Want to make money doing something you love? Here, San Diego, CA teacher Lucas W. shares his tips for making drumming a career with 6 practical drumming gigs…
I made it my mission to find all the ways I could to get paid for playing the drums. I am fully self-supported through the money I make playing, teaching, and writing about drums. I even wrote a book that became a #1 Best Seller called “Drum and Grow Rich” — so I guess you could say I am qualified to give you some helpful pointers on the subject.
Let’s learn more about careers for drumming!
How Do You Make a Career Out of Drumming?
Becoming a professional drummer requires years of lessons and practice. Once you’re confident with your skills, there are a lot of drumming gigs you can turn into a career. Here are 6 careers in drumming you can start with today:
- Online lessons
- Corporate gigs, weddings, and parties
- Musicals, Cirque Du Soliel, and shows
- Playing local shows
Now, let’s take a look at what each of these drumming gigs entails and how you can make money doing it!
You may think that teachers don’t make much money, but I assure you that you can make great money from teaching the drums. Depending on your skill level, experience, and confidence, you can make anywhere from $30-$200 an hour.
Most teachers bring in about $60 per hour, which means even working part-time you will make between $2,400 and $4,000 while still having time to play gigs at night. If you’ve played with big bands or have the right clientele, you could make even more than that!
2) Online Lessons
Online lessons is similar to the above. If you have the right experience, you can create online lessons to teach others how to drum. You can film various lessons once, then create passive income from them over and over.
Online lessons have become a widely accepted reliable source of education, which is why it’s become one of the most popular drumming gigs. Although there are a lot of drummers doing this, the demand is high. And, remember, your skills and teaching style are unique to you so highlight that in order to stand out!
3) Corporate Gigs, Weddings, and Parties
Many drummers also seek this avenue for careers in drumming because it’s where the big money is at! You’d also be surprised at how easy these jobs are to get. With that said, you’ll have to make sure you’re offering something of quality, as you would with any drumming gig.
You’ll also need to take pride in your work. The more songs you can play, and the tighter your band is, the more gigs and referrals you will get. As you land more jobs, you can increase your rates.
I have booked and played gigs that I charged more than $1,000 for that lasted less than two hours. Not bad! I have also been hired for other gigs where all I had to do was show up and know the songs, and I got paid $200 for an hour.
4) Musicals, Cirque Du Soliel, and Shows
Are you a drummer that appreciates theater? Playing for musicals and shows is a great way to make money and have a more steady lifestyle.
One thing to know about these types of drumming gigs is that they almost always require above-average reading skills. But, the way I see it, even a drummer at a beginner level of reading can grow his or her skills to above average (musical or show-ready) in less than a year if you put in the effort.
The best way to steadily improve and work towards being able to play for musicals and shows is to read at least one piece of music each day. Practicing hits, time changes, and odd meter is also imperative for these types of careers for drumming.
This drumming job is a little different because it isn’t you directly playing. However, it takes experience and knowledge of playing the drums to be able to write well about the topic.
Writing about drums has allowed me to grow my reach to drummers all over the world and educate in new ways I never thought possible. You can make great money from writing articles, books, and blogs about drumming. And, the bigger picture to see is that writing makes you an expert.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have success from writing about drums and it has opened doors that I never imagined. Plus, you can do it when you want, where you want, and how you want, all while helping people and tapping into another aspect of your creativity.
6) Playing Local Shows
Now, this is one of the lowest-paying drumming gigs, but it’s fun and you can find ways to make a lot of money from it if you’re innovative. If you’re going to make any real money playing local shows or even touring on a small to medium level, you need to have a back end. In other words, you’ll probably want to sell merchandise.
You can play shows and get paid $20-$75 on average, but this can be a lot of hard work for little pay-off. One great way to keep fans engaged and coming back for more is to sell products like t-shirts. This allows you to increase your income.
Now you might have to get creative with this. Think about how you and your band can give your fans the most value.
Final Thoughts on Drumming Gigs for a Career
There you have it, 6 awesome careers in drumming! But, are you wondering how much do drummers make? A common stereotype is that drummers are known as ‘broke musicians.’ But, as you can see from the details on each gig above, drummers can make anywhere from $20 per hour to several hundred dollars per hour and possibly even more!
Which drumming gigs stood out most to you? Let us know in the comments below!
And, if you’re looking to grow your drumming skills even more, we always recommend working with a professional teacher who can personalize lessons just for you.
Lucas W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute and has been teaching private lessons since 2004. Learn more about Lucas here!
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