25 Best Side Jobs for Singers | Best Alternative Careers for Gigging Musicians
So, you’re a singer and you want the best part-time side job to fit around your creative, stage or recording work? The good news is there are plenty of flexible, temporary jobs, which fit a musician’s lifestyle.
Freelance writing is a great part-time job that musicians can do remotely. This can help you fund touring, gigging and recording whilst you work from home. There are plenty of other side jobs in music, entertainment, performance and
We don’t all have to work 9-5 to make a living but a lot of successful artists will have to fund their music at the beginning. If you’re looking to fund a career as a performer, have a look at what we think are the best part-time jobs are for professional singers and music lovers.
Best part time side jobs for singers, musicians and music lovers
- Freelance writer
- Sound engineering
- Singing teacher
- Managing an open mic
- Event promoter
- Record store
- Musical instrument shop
- Event stewarding
The best part-time job for musicians
#1 Freelance writer
Freelance writing could be for you if you’re looking for a remote work from home job with flexible part-time hours. This is the ideal situation for many gigging and touring musicians, especially if they are writing about music. If songwriting is your thing then you could use these skills for freelance and create the perfect accompaniment to your music career.
There are plenty of opportunities for freelance writing, and many magazines and blogs based around music. You could get the chance to interview amazing artists and attend big music events! You could use these opportunities to network and then make money out of freelance songwriting. Alternatively, you can go online through websites such as Fiverr.
What you’ll need: Good writing skills and experience, thick skin because you will get rejections.
Part-time music jobs
You can use your love and knowledge of music to make a living. A role in the music industry would help you to network and mix with like-minded people. Meanwhile, exposure to new music can be inspiring and fulfilling.
#2 Sound engineering
If you’re a singer who takes an interest in the technical side you might enjoy recording and producing other bands, voiceovers and solo artists. This is a really diverse and interesting part-time job and you can use your connections on the circuit as well as asking music venues and artists whether they need some help on the mixing desk. You can even offer yourself up as a backing vocalist or session singer in the mix.
Working in a studio can be demanding of time and energy. You must maintain equipment, handle your promotion and deadlines, although you are in control of your schedule as a freelancer. However, building up an indie record label and recording your own compositions can supplement studio work and provide a good income.
Overall, training and experience as an engineer or producer is a great education on how studios work and can help you meet other recording artists.
What you’ll need: Good knowledge of sound technology and good quality equipment. Here is our guide to setting up a home studio where you can find out more. Try rehearsing in a studio and get to know the staff before putting yourself forward for any opportunity.
#3 Singing teacher
This is a brilliant way to use your existing skills and earn a fair bit of cash. As a private singing teacher, you can teach from your own home, a student’s home and also schools or colleges. There is lots of demand for singing lessons, especially for children. The hours are usually after school time (around 4-7pm) or during school, if you are part of a music service.
Many singing teachers are self-employed and set their own schedule, which allows plenty of time for personal music commitments. It may take a while to build up a clientele, as this usually happens through word of mouth, but once you have, you can expect to be paid well per hour compared to entry-level jobs.
If you are passionate about inspiring others to learn and good with people, have a look at sites such as musicteachers.co.uk. They will host your contact details for potential clients and give you a professional presence online.
What you’ll need: Grade exam results can be helpful as well as some education in music, but it is not required in all circumstances. You might want to work towards a Level 4 certificate of music educators (CME) or another qualification like this. If you are considering joining a music school then you need to keep up to date with exam requirements.
#4 Managing an open mic
You probably promote and market yourself, so why not use your skills to publicise your own open mic? If you are looking for some extra income, managing an open mic can easily go hand in hand with music teaching and gigging.
Open mics may seem informal but take some organisation and effort to set up. You will get the chance to meet great people, build experience running events and deal with sound setups as well as participating in the grass-roots of music.
This can lead to organising other types of event like collaborative performances, charity events in the community and festivals and – as long as you don’t spend it all on beer – a bit of cash in hand. Altogether, it’s a creative and fulfilling evening job.
What you’ll need: Access to a good P.A. system and some knowledge of sound tech (or a willing friend) and a venue!
#5 Event promoter
The next step from an open mic is your own event. Promoting your own nights is not easy but it can be really fulfilling. Whether it’s a club night or live music, if you can get enough people through the door then there is money to be made. You will be in a prime position to make contacts with people in your local music industry and can even put yourself on the bill.
