The Best Day Jobs for Musicians

While no musician wants to look for a day job, sometimes it is necessary to pay the bills. I have worked a day job for over a year now, and I believe there are some day jobs for musicians that are better than others.

Hannah B Flute | The Best Day Jobs for Musicians

Whether you find a job in music education or a field unrelated to music, there are some qualities that you want to look for in a day job. In this post, I am going to share what I looked for when finding a day job. I’m also going to include some specific examples of day jobs for musicians.

Let’s start with what to look for with a day job.

Easy

By easy, I mean you go to work, do what your job entails, and then you go home. You don’t bring work home with you. As a musician, you need your free time. You need to practice, find gigs and students, and (hopefully) maintain a social life. Sleep is also important.

I currently work as a bank teller, which is perfect for me. My job is hourly, so I work my forty hours, and then I leave the bank and don’t have to think about work. My time off is mine, and I can spend it however I please.

Good Schedule

Your perfect work schedule will depend on what your goals are as a musician. I wanted to be able to play in community music groups, and they tend to rehearse in the evenings and on weekends. Those groups never play later than 1o pm.

While I do work Saturdays (with Wednesdays off), Saturdays are a half day, so I don’t miss out on much of the weekend. I’m off by 6 pm during the week, and I’m off at 1 pm on Saturdays.

If you want to start private teaching, you may prefer a day job where you work Sundays. Since most private students take lessons in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings, a private teacher should avoid scheduling a day job during those times.

For those of you wanting to do late night shows, you will want to avoid working early in the morning. You need to catch up on your sleep, and so you might want a job where you work from 11-7, instead of 9-5.

Flexible

Another important factor for any day job is flexibility. If a last minute gig pops up, you want to be able to take it and switch your work shifts. Need more time to practice for an audition? A flexible day job will allow you to take off when you need to.

As a teller, my first three months did not come with much flexibility. I could switch my day off, but I did not have the paid time off that comes with a full time job. That benefit only came after 90 days. Sadly, that meant that I missed out on a couple of cool performance opportunities.

Full time vs. Part time

You also want to consider whether you want to work full time or part time. There are benefits to both, and it’s worth looking at each situation before deciding. As a full time employee, I get paid days off plus vacation time. As a bank employee, I also get paid holidays off for all US federal holidays.

I also earn more than I would if I was part time.

However, if you have a lot of projects going on, working part time might be a better option for you. Full time employees have to work between 35-40 hours each week, but part time employees work less than 30 hours per week.

If music is already keeping you busy, but you need some extra income, a part time job is the better choice. For those of you starting without much music work, full time will allow you to save more money to fund your music projects.

Day Jobs for Musicians

There are many day jobs out there, but these are some of the best ones for musicians.

Retail/Food Service

These jobs come with flexible hours, and many companies allow you to switch shifts with other employees. Retail and food service jobs are also relatively easy to get, so they are perfect for anyone who needs work fast.

Paraprofessional

If you want the standard hours of working in a school but not the excess work of teachers, consider applying for a job as a paraprofessional. Paraprofessionals work with teachers and special needs students. You do not need a teaching degree, and you can also leave your work at the door.

Bank Teller

Well, of course I had to mention my own day job. Banks have pretty standard hours, with half day Saturdays. Except with some grocery store branches, you also get Sundays and federal holidays off. Bank tellers also get to leave their work at work.

Music Teacher

If you don’t mind bringing work home with you, being a music teacher can be a great way to earn money. You still get to do music every day, but you also have the security that comes with any day job. Keep in mind that public schools require you to have a teaching degree.

Work from Home Options

The growth of the internet has brought with it many work from home jobs. Most of them come with a flexible schedule, and there is a job out there no matter your interests or skills. A quick search of “work from home jobs” will give you tons of ideas.

So…

Do you have a day job? What is it? And for those of you full time musicians, what are your tips for getting out of a day job? Let’s talk in the comments!

Subscribe!

* indicates required



How to Build a Website

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about why you should have a website. The next thing to figure out is how to build a website, especially if you don’t have much of a budget. Websites are surprisingly cheap and easy to create, and you can even get started for free.

Hannah B Flute | How to Build a Website

There are tons of website builders you can use to create your website, but I am going focus on using WordPress. I currently use WordPress, and I am super happy with it. My website is easy to customize, and I can even add and change content on the go with the WordPress app.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to build a website on a budget, the differences between WordPress.com & WordPress.org, and my tips for creating a website you love.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means that it is a piece of software that houses and manages content for a website. WordPress  comes in two forms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a CMS and hosting plan all in one. It’s great for beginners, because Automattic (the owners of WordPress.com), takes care of any and all security and maintenance issues. All you have to focus on is creating content for your website.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is the software known as WordPress. Sometimes referred to as “free” WordPress, you have to find your own hosting plan. I use SiteGround, and I am very happy with them. You do have to pay for your hosting plan, but many website hosts have an option for a one-click WordPress installation.

