How to Start a Career Playing the Guitar

Have you been dreaming of starting a music career? If you’re a guitar lover, it can seem like a fantasy to be able to make a living out of doing what you love. After all, it’s not a traditional career and there’s no clear-cut path that tells you what degree to get, where to work, and who to talk to. It’s why many budding musicians end up getting day jobs to fund their passion. While it is certainly not easy to commit to playing guitar full-time, that doesn’t make it impossible or worth pursuing. If you want to kick-start your guitar career, here are a few things to do:

Find your niche
It’s a common misconception that guitar players are confined to bands and shows; you’ve actually got several options to choose from. For one, you can be a music teacher for a class or one-on-one sessions, even if it’s just online! You can also be a music producer or composer for other artists. Brands these days are always on the lookout for artists who can create jingles and music for campaigns. On the other hand, you can also explore being a music therapist to help improve people’s mental health and well-being. As you can see, even if you don’t end up as a recording artist, you can definitely still build a career around your passion.

Work on your online presence
Social media is a powerful tool that you can utilize in order to grow an audience and expand your career. For one, TikTok is a great platform for anyone who wants to go viral. This is because the algorithm is different and allows anyone to blow up on the platform, as long as you make great content. For longer types of audio and video, SoundCloud and YouTube are great choices. You can use SoundCloud as a portfolio for your music, and it’s an easy and well-known streaming platform. Whichever platform you upload your music on, promote it on your other social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, to widen your reach.

Invest in your gear
If you’re going to play guitar full-time, then your first acoustic guitar from high school may not cut it. It’s worth investing in an instrument that is sturdy and can keep up with your day-to-day. Fortunately, there are high-quality electric guitars nowadays for every budget. If Jimi Hendrix or Slipknot are your inspiration, then models such as the Fender Player Stratocaster and Squier Affinity Telecaster may be best. Of course, you also need to consider the type of music you want to play. If you prefer country, then acoustic guitars like the Sunlite GD-1800 and Collings OM1 will suit you. For accessories, look into getting an amp if you need to produce louder and more pristine sounds. Meanwhile, a capo will help you change the guitar’s pitch, which is great for experimenting. Ultimately, it will depend on your own needs as a musician, so do your research.

Never stop learning
There’s always room for improvement, no matter how much of a pro you consider yourself. Even as you continue building your career, you can still make time for new classes or self-taught courses. Fender Play is great for beginners, meanwhile Guitar Tricks has a lot of content for intermediate and advanced guitarists. Similarly, ArtistWorks Guitar offers personalized learning and video feedback. There are hundreds of other resources out there that can help you be better in your craft.

Be willing to put in the work
Playing music for a living sounds fun and easy in theory, but like any job, it isn’t always glamorous. As previously mentioned, there is no clear way to build a music career. This is why you’ll need to put in hard work and be confident in your skills. Being doubtful of yourself won’t convince people that you can handle the work they might have for you. If you’re serious about wanting a career in music, perseverance and patience will get you there.

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