This is a great way to combine your own musical ambitions with a relevant side job. Promoters rarely get hired so it’s up to you to create the experience for yourself. You have to be careful with your budget as it isn’t uncommon for promoters to make a loss if people don’t show up.
What you’ll need: A great idea for a night, contacts with venues and confidence to pull it off.
#6 Record store
Working in a record store surrounded by music is a great way to spend your days. The past decade has seen a boom in vinyl sales, which has led to many new record stores popping up over the country. There is a good chance that one has opened near you and you could find yourself in the perfect working environment.
Record stores tend to be independent so they won’t be able to hire a lot of staff. Any jobs that are available are highly competitive so don’t expect to get hired by dropping off your CV. It’s much better to become a regular at the store and make sure that the owners know your face. This will help give you an edge over everyone else if any job does come up.
What you’ll need: A love and knowledge of multiple genres of music, previous sales experience and an ability to talk about records and vinyl with potential customers.
#7 Musical instrument shop
Loads of instruments and records around you all day, what’s not to like?
This might not be the highest paid job, but if you play an instrument yourself and would like more knowledge about instruments, it’s a good place to start. You are most likely to be working in a team of like-minded music nuts, who will understand your changing gig schedule. You might even get a discount to help you upgrade your gear!
Many music stores also offer instrumental lessons. If you start working part-time on sale then you could get an opportunity to teach. This could pay a lot more and add another source of revenue to help you fulfil your ambitions.
What you’ll need: Some knowledge of music and sound, and experience using different types of equipment.
Entertainment and creative industries jobs:
With your background in music, you may find it quite easy to work in other areas of the entertainment industry.
If you combine your love of music with an eye for photography then you may be able to create a nice alternative income stream. If you regularly attend gigs and have a decent camera, why not give this a go? There are plenty of opportunities online to learn about photography, lighting and camera technique.
Other popular forms of photography include wedding, family and baby, fashion, food, architecture and landscapes. Photography has become easily accessible and you can earn royalties for your images online. Most photographers are freelance, but you can also work for photographic agencies, or in public sectors.
What you’ll need: Good cameras and lenses, to develop a good portfolio or blog to help you store images.
You may be a ‘looker’, but you don’t have to be. If you prefer to be this side of the camera, modelling can be a fun extra stream of income. If you would rather not join a traditional modelling agency, try websites such as UGLY for more information.
Working as a model will also help you be more confident on camera, which will be a great help for promo shoots and music videos.
What you’ll need: Confidence and a relaxed attitude.
#10 Event Stewarding
At festivals like Glastonbury, you basically steward for your ticket. However, if you do a bit of research, there are many paid jobs at festivals. These usually consist of long shifts, sometimes over a few days so they are short term and diverse.
There are a fair few stewarding jobs on offer from campsites and car parks to security. You’re not expected to be crowd-control muscle machine breaking up mosh-pits, but it could help. You may even be lucky enough to get to meet an artist in the staff area of a festival or concert. Why not try an agency like Staff Heroes to see which flexible event stewarding roles are available year-round.
What you’ll need: Weatherproof clothing and shoes for outside events, patience and tolerance.
#11 Working in a theatre or cinema
Like music venues, theatres often need assistance before and after the show as well as stagehands and there are often benefits for staff, like being able to stand at the back of a show. Cinemas are also positive environments – and at least entertainment-related! The best thing about this is that evening and daytime hours are needed so this would suit any singer performing in the evenings or managing their music by day.
Also if you are into drama, check out auditions for local productions or try sites like http://www.castingcollective.co.uk to earn a little extra cash on the side as an extra in films.
What you’ll need: Most often some experience in customer service.
If you have a great singing voice and you’re passionate about performing and entertainment, these jobs might help build your career.
#12 Wedding Performer or DJ
People are willing to pay well for their big day and there is a demand for good wedding performers including singers and background instruments like pianos and harps. Likewise for good DJs.
If you have a good repertoire of songs (especially soppy ones) then you might enjoy doing wedding gigs. Or if you have broad musical knowledge and can get hold of some kit, why not see if there is a DJ in you? Just remember it’s about their choice of music and not necessarily yours!
What you’ll need: P.A. or DJ set-up and a good knowledge of music.
#13 Party entertainer
Entertaining at children’s parties, events and festivals can make a great part-time job. This usually involves leading songs and stories. There is also demand for ‘rhyme times’ for toddlers across the U.K. on weekdays. Experience with children is valuable if you plan to teach singing in future, and you could even consider taking this on as a business venture.