Build a Website on a Budget

When you’re strapped for cash, it can be hard to spend money on your website. With all of the free options out there, it’s tempting to save your money for other things.

Don’t do that. At least not for the long term. I had a blog and website for about two and a half years before spending money on it. And boy, I wish I invested money in my website sooner.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, but there are a couple of things that you should have if you want to be taken seriously. In the beginning, I spent $12/year, then $60, and now I spend about $144/year on my website.

The Basics

First, you need a professional name. If you are building a website as a means of growing your career, your website needs a professional name. Nothing like flutelover99 or oboeliciousblog.

Your website name could be your own name, or it could be your name followed by “music” or your instrument. As you can see, I named my website “Hannah B Flute.” It includes my first name, middle initial, and my main instrument. It’s short and sweet, and it explains the focus and purpose of this website.

The second thing you should have is your own domain name. If you decide to buy your own website hosting, you will have to choose your own domain, and WordPress.com allows you to use a subdomain (example.wordpress.com).

A subdomain is okay when starting out, but once you settle on a name, you really should get your own top level domain (example.com). A top level domain has two benefits that a subdomain does not. It is more professional, and it is easier for people to remember. Both of those things are important when building your professional image on and off the internet.

Do you need extras?

At this point, I only pay for my website hosting and my domain names. I have hannahbflute.com (my current website name) and killerharmony.com (my website’s former name, which redirects to HBF). You can buy a domain name for around $12/year, and there are hosting platforms that offer packages for $5-10/month.

There are tons of extras you can add, like premium themes (templates, basically) and premium plugins (which add features without requiring you to add code).

But no, you don’t need to pay for much besides your domain and hosting. If you need or want help creating your website, there are services out there that can help. I specialize in creating blog content, and I can help you create the website/blog of your dreams.

Five (5) Tips for Creating a Website

  1. Don’t worry about perfection. You can always edit your website later. Just get it up and going.
  2. Edit your content. Be it a biography or a blog post, edit your content, preferably before you hit publish. Not an editor? I can help.
  3. Ask for help. It’s great if you can build your whole website yourself, but if you can’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  4. Stick to your budget. If you are on a budget, stick to it. Don’t be tempted to spend money you don’t have.
  5. Have fun with it! Yes, your website should be professional, but you should enjoy creating it. It should be a reflection of you, so enjoy the process.

So…

Do you have a website? Do you wish you did? Leave your answers in the comments, or fill out this survey!

Subscribe!

* indicates required



How My Day Job has Helped My Music Career

Well friends, I have officially worked as a bank teller for a year. While that milestone is not a huge deal, it is something to remember. I have learned a lot in my year as a bank teller, and a lot of it will help me as I grow my music career.

Hannah B Flute | How My Day Job Has Helped My Music Career

Some of the lessons I’ve learned are obvious: be a nice person. Others are not so obvious. Either way, I am going to talk about how my day job has helped my music career.

In some ways, being a teller is a lot like being a private teacher or independent musician. You have to work with people, and you learn a lot while doing it. So, here are the biggest things I have learned as a teller that I will use in my music career.

1. Be Nice to Everyone.

It doesn’t matter what career you choose, you need to be nice to everyone. This is especially true when you are first starting out. People know people, and they talk. While this isn’t always the case in banking, it is definitely the case in the music world.

There are a lot of musicians out there vying for the same opportunities as you. One bad impression could cost you a job. So be smart when you make connections. Just be a nice person.

It will make every part of your life easier, not just your career.

2. Know that You Won’t Please Everyone.

There are some people that you just can’t please. They want things done a specific way or by a specific person. That happens in both banking and in music.

I’ve had customers wait on another teller because they liked how s/he processed their transactions. I’ve had other musicians complain about a music group was being ran. Being a people pleaser is not always a bad thing, but it also won’t always be successful.

There are going to be times when a customer, client, or colleague will not stop complaining. It could be about a huge problem, or it could be negligible. Just remind yourself that you can be the nicest person in the world, but you still won’t please everyone.

3. Focus on the Task at Hand.

When you are working with other people, you need to focus on what you’re doing. One of the tellers at another branch was so engrossed in his phone that he didn’t pay attention when cashing what was a fraudulent check.

If you are rehearsing without a conductor, you don’t have anyone there to keep you all on track. That’s your job as a group.

When a customer comes up to you, or you have to teach a lesson, focus on that thing. Yes, emergencies do happen. It’s okay to step off to the side to take care of something. But not only is it unprofessional to lose focus, it is also rude.

4. Be Flexible.

Sometimes, you luck out and your schedule doesn’t change at all. You know what you have to do and when you have to do it. But a lot of the time, you have to be flexible. Rehearsals get cancelled, you get called to take a gig last minute, and you need to be flexible.

