Home Business Being a Full-Time Musician: What to Expect

Being a Full-Time Musician: What to Expect

by Tracy Finke

Being a musician is a goal for many who are inspired by the likes of Adele, Bruno Mars, and many of the world’s highest-earning artists, but will they be able to make it to stardom?

Much like any career in the entertainment industry, nurturing a career as a full-time musician doesn’t happen overnight. While there have been musicians who made it by chance or accident, a shot at success won’t come easy. Other than that, you will also need to learn how to manage your success without reaching a creative slump.

Before deciding whether you should become a full-time musician, you need to manage your expectations and weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros of Going Full-Time

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Whether you are giving music lessons to aspiring artists or looking for regular gigs at local bars, being a full-time musician gives you lots of opportunities that can be satisfying:

Making a Career Out of Your Passion

The biggest advantage of being a full-time musician is the chance to do something you love. You can turn your ideas and experiences into relatable songs. This beats having to work a regular job where you are not happy. With music as your career choice, you get to spend your hours honing your craft, sharing your skills, and making a name for yourself in an industry everyone else wants to work in.

Improving Your Skills

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To become a successful musician, you should always look for opportunities for improving your skills. Going full-time allows you to concentrate on building creative maturity. You get to spend as much time as you can to perfect your songwriting skills, learn new instruments, and improve other essential skills along the way.

Establishing Your Reputation

As your career takes off, so does your reputation as a serious musician. Introducing yourself as a full-time musician opens you up to more paths for building your career. Whether you start off as a freelance session musician or part of an orchestra, you get to build a musical resume so you can promote yourself easier and land more auditions. For a start, consider setting up an Instagram and SoundCloud profile and uploading your recordings there.

Growing Your Network

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By working as a full-time musician, you get to expose yourself to personalities who can help propel your career. Your network may include bar owners that need performers to provide live entertainment. If you are earning as a busker, there’s a good chance that you will catch the eye of a talent scout on the prowl for a potentially successful artist.

As your career grows, you also nurture a network of fellow musicians and independent record labels willing to create your first album. From this, you increase your chances of getting noticed by major labels who put out your best work to a wider audience. There’s also a good chance of landing your biggest break.

Being a full-time musician can be anyone’s dream job, but it takes a leap of faith to be able to find success in it considering the risks you will need to face.

The Cons of Going Full-Time

Much like anything else in life, nurturing a career as a full-time musician has its drawbacks:

Earning Less

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You may have been attracted by the fame and wealth that famous musicians have cultivated throughout their careers, but these rewards were born out of hardship. Financial uncertainty is the main problem you will need to face as you get started. Apart from getting rejections, you may not be able to make a decent living off of busking, selling samples, or accepting live entertainment gigs. You may be forced to take up multiple gigs or odd jobs to pay for rent, musical and recording equipment, and transportation. Even if you are already an established recording artist, the royalties you earn may still not be as big as you would expect.

Struggling With Competition

You are not the only one looking to make it as a musician. There’s a lot of competition out there, so you shouldn’t expect to land a job easily. Even if you have a social media presence, you may not be able to get noticed easily. It will take a lot of time and dedication to get noticed and, in most cases, it’s just a matter of luck. Your best bet is to come up with great materials, but even that won’t be enough to attract producers that are hunting for the next Ed Sheeran.

Sacrificing Your Personal Time

Since going full-time requires dedication, you may need to sacrifice other areas in your life just so you can mature into a more serious artist. Your close friends and family members may not be able to support your journey, so you will find yourself on your own most of the time. Your concentration on your craft will also make it difficult to build and maintain a relationship. Fortunately, this website points out that there’s always a chance to be romantically involved with someone without your craft getting in the way.

Grappling with Creative Blocks

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The biggest threat to your success as a full-time musician is experiencing creative slumps. The pressure of earning a living along with creating your best work can fuel your frustrations. There are some days you don’t feel like working or you force yourself to come up with something only to end up disliking it. Apart from that, there’s also the fear of being rejected and undervalued. All this can create a major roadblock that will always be present even if you have reached the top.


There’s a lot more you can expect as you take the first step to becoming a full-time musician. Despite the disadvantages of this line of work, it’s still possible to rise above the noise and get the attention your talent deserves. All you need is to be bold enough to take the plunge. You just need to realize that you have the potential for success. So long as you hold on to it, you’re guaranteed to get there soon enough.