Does music live in your heart and hands? Can you play an instrument? Or edit raw music files into perfect songs? If you have a talent for making music or a fine ear, you could turn your skills into a work-from-home income! Ready to learn how? Great, because I’m ready to tell you how – from defining just how you can make money with music to seven of the best places online to turn your musical sensibilities into an online job.
How to Make Money with Music
When you’re considering how to create an income out of your skills with music and instruments, it’s important that you understand just how many