Regular entertainment slots are provided at an elderly care home, so if you have a really old school taste in music, this could be your audience. It will help you learn how to work an audience and tailor your approach (and setlist) appropriately.
What you’ll need: Enthusiasm, confidence performing.
#14 Hotel singer
Hotel singers in high-class hotels can earn a fair bit. If you’ve always fancied travelling to Hong Kong or Dubai and have the stamina for 4-hour sets, this could be the start of your international reputation.
This job is usually found through an agency so it is best to have a comprehensive press kit, which may cost some money to put together. You will also need to have a huge stock of covers up your sleeve in case of requests. Also, be prepared to perform with a band you haven’t known for very long if you are a solo performer.
What you’ll need: Experience and a very professional media pack.
#15 Cruise ship performer
Cruise ships always need performers and though you may find yourself singing covers in large supply, it is a way to get paid well doing what you love (and travel to some interesting places). There are various agencies cruise liners use to find performers such as Lime recruitment and they usually require an audition.
This role is usually contract based, meaning you spend a certain amount of time on board (usually from a single cruise to 6 months). It is typically hard work but you tend to get chunks of time off too.
In order to secure a place on a cruise ship, it’s a good idea to put together a media pack, which includes videos and pictures. It is quite a competitive market so it’s best to spend some money on making this professional. Find out more about building up your brand here.
What you’ll need: a good work ethic, a passport and a successful audition.
Flexible and low maintenance jobs:
So you want a part-time job that doesn’t distract from your own music? If you want to devote more time and energy to the promotion and creation of your own material and artist brand, consider shift and temp work like the following.
#16 Bartender (at music venues)
Music venues often need extra help so if you want to work somewhere with a great vibe and possibly have the chance to network and mingle with artists; this is the job for you.
Bar work is always in high demand, and once you have experience in a bar environment, you can take your skills wherever you go – including music festivals, and of course, abroad! So if you want a job that won’t tie you down to a certain place, and you enjoy being on your feet, this is for you.
What you’ll need: A smile, comfy shoes and a glass to fill.
#17 Personal trainer/Fitness instructor
If you have a healthy lifestyle and know a thing or two about exercise and fitness why not consider sharing this with others? For another flexible freelance job, where you can be on your feet, this job has scope for a reasonable income. You will have to identify goals for clients and monitor their progress. Usually, you will work in a gym, but you can even work on a cruise ship, in a holiday resort, client’s homes or in a park.
Getting your health into great physical condition can be a great asset for performing. Touring can be physically draining and if you want to play the big festival stages then you’ll need to move around and work it.
What you’ll need: Knowledge of health and fitness, a positive attitude.
Well, it’s a bit of a cliché that musicians and actresses work as waiters before their big break, but there is a reason for this. As this is shift work, it fits well around the unpredictability of the music business and a changing gigging schedule. Other benefits such as regular tips can keep you ticking along quite nicely.
You’re in good company here. Mariah Carey, Carley Rae Jepson and Lady Gaga all worked as restaurant servers before making it in music. Sarah Bareilles even used her experience to inspire the music for a hit Broadway musical ‘Waitress.’
What you’ll need: To be friendly – and not too clumsy!
#19 Temp office worker
Here is a sensible option for vocalists looking for a part-time job which won’t take over their lives. Temp work has a start and end date which will allow you to plan ahead. These roles typically involve working in an office, answering phones and organising schedules and are well paid compared to jobs in entertainment, as well as retail and hospitality.
If this sounds like the perfect between-tour job for you, consider joining a temping agency. This way you will not have to waste your time applying for these jobs and you are free to accept or refuse the particular assignments offered.
What you’ll need: To be organised and personable.
#20 Private tutor
If you have a few qualifications under your belt, consider tutoring. Like music lessons, this is 1-1 teaching and can fit around your own schedule. Usually, this work involves preparing a student for qualifications and exams – so you may have to recap yourself. A session usually lasts an hour and can take place in your home or the students.
There are also opportunities to tutor online for with a global reach and you may want to consider completing a TEFL course and teaching English online. This is a flexible form of tutoring with worldwide demand.
What you’ll need: Relevant qualifications and confidence teaching.
