“Art is how we decorate space Music is how we decorate silence.”
It can be difficult to become a professional musician. You need to work on your technique and knowledge of music. A lot of guitarists dream of being famous or making a living from playing guitar. That said, it’s harder said than done.
So why should you play guitar professionally?
While there are hundreds of reasons, we’ve chosen six important ones.
Living Out Your Passion for the Guitar as a Professional Guitarist
The reason that most people want to become professional guitarists is that they love the guitar. Guitarists and their guitars are usually as thick as thieves and many treat their guitars with as much care as they would their children.
This passion for the guitar borders on the obsessive but it does help when it comes to putting in the hours of necessary practice. Musicians need to put blood, sweat, and tears into their playing and if you’re going to have to be this committed, you may as well be paid for it.
Similarly, if you’re not playing the guitar full-time or being paid for it, your “day job” might get in the way of your playing. That said, there are pros and cons. When it comes to playing music, there are highs and lows and success can be really enjoyable but there’s also the struggle to get better at playing the guitar and find that success.
A guitarist mightn’t realise just how much time and money they put into playing the guitar, especially if they’re doing it professionally, and how little they’re getting out of it.
Whether you’re playing rock, jazz, or blues, you should be aware that it isn’t all fun and games. Getting into the music industry can be tough but once you're in, you can use your guitar playing to further your music career.
Find out more about playing guitar professionally.
Playing Concerts in a Band
While you might need to start on your own, many guitarists dream of playing alongside other musicians and sharing their passion for music. As a professional guitarist in a band, you’ll need to find other musicians like a bassist, drummer, saxophonist, pianist, etc. and practise and write music together.
This is often one of the reasons that guitarists want to go pro. It’s generally easier for bands to make it than solo artists. Similarly, you can also earn money as a band.
Working with other musicians can also help you improve as a musician and as a professional. You can exchange ideas, work on the long-term vision of your band, and share common goals and dreams.
You can motivate one another during practice sessions instead of being alone. There’s nothing to stop you from also playing as a soloist on the side as you can take what you learn from being in a band into your solo career.
You can also become great friends with your bandmates. You just have to find your band members and ensure that you enjoy playing and practising together as there will be stressful moments that will test your friendships.
Learn how to kickstart your guitar career.
Becoming a Professional Musician to Share Your Passion
Being a professional musician isn’t just about improving your playing and performing live. You can also share your passion for music as a guitar teacher or guitar tutor. You could do it all at once. There are many ways to earn money by playing the guitar.
A music teacher is a great way to share your passion with young aspiring musicians who’d like to get better. You’ll teach them about rhythm, reading sheet music, music theory, and guitar techniques.
Pay attention to your teaching approaches. Teaching isn’t for everyone and being a good guitarist won’t necessarily translate into being a good teacher. After all, teaching requires many important skills.
Whether you teach in a music school, conservatoire (or conservatory), or as a private tutors, there are pros and cons to each. If you’re teaching in a school, you’ll probably have projects or end of year shows to put together with your students. If you’re a private tutor, you’ll have more time to focus on an individual student and see them progress.
In state schools, you mightn’t get to focus as much on the guitar as you’ll be tasked with teaching music more generally.
Share Your Love of Music with an Audience
Beyond teaching, you can also share your passion for music on stage. It’s rare for musicians to play just for their entertainment. You need to decide whether the drive to perform live is more powerful than the fear of taking to the stage.
Like we said earlier, you can share your love of music with other musicians. You might become a composer or create your music improvisationally. Happiness is only real when shared. It’s much easier to enjoy your music if you’re sharing it with a willing audience.
You can also soak in the applause and praise from everyone after you’ve finished your show. It’s a great feeling to find people who respond to what you’re doing. Try it out for yourself. If you love songwriting and music performance, there's nothing better than finding a way to make a living form your guitar playing.
Become a Professional Guitarist for an Interesting Career
Whether you do classical music, funk, or pop-rock, one thing’s for certain; you’ll never be bored as a professional guitarist!
Being a professional guitarist isn’t just about music, it’s also about finding gigs, being a community manager, promoting your band, invoicing venues, etc.
You’ll be wearing multiple hats. You’ll be a real entrepreneur, occasional jazz, folk, or hard rock musician, business manager, and networker all at once. If you’re in a band, different members can take on different roles according to their skills and talents.
You’ll never find a job like it. You can also teach guitar lessons after school or on weekends or help students prepare for auditions during your free time when you’re not gigging or rehearsing. There are few jobs with such an interesting schedule. You’ll need to learn how to work on your own and as a team.
Check out our tips for professional guitarists.
Becoming a Professional Guitarist to Record Music
As a guitarist, you’ll probably want a copy of your playing in the form of recordings. Whether you’re in an orchestra, a band, or a solo musician, you might want to record a single, EP, or album. You’ll have to compose the music and record it on your own or with other musicians. This also means that you’ll need to regularly practise your pieces or songs to ensure there are no wrong notes on the recording. You’ll also need to pay to rent a studio so that you can record your music.
As a studio musician, you can find a career in music playing your musical instrument in studios and make a living while also getting to experience other musicians' music. Don’t forget that you can always earn money from either selling your albums online or at gigs.
So are you ready to play guitar professionally?
There are plenty of different careers in music be it in the music business, music education, or playing orchestral music. While you might think a college of music or school of music is essential, you can learn plenty about how to play guitar and get your music career off the ground with a private tutor.
If you'd like to learn more about the guitar and how to play it, consider getting help from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof. There are several ways you can learn to play the guitar and there's something for every level and every budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor and you'll enjoy lessons that are tailored to you and what you want to learn. While these tend to be the costliest type of tutorials, they're also very cost-effective as every minute is spent helping you to improve your playing.
If you can't find any tutors near you, there's always the option to learn how to play the guitar with online private tutorials. Thanks to video conferencing software, you can now be taught by tutors all over the world. Online tutorials tend to be cheaper than face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, if you're looking to save money, group tutorials are usually the cheapest per student per hour as you're all paying for the tutor's time. However, you won't get the personalised service you would expect from the other types of tutorials.