for area plays that are being produced locally or regionally? You could approach high schools, college drama departments and community theatre groups. Even dance troupes might be open to the idea as well.

Hopefully, this handful of ideas can inspire you to come up with other outlets for maxing your musical mastery and, ultimately, maximizing your income potential.

Editor’s Note: Kenny Love has an extensive background in both the Music and Writing industries. Learn about the new services that he is providing to unsigned and independent recording artists in response to today’s shaken and fractionalized Music industry by sending an email request to

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