[Editors Note: This article was written by Jason Antoon.]

Believe it or not, you can have a passive income playing the piano without booking any shows or gigs in bars. There are many ways to monetize your talent and support your musical progress financially. In this article, we will discuss the seven most interesting ones, as well as offer advice on how to get started.

1. Become a Private Music Teacher

Acquainting others with the delicate art of piano playing and imparting your knowledge onto them might seem intimidating even for the pros. However, you can rest assured that you have what it takes to become a part-time music teacher even when you are a beginner yourself. As long as you have some education on the topic, you can definitely share it with potential pupils.

Tutoring students privately means that you won’t need a degree in music or any other type of certification, although it doesn’t hurt to have one. Still, you will have to be somewhat competent if you want people to keep coming back to you. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the tools of the trade and advance your proficiency while making a dime in the process.

To get started, contact your local shops and network within the industry so that others will recommend your classes to those interested. Stick to tutoring true novices at first, as you can’t expect to be paid by someone who can outplay you on any given day. In time, you will be able to take on more skillful students.

2. Sell Samples to Other Artists

Patenting your original compositions from the beginning is the right way to go about things, even though you might feel like your talents aren’t as impressive as those of others. By holding the rights to your own music, you will then be able to sell samples of it to those that want to add them to their songs.

Instrumental tracks for modern pop or hip-hop music are often created by mixing and matching several samples. This means that a producer might like the beat or melody on one of your pieces and decide to purchase the license for it. This will earn you some additional income and royalties, so why not focus on it for a while?

3.    Write Articles for a Publication

Writing album reviews or reporting on the latest industry news is a great way to sustain yourself financially while progressing along your musical journey. What is more, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert on any side of the spectrum to pull this off. Becoming a music journalist doesn’t mean you have to stroke the ivories like Beethoven himself.

Simply put, you don’t have to be the next Yann Tiersen to write articles as good as those penned by Lester Bangs, and the opposite is true as well. Game Theory’s own Scott Miller is one example of an artist that is also a music critic in his spare time. Depending on the publication you work for, wages may vary. Just make sure to choose a magazine that rewards your efforts accordingly.

4.    Create Video Game Soundtracks

The piano is a widely appreciated instrument in the world of video game music. Japanese composer Akira Yamaoka is known for his use of sinister piano music, especially on the soundtrack for horror genre breakthrough game Silent Hill. The piece entitled Room of Angel from the fourth installment in the franchise is a mighty fine example of that.

This is a great opportunity to further your education, as you are met with plenty of visual cues for your work. According to the team behind the OST for Borderlands 2, games are incredibly immersive and interactive, which creates the opportunity for moody and tailored music to be created within the studio. Just imagine the things you could learn.

5.    Produce Instrumental Recordings

The piano is popular instrument not only in video games, but the song industry as a whole. Knowing how to play it can give you a huge edge over the competition, as it will pave the way towards becoming a producer. You don’t have to be proficient, but you will need a copious amount of musical theory knowledge to arrange tracks in an appealing way.

Nevertheless, if you have the skills, the path of your progress will be a prolific one. Take the example of Albhy Glauten, the genius behind legends such as the Bee Gees, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Kenny Loggins, and the Eagles, just to name a few. He started out as a keyboard and guitar player before moving his way up and becoming the icon he is today.

6.    Start Your Own YouTube Channel

Online content creators are today’s most influential people. Regardless of the field, you can be successful on YouTube as long as you keep a few essential aspects in mind. Construct your channel brand and get creative with it. Upload an eye-catching banner on your page, as well as an introductory video trailer that lets viewers know where you come from.

As long as your videos are educational and you find the right niche for you, you are bound to get monetized and maybe land some sponsorships as well, according to YouTuber Sunny Lenarduzzi. For more advice from Lenarduzzi herself, you can watch the video below.

7.    Crowdfund Your Creative Progress

Did you know that you can ask people for money on the Internet to do things with, and they might just give it to you? Crowdfunding is one of the many wonders of the technological age, and it is also something you can benefit from as long as you make your case. Be professional about it and state your career goals clearly.

Moreover, choose the thing you want to crowdfund wisely. Do you want to record your new album or pay your way through music school? Don’t forget to give donors a glimpse of your potential, or else no one will pay attention.

The Bottom Line

Getting paid for stroking the ivories is easier than you think, and it doesn’t have to happen after playing a show. Being a concert pianist might not be for everyone. If you can relate to this statement, try one of the seven career options above. Even if they aren’t your desired path, you will be able to earn some money while learning more.


Jason Antoon is a personal music teacher for adults and children. He runs DigitalPianoExpert, one of the best online resources for digital pianos reviews and tips. Jason has a Keyboard Performance Certificate from California College of Music.

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