Side Gigs for Musicians: Become a Music Teacher

music teacher

Let’s be honest, being a musician doesn’t exactly bring home the bacon. Especially if you are just starting out, maintaining a stable income from music can be hard. Sure, you may have a 9-to-5, but it may be an unfulfilling, low paying job — so how can you turn your love of music into a reliable stream of revenue?

In many instances, people take up a side hustle to go alongside their regular job and bring in more money. For a musician, this is an excellent opportunity to fulfill your passion while being able to keep your job. There are many ways in which a musician can turn their love of music into a side gig, and a great way to do this is to become a music teacher. Take a look below at some ways you can teach music as your side gig.


Depending on which organization you choose to volunteer for; a nonprofit, school, hospital, assisted living facility, etc., you may or may not be compensated for your services. However, volunteering for an organization will help you get your foot in the door and gain experience for the possible side gigs (mentioned below) that do pay. Many of these organizations understand the enormous benefits of music, and if you can lend your services teaching music, you may consider volunteering as your side gig.

Many organizations help connect music teachers with people who need and will enjoy playing music. Mind & Melody, Inc. is just one of many organizations understanding and raising awareness of what the health benefits of music can do for those with neurological impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mind & Melody, Inc. connects volunteers with those in healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to bring in a bit of music education in an attempt to improve the quality of life of patients with neurological disorders. All you need to do to get started bringing the joy of music to these patients in need is to register on their website.

Organizations such as Music and Youth recognize the opportunity gap of music to children in inner-city areas. Many of these children don’t have the resources to learn music. So, it falls on volunteers to help bring music to them — supporting music through free after-school music programs. Volunteering through their website can help you bring music to underprivileged children, keeping them out of trouble while boosting their academic performance. Volunteering your time to services like this can show a child, who may not otherwise have the chance, the world of music.

If you find yourself in the position that these organizations do not provide services where you live, you can always ask around or research local charities and nonprofits to see how you can get involved. It is often the case that after-school programs or healthcare facilities will welcome a volunteer music teacher to brighten peoples’ days and encourage music education for everyone.

Private Lessons/Tutoring

Many musicians can make a steady stream of income by becoming a tutor or giving private lessons. If you have what it takes to become a teacher and a little business know-how, you can turn private lessons or tutoring into a successful side gig. These side hustles are perfect for a musician trying to make some extra cash, as you can negotiate your own prices and maintain the flexibility of setting your own hours, allowing you to focus on your existing job as well as practice your own music.

To successfully provide private lessons or music tutoring, you need strong organizational and teaching skills, and will need to tap into your entrepreneurial spirit. It will be up to you to efficiently schedule students, come up with informative lesson plans, and make sure you provide adequate equipment, all while promoting your side business. In many cases, you may also have to provide a safe and comfortable practice space for your students.

It may take you a while to acquire all of the students for a solid stream of secondary income, but if you can provide all of the things above, you will have the flexibility and time to work on making private lessons or tutoring a full side gig.

Becoming a Music Professor

If you find that you excel at teaching music and would like to make music your life, you could make an effort to become a music professor, though it’s no small task. A significant amount of formal education is required to obtain your Master of Arts in Teaching music, or any similar degree.

If you are going to school to become a music professor, try giving lessons on the side to help pay your way toward your degree. In many instances, becoming a music professor at the collegiate level will become your full-time job. Overall, you will be tasked with coming up with a curriculum and preparing lectures on music theory, history, and/or composition. Additionally, you will have to conduct classroom discussions and assess musical performances from your students. Becoming a music professor is hard work. If you put in the time and effort, you can turn your passion into your career and love going to work every day.

You don’t have to settle for the average 9-to-5 job. Take the information above to get started on making music a bigger part of your life — and maybe even go from a side gig to a full-time career. Either way, becoming a music teacher is a great side gig to earn additional income as well as bringing musical joy to others.

Be sure to check out the second part in Desmond’s series: Side Gigs for Musicians: Become a Writer

Desmond Rhodes is a freelance writer and musician. He can frequently be found behind the drumset, laptop, or a good book. Find him on Twitter @desmond_rhodes.


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