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Well as some of might have seen my other posts, asking for help on getting better. This one is going in a different direction. I am definitely not where I want to be in terms of playing and technique, but I feel that I can still start trying to use my "talent". I have seen a lot of people who have posted on Youtube, and are moving into a career of playing, which I feel is awesome. I am trying to figure my life out, because I want a side hustle and figure that this would be the way to go. Currently, looking for advice on where to start with getting my name out there, and work on better at the same time. Thanks in advance.
 

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Get your sound straight first. It’s hard to clean up your reputation if you start posting while you suck.

What is your “talent”? Are you somehow engaging even if not musical?
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Local music scenes nationwide are flooded with largely talentless hacks that dilute what practiced musicians do by providing low-quality live radio. Go join a cover band, you’ll fit right in.
 

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Yeah, if your intent with a "side hustle" is to actually make money I'd try something else. As a longtime weekend warrior I can tell you that by the time you add up all the hours of practice it takes to get good enough to even play in a half decent cover band, buy solid gear, spend hours in rehearsals, drive miles round trip to gigs, and put in all the hours loading in-and-out and playing you don't net out anywhere near the money you'd make working some mediocre part-time job.
 

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Responses so far are blunt but true. As one of those talentless hacks (no offense taken), I join as many community bands as I can and make my own opportunities. Community bands are great for learning because everyone is in the same boat but also has the drive to play well and grow as musicians. And you aren't really competing with or getting in the way of pros. If you truly are talented, you'll stand out and start getting asked to sub in better bands. I'm no pro, but I'm no slouch either. So over the years I've gained the reputation as a solid, reliable player with chops. I get called to sub in really good bands all the time. If I were so inclined, I could work my way into a permanent spot in any of them.

As for making my own opportunities, I formed several groups on my own over the years that get quite a few paying gigs. I don't really compete with pros because I usually take gigs a pro wouldn't bother with. In normal times, I average a couple of gigs per month which is plenty for me. It keeps my chops up, and I end up with a little pocket money, but definitely not a living wage.

Leo P honed his skills busking, and he had the talent and charisma to turn that in to more opportunities and become rather famous.

So do your thing, do it well, take every playing opportunity you can, and if you've got the chops, you'll get noticed.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Responses so far are blunt but true. As one of those talentless hacks (no offense taken), I join as many community bands as I can and make my own opportunities. Community bands are great for learning because everyone is in the same boat but also has the drive to play well and grow as musicians. And you aren't really competing with or getting in the way of pros. If you truly are talented, you'll stand out and start getting asked to sub in better bands. I'm no pro, but I'm no slouch either. So over the years I've gained the reputation as a solid, reliable player with chops. I get called to sub in really good bands all the time. If I were so inclined, I could work my way into a permanent spot in any of them.

As for making my own opportunities, I formed several groups on my own over the years that get quite a few paying gigs. I don't really compete with pros because I usually take gigs a pro wouldn't bother with. In normal times, I average a couple of gigs per month which is plenty for me. It keeps my chops up, and I end up with a little pocket money, but definitely not a living wage.

Leo P honed his skills busking, and he had the talent and charisma to turn that in to more opportunities and become rather famous.

So do your thing, do it well, take every playing opportunity you can, and if you've got the chops, you'll get noticed.
The local community band(s) are a great place to get started...great networking as you speak of, and you can work on the skills needed to play with a section/ group. There's two such groups in my town and I like getting the call to come sit in and read one of the tenor or alto books when one of the regulars can't make it.
 

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With social media (YouTube, Instagram, etc) you can absolutely build a brand and start to increase income through music. Being consistent is one of the things holding a lot of people back - if you study the analytics you’ll see retention rates (and other viewer metrics) drop as the content become more spaced out and inconsistent. Out of sight, out of mind. (And you want to be in sight)

Also try to bring something unique to the table. I’m a believer that people subscribe and follow people first, and specific content second. Connecting with your audience is crucial!

All of this takes TIME. There is no shortcut, and hard work and consistency tends to win out.

There are many avenues for income in the music business, and here are some things I do: Teaching (public school), private lessons, master classes (in-person and virtual), gigs, recording sessions (in-studio and home recording - make sure you are able to have a PRO sound at home!), own a music-lesson business (LLC) that contracts teachers to give private lessons, YouTube videos (adsense revenue), Patreon, video editing, composing/arranging...I’m probably leaving things out!

Good luck, and work hard EVERY single day!
 

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There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of, “A musician plays a $50 gig, driving a $500 car, with a $5000 instrument.”

Paraphrasing of course. Have you tried Instacart or Uber?
 

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Alto, Tenor, Bari.
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There's an old saying that goes something along the lines of, "A musician plays a $50 gig, driving a $500 car, with a $5000 instrument."

Paraphrasing of course. Have you tried Instacart or Uber?
Not sure if this is related or not. Do you know the difference between a Large Pizza and a Music Major? A Large pizza can feed a family of 4.
 