Things change, and people change. You might be prepared to have a lesson with a particular student, but the that student doesn’t show up. One day at work, you might be asked to come in early or stay late.

Be prepared for change, and be willing to go with the flow. Not only will it make your life easier, but it will make people want to work with you more.

5. Appreciate Time Off.

Since I have a full time day job, I have to utilize my off time to practice, write for this blog, and work on other parts of my music career. Luckily, I do get all federal holidays off (and with pay), and I love having that extra day to dedicate to music and blogging.

When you work as a musician, it’s also important to take advantage of your time off. Catch up with family and friends, find a hobby, or just enjoy not working.

I know that musicians don’t always have time off, but try and give yourself a little vacation every now and again.

So…

I have learned a lot more through banking, like what to look for on a check (perfect for private teaching), but I wanted to focus on some of the bigger lessons. If you have learned anything in your day job that helps you as a musician, let me know in the comments!

Subscribe!

* indicates required



Should You Have a Website?

The internet is amazing. You have access to a world of information, all at the tap of a button. You also have the ability to reach reach people all over the world, all at the tap of a button. That is why you, yes, YOU need a website…and a blog.

Should You Have a Website? | Hannah B Flute

I have been blogging for about five years now, and it has helped me grow not just as a writer but also as a musician and teacher. A blog allows you to share updates with students and followers.

You don’t need to have a super fancy website, but you should have some basic information. Your website is where you can direct potential clients and students. Today’ were going to talk about websites and blogs, and why you need one.

Why Do I Need a Website?

With the growth of the internet, a website is becoming more and more important each day. Your website is a business card, a portfolio, and a storefront all in one.

When networking, either online or in person, you can refer people to your website. You can upload recordings and other materials to your website. Even though you aren’t a “store,” you can still sell yourself with a website.

As a musician, you are your product. You want to show the best side of yourself and show your various offerings. If you teach, create a page where people can learn about your lessons and studio. Composers can create a page with all of their music: sheet music, audio and video recordings, etc.

Performers can upload photos and videos of performances as well as audio clips of their playing.

Your website is a one stop shop for all things you.

How Do I Create a Website?

Websites are surprisingly easy to create. Web editors like WordPress and SquareSpace let you make a website in just a few hours.

All you need to start is a name for your website, ideas for what to include, and just a bit of time.

I personally use WordPress, and I love it. I can use the WordPress app to update my site on the go. If you buy your own domain and web hosting, WordPress also lets you use plugins which have different features that can help improve your website speed and security, or even add different forms and themes to your site.

Other website makers have different options, so you can choose what works for you. However, I can’t recommend WordPress enough. If you’re hesitant about spending money for a domain (like example.com) and hosting, you can start with WordPress.com (the free version of WordPress), and move your site later.

If creating a website is intimidating, there are plenty of resources out there, or you can even hire someone to help. I love creating websites, so if you need help (a little or a lot), let me know!

Should I Pay for a Website?

In the beginning, not necessarily. If you want to think long term, or you want a more professional look, then definitely. You wouldn’t walk into an audition in torn up, old clothes. Many people will get their first impression of you on your website, so you want your website to look good.

If you’re on a budget, then you can give a free website a go. I had my blog and website for a few years before buying my own domain name. That allowed me to get the feel of running my own website without having to worry about paying for it. Then I transferred my website and domain to a paid hosting plan.

If you’re new to the whole thing, consider using a free website for awhile. But its never too early to invest a bit of money into your website. Some website hosting costs as low as a few bucks a month. With the holidays slowly approaching, maybe add web hosting to your wishlist.

But I’m Not a Writer!

That’s okay! You don’t have to be a writer to have a website or a blog. There are writers and editors out there that can help you create the website of your dreams. If you’re strapped for cash, some allow payment plans, or you can bargain some of your services to help them.

As a musician, you could record background music that a writer could use in a video. You could create a jingle for the writer to use to market themselves. Or, you could even find a writer looking to learn your instrument, and you could give them lessons.

I wasn’t always a writer, but now that I have been blogging for years, I am able to create written content that can reach more students. Creating a website and blog is not easy. It took me a lot of time to figure out what pages I needed. I have tons of archived blog posts with horrible writing.

Just as with music, writing takes time to perfect. It takes practice.

Related: How Often Should You Blog?

A Worthy Investment

A website and a blog are both investments, whether you spend money on them or not. Yes you can get a website up and running in less than a day, but you will then have to continue monitoring your website, replying to comments, and sharing your content with potential clients and students.

If you’re currently in college, that can make things even more overwhelming. Now, this isn’t a sales pitch (*side eye* I think this might be a sales pitch). I just want you to think about your career for a minute.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you want to perform? Teach privately? Work for yourself in any capacity? A website will help with that.