#21 Babysitter (or pet sitter)
Babysitting varies a lot, depending on the child and circumstance – so be warned, it can be quite demanding. But if you enjoy being around babies and children, this is an option for you. You may end up with a couple of hours to do some music admin after bedtime hours, but you really need to know your stuff and be able to solve problems.
If you’re lucky you might even find their children are interested in trying out a music lesson or two. Or of course, you could just look after a lazy cat.
What you’ll need: Knowledge about children and/or pets.
#22 Call centre operative
Put your beautiful singing voice to other use in a call centre. Call centre operators answer enquiries from customers by telephone, text, email, web chat and post.
It’s shift based, reasonably paid and flexible work which you can often get into through temporary positions. The best thing is there are a lot of call centres, and because it is an entry-level job there are often younger people in these roles, so if you are friendly (and don’t mind dealing with the odd aggressive customer) this one is for you!
What you’ll need: A good phone manner.
#23 Uber/delivery driver
Do you have a driving license and insured car? You’re in luck as there are loads of part-time jobs involving driving. One of the most common is working for Uber. All you have to do is pick up passengers and transport them from place to place as requested on the app. You can listen to music on the way and who knows who might get into your car. This is a job that has no strings attached, so if the offer of a gig comes up on the day, you’re covered.
If you are a responsible driver but you’re not a people person, maybe you would find delivering takeaways more inspiring? There is plenty of demand from companies such as JustEat and Deliveroo. The work is quite flexible however, this is predominantly evening and weekend work so it’s not ideal for people with regular gigs. It would be a much better fit around music lessons or studio work.
To really squeeze every last penny out of your car, check out websites where you can rent your car out to people.
What you’ll need: Safe driving experience, a clean car and a smartphone. There is also a background check and training required.
#24 Exam invigilating
Another role which is not very punk; exam invigilating comes up a couple of times a year for a set few weeks. It requires you to take responsibility for the security of an exam and equal opportunities for students.
Like temping, it’s a good way to stash away some cash before the festival season gets going. Although it’s not the most exciting of jobs, if you enjoy peace and quiet, you’re responsible and can fill out a bit of paperwork, then keep an eye out before May and January exams. This is when schools, colleges and universities will be advertising vacancies and there will be plenty of opportunities.
What you’ll need: Administrative and communications skills.
Well, it’s a bit run of the mill, but here’s a job you can leave at work. You don’t need to worry about the administration you do in self-employment, and usually, there is only a short contract. Experience in retail can give you the credibility for music retail too. It’s much better to work part-time as full-time hours could make you too stressed out to make music.
What you’ll need: To be friendly and able to handle customers.
What are the best jobs for gigging musicians?
If you are a gigging musician, chances are your schedule is unpredictable. You may need to keep your evenings and weekends pretty free, as including time for set up and the process of getting the gigs; this is a time-consuming job in itself.
However, there are prospects for gigging musicians to make money remotely from their home online, either through their own business, studio work and private tuition, as listed above. Uber driving is another option, which is flexible and because you eliminate time to getting to work, it leaves you with more time to yourself.
What do you need to know about singing jobs in hotels?
If you enjoy entertaining, you have a reliable voice and stage presence, this may have your name written all over it. But this role can be quite demanding, often with 3-4 hour performances 6 times a week. Working as a cruise ship performer is a good route in, and it is helpful to join an agency who can help set you up with a band.
What are the best part-time jobs for artists?
As an artist, you don’t want to overload yourself with job-related work. Instead of compromising on your own material to earn money, you need a job that you can leave at work in order to dedicate more time to crafting your music as well as building your brand.
Many part-time jobs can supplement your gigging schedule if you are a new artist trying to build your career so consider flexible and temp work, which won’t eat into your music time. Other ways of making money from your music, such as live performance royalties and CD sales can help you maximise the income of your own material at the same time as building your reputation. Check out this article on PRS for more information on this.
Which other jobs did famous musicians have?
- Art Garfunkel was a Maths teacher.
- Freddy Mercury ran a vintage clothing market stall.
- David Bowie was a butcher’s assistant.
- Calvin Harris was a shelf stacker.
- Madonna was a doughnut seller.
- George Ezra was a sweet shop factory assistant (and used to nick sweets!)
How can you manage your music commitments around your full-time job?
Think ahead, use a diary and make sure you choose the right kind of job. Read our article on how to boost your productivity as a musician.
Are you a musician working part-time? Tell us about your job in the comments below.