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Easy Ways to Earn Side Income Using Your Piano Skills

How to turn your piano skills into money!


Do you enjoy playing the piano, and you want to put the lessons to good use? Nobody is stopping you from using your talent to make a little money on the side. And no, you don’t have to fill Carnegie Hall every weekend to earn a decent income from playing the piano.

While there are tons of musicians waiting to get their first break, there are not so many pianists. Therefore, it all comes down to ‘’branding yourself’’. As soon as you put the word out there that you are open the business, people might be rushing to pay for your service. Here is how to make passive income with your piano skills.

Teach Piano to Beginners

Teaching, whether we are talking about guitar, violin or piano, is the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind when it comes to earning an income with musical skills. However, teaching two hours every weekend while running errands is not enough to earn money and establish your reputation as a serious teacher. It is a noble profession which requires a lot of dedication.

The first step in getting students lined up is good old fashioned advertisement. There are several ways to do this. Firstly, you can put together a portfolio that includes your years of experience and qualifications (if you have any).

This portfolio should also include a schedule to teach people and some musical pieces that you know by heart. This will give potential clients an idea of who you are, what exactly makes you apt to teach, and what kind of music the students will be learning.

To increase your chances of nailing clients, you can also use advertising specials. For instance, you can create a promotion that implies signing up for ten consecutive lessons will render the next two free. You can also promote at home lessons for clients that are busy with school and other obligations. You could offer free lessons on birthdays and other special occasions.

This won’t only attract new students, but it will retain your old ones. Nothing builds loyalty better than a price deduction. By applying some marketing strategies, you can convince your clients that they are getting the best deal possible – because they are.

Start a YouTube Channel

Word to the wise – this is a long term strategy rather than a quick way to earn passive income because there is no guarantee that your channel will be successful. Therefore, we recommend approaching your YouTube efforts as a side-activity, not the main breadwinner. However, this prospect is still worth pursuing if you want to go the extra mile to gain exposure as a pianist.

The channel can contain anything related to this art, from piano tutorials – how to play certain songs, how to reach specific notes, exercises for beginners –, your personal compositions and projects to covers of popular and not so popular songs – there is a case to be made about covering early Tom Waits songs, not many people are doing that.

Simply monetize your YouTube videos and post as frequently as your schedule allows in order to increase the exposure of the channel. Stay on the niche as much as possible, and keep the content educational 100% of the time to ensure that people keep coming back to it.

Play in Bars and Cafés

Image Source: Deposit Photos

Since coffee shops, restaurants and bars are frequented mostly by music lovers, there is  a ton of money-making potential when you play the piano in such locations. After several successful gigs, you may convince the owner to establish a long-term partnership.

Let’s look at an example to give you an idea of the money you can make by playing jazz gigs and entertaining bar clients.  According to a Reddit user and citing their example, you can make as much as $700 in a month through various piano related activities, and this excluding piano lessons.

You can check out the month-by-month breakdowns and year-to-date totals posted in the thread for more numbers. All in all, you can earn more than just mere side income if you muster up the confidence to showcase your talents in front of a live audience. It might seem scary at first, but it gets easier with time.

Play at Special Occasions

Weddings are amongst the best places to earn some cash, even as an amateur pianist. However, you will have to put together a generous collection of wedding compositions. Learning and memorizing songs such as Pachelbel’s Canon, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, or more recent pieces like Adele’s Make You Feel My Love, and John Legend’s All of Me will certainly give you an edge over other pianists.

The next step is advertising. Post ads in the local paper – maybe the couple will read the ad and call or even recommend you. Leave business cards at wedding halls, play for free at a relative’s wedding. Everything goes as long as word gets out that you are up for business.

An additional potential cash earning venue are holiday parties. The same suggestions apply here as well, like buying ad space in the local newspaper, advertising a month or two in advance of the holiday season, and learning a wide variety of songs – both slow and upbeat pieces.

Another viable money-making opportunity is playing at religious services. While you should not expect to make as much money playing in church services as, say, a party or a jazz bar, many congregations are in desperate need of a good pianist to accompany the religious service.

The Bottom Line

Talented pianists will always be in high demand simply because there are not as many players now as there were before. Being a difficult instrument that requires many years of training, many people resort to other instruments that are easier to learn. Consequently, short of actually breaking into the mainstream, the long term money-making prospects of a pianist are very stable.

Contributor: Jason Antoon

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