If you will be teaching K-12 music, then you might not need a website, but in most other cases, it will be helpful.

You can start small.

You can start for free.

A website will change the game.

So…

Do you have a website/blog? Do you use it? Are you happy with it? Do you want a website? Would you want to create your website or leave it up to someone else?

Let me know in the comments!

Subscribe!

* indicates required



The Benefits of Doubling (+ a free guide!)

As flutists and other woodwind players know, you can’t always get away with playing just one instrument. Especially for music majors and professionals, the benefits of doubling are numerous.

Hannah B Flute | Benefits of Doubling

Playing a second instrument can help you get more performing and teaching gigs. It can get your foot in the door with other musicians. And it can even help improve your playing on your main instrument.

Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of doubling that flutists should know about, as well as the different types.

Primary to Primary vs. Primary to Secondary

To me, there are two main types of doubling. There is primary to primary doubling and primary to secondary doubling. Bret Pimentel has an amazing post for flutists who want to double, and that is where I learned this terminology.

Basically, primary to primary doubling is when a flutist decides to learn an instrument outside of the flute family. It could be saxophone, clarinet, piano, etc. It just can’t be another flute.

Primary to secondary doubling is when a flutist learns another type of flute. That could be piccolo, alto flute, or even flutes from other parts of the world.

The type of doubling that is best for you depends on your goals. Do you want to play in a big band or a musical theatre pit? Try saxophone or clarinet. Would you prefer to play in a symphony or opera orchestra? Then learn piccolo or alto flute.

Primary to secondary doubling will be slightly easier, because the technique for flutes is fairly similar. The embouchure changes only slightly.

Primary to primary doubling requires the player to learn a whole new instrument. You almost have to forget that you are a flute player.

A Little Backstory

I started music when I was 5 or 6, but I didn’t really start with woodwinds until age 14. At that time, I learned the saxophone. Flute came soon after, because I wanted more opportunities within the classical music scene. I wasn’t a huge fan of jazz.

Eventually, I decided that doubling between families took too much time away from what I really wanted. So, I settled on the flute family.

As mentioned, there are times where primary to primary doubling is perfect. But for the remainder of this post, I will be focusing on primary to secondary doubling for flutists.

Playing Piccolo

Piccolo is the most commonly asked for double in almost all situations. Whether you play in an orchestra or band, you will probably be called upon to play piccolo at some point. If you are an amateur player, though, it may not be as necessary.

For the career bound flutist, it is EXTREMELY difficult to have a career on flute that doesn’t include piccolo. It is possible, but rare.

Being able to play piccolo at least a little bit will help you a lot. It means you can audition for jobs that involve piccolo. You can take on advancing flute students who want to learn piccolo. So try to treat the piccolo as an extension of the flute.

Should You Play Alto Flute?

The alto flute is not quite as common as piccolo, but its use is growing. More flute choirs are popping up, and more flute players, pro and amateur, are buying alto flutes.

Modern composers are starting to write more and more for the alto flute. That combined with flute choirs means that the opportunities for playing and teaching the alto flute are increasing.

The alto flute will continue to become more important to flute playing. Its use in orchestras is limited, but that may change in the near future. From solo and chamber playing to teaching, the alto flute has many venues now.

If you are looking to expand downwards in the flute family, try the alto flute. Alto flute resources are limited, but Chris Potter has an amazing website for alto (and bass) flute. If the alto flute interests you, go check it out.

The alto flute is a little more complicated than piccolo, since it has two headjoint options. Other than that, it is an easy transition for most advanced flutists.

Related: Piccolo vs. Alto Flute

The Benefits of Doubling Flutes

I have found that piccolo and alto flute both help my flute playing in different ways. The piccolo helps me get better control in the high register. Playing alto flute helps better my air support.

Other benefits of doubling include marketability and access to more repertoire.

Marketability pertains to more than just professional musicians. If you play flute and piccolo, you will be able join more ensembles and competitions than if you only played flute.

Maybe your local band is full of flute players but no one likes the piccolo. If you can play piccolo well, you might just get your foot int he door.

The alto flute is similar. If your community has a smaller flute choir, they might need alto flute players. The group might be overflowing with C flutes. If you show up with an alto flute, you will have a better chance of joining the group.

Then there’s access to more repertoire. While the piccolo and alto flute don’t have as much solo repertoire as flute, they have their own set of music. Piccolo and alto flute have their own parts in chamber music, and they can provide more depth to larger works, too.

So…

There are many benefits of doubling that flutists can take advantage of. Even if you just add piccolo to your routine, you will be able to play a lot of different music, and it can help your flute playing.

Be sure to subscribe below to get your free guide to practicing as a doubler.

Do you play multiple flutes? Which ones? Leave a comment below with your answer!

Subscribe!

* indicates required