It turns out that being a music major doesn’t always result in lots of income, you know? Especially not when you’re still in school. So if you are anything like me, you’re looking for another way to earn some cash on the side, to fund your caffeine addiction. From some In-Depth Research (asking my music friends about their jobs and how much they liked them) I have come up with a list of some of the best jobs you can get as a college musician!
Receptionist (hotel or other)
I’m currently working as a receptionist at a conference center on my campus (as in, I am currently at the reception desk, typing this article while getting paid to occasionally smile at people and answer the phone). And if my little parenthetical statement there didn’t clue you into why this is a good job, I can tell you: never will you find a kind of job that gives you so much free time ON THE JOB as a Desk Job type thing. I define student Desk Jobs as jobs that require moderate writing and people skills, and maaaybe the ability to organize. Primarily, though, they involve sitting in a chair, sometimes overnight, with internet access and plenty of time to get your homework done.
Rating: 9/10, only because you’re going to be making at most a couple dollars above minimum wage.
Your local coffee shop
This one is great because while it does require time on your feet, you also tend to get free caffeine. Starbucks in particular offers a pound of take-home product a week, and health insurance if you work more than 20 hours a week.
Rating: 7/10, because tips aren’t always great and I hate standing for long periods of time.
High school tutoring
If you’re good at a subject, chances are 100% that someone else is bad at it, and would like help. Working as a tutor allows you to put your skills to work helping someone else out! You also have the benefit of being able to choose when you work, in general, since you get to work with the client to set up meeting times. The only downside is you need to tutor for a class with a lot of people in it in order to get enough clients to make decent money.
Rating: 8/10, because tutoring can be really fun if you like the subject!
Course Hero Online Tutoring online tutoring site.
If you don’t mind kids, nannying, or even babysitting occasionally, can be a great way to earn a little extra cash. If you live in, say, Chicago, you could make on average $12 an hour for keeping an eye on kids for a while. It might impact your nightlife, but it could be worth it!
Rating: 7/10, because kids are sometimes messy and gross.
Care.com online babysitting match-up site.
This requires more work to set up, but in the long term it’s GREAT experience for a life-long music career! It also makes good money – most music lessons at the LOW end are $20 an hour. This is because, if you’re qualified to teach music lessons, you’ve spent yeaaaars on improving your music skills. You’re getting paid for your time and effort, and to teach other people those skills you’ve spent so much time learning. You just have to get your name out first – I spent $10 to print out some posters, and emailed local choir teachers.
Rating: 9.5/10, because music! And setting your own hours! And good pay!
Some churches hire people to fill out their worship bands. That’s a good gig if you can get it – there’s only a couple “shows” a week, and the basic repertoire isn’t usually hugely demanding. This is great if you’re religious and live somewhere with religious organizations big enough to afford you!
Rating: 7.5/10, because it’s great work if you can get it – it’s just hard to get.
AKA The Person Who Yells At Freshmen. Being a Resident/Community Adviser for a dorm can be a great job. You get free room and board, and a stipend too. The problem is, if you go to a Party School, or live on a Party Floor, your life might be Hell. My CAs have a relatively easy job, since my floor is probably the calmest on campus. However, CAs in other dorms can get woken up at weird hours and have to yell at people. Basically, think of it as living somewhere rent-free, and having the authority to yell at people for being d-bags.
Rating: 7/10, because some people don’t like conflict. Me. It’s me. I don’t like conflict.
This may show my bias, since I come from a recording background, but working as a sound tech, either on-campus or off, is GREAT experience if you like pop music. The sound techs where I attend school met 3Oh!3 this past spring when they performed here. They get a ton of experience working with mics, cables, various sound and light boards, and also make a ton of connections in the music field. If you’re more on the tech side of music to begin with, try to find someplace where you can run sound!
Rating: 8/10, because places where bands are playing involve drunk people, and that might not be your scene.