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The initial direction this thread has taken is a bit odd, IMHO.

It's kinda hard to tell what 'side hustle' means, exactly.

Other than it seems clear that you do not intend to use this as your primary income source (i.e. you got a day job)....

It is also impossible to tell exactly what level the OP is at as an instrumentalist, so perhaps strafing them as mediocre or intimating they are talentless...is a bit much ????

Yeah you can get into the whole "my branding" thing and learn how to do that as Dave notes....broadcast yourself all over the place if you wanna....lots of folks do. You can, if you are ready to make the effort and have the focus and all that...and if that's what you wanna do.

....but a side hustle can also be as simple as ....going out and busking on a corner or two a couple times a week....
 

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The initial direction this thread has taken is a bit odd, IMHO.

It is also impossible to tell exactly what level the OP is at as an instrumentalist, so perhaps strafing them as mediocre or intimating they are talentless...is a bit much ????

....but a side hustle can also be as simple as ....going out and busking on a corner or two a couple times a week....
+1 I think some practice in front of people is really useful. Just don't expect much money at first.
 

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"Side Hustle" is usually used to mean an occupation, other than one's main, that brings in a useful stream of income.

There are VERY FEW part time musicians who make a useful stream of income from it. Those who do, typically have extensive connections and/or lead bands that are well connected.

There are VERY MANY superbly talented musicians out there, with great personalities, thick Rolodexes, stage presence, and superb reliaiblity and work ethics, who play a lot and do not make a useful stream of income from it. Every year North Texas, Curtis, Indiana, Miami, etc., etc., graduate hundreds of well-qualified players who go into band directing, or other music-related fields, or non-music-related employment, and they're all out there hustling for gigs. Those are your competitors. Can you get gigs and play a lot? Yep. Can you make a useful stream of income from it? I wouldn't bet on it.
 

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"Side Hustle" is usually used to mean an occupation, other than one's main, that brings in a useful stream of income.

There are VERY FEW part time musicians who make a useful stream of income from it. Those who do, typically have extensive connections and/or lead bands that are well connected.

There are VERY MANY superbly talented musicians out there, with great personalities, thick Rolodexes, stage presence, and superb reliaiblity and work ethics, who play a lot and do not make a useful stream of income from it. Every year North Texas, Curtis, Indiana, Miami, etc., etc., graduate hundreds of well-qualified players who go into band directing, or other music-related fields, or non-music-related employment, and they're all out there hustling for gigs. Those are your competitors. Can you get gigs and play a lot? Yep. Can you make a useful stream of income from it? I wouldn't bet on it.
Exactly - it's shameful in a way that professional musicians like Dave and Merlin have to do a lot of stuff that sort of feels like a "side hustle" to make ends meet but if your a pro most of this stuff - private lessons, playing in multiple bands and multiple genres, having a social media presence, etc., is just par for the course.

Like turf, my definition of a side hustle includes the expectation of some sort of net economic gain. In this context music as a side hustle is not a good option. Very few of the part time musicians (read people with day jobs in other fields) I'm associated with play music with the expectation of making money. Almost all play because they just love to play. I tell people at gigs all the time that they aren't paying me to play, I love to play. They're paying me to schlep gear, help load-in/load-out the PA, drive 50 miles in miserable Friday evening traffic to get to the gig, get home at 2am, etc.. Before COVID I was averaging 25-35 gigs a year but only a few of them I made any real money on. In 20 years of playing part time as a weekend warrior I've never actually made money once travel expenses for both rehearsals and gigs are accounted for.
 

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Almost all play because they just love to play. I tell people at gigs all the time that they aren't paying me to play, I love to play. They're paying me to schlep gear, help load-in/load-out the PA, drive 50 miles in miserable Friday evening traffic to get to the gig, get home at 2am, etc...
+1. That's definitely the truth of the matter for me. However, after nearly 7 months of Covid and NO gigs, now all of a sudden I miss all of that (well most of it)...

But yeah, if the OP is looking at this 'side hustle' from any kind of financial gain standpoint, and not from the sheer love of music and the need to play, I'd say forget about it.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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The initial direction this thread has taken is a bit odd, IMHO.

It's kinda hard to tell what 'side hustle' means, exactly.

Other than it seems clear that you do not intend to use this as your primary income source (i.e. you got a day job)....

It is also impossible to tell exactly what level the OP is at as an instrumentalist, so perhaps strafing them as mediocre or intimating they are talentless...is a bit much ????

Yeah you can get into the whole "my branding" thing and learn how to do that as Dave notes....broadcast yourself all over the place if you wanna....lots of folks do. You can, if you are ready to make the effort and have the focus and all that...and if that's what you wanna do.

....but a side hustle can also be as simple as ....going out and busking on a corner or two a couple times a week....
+1

He's not suggesting trying to make a living exclusively playing the sax. Geez, you guys are harsh.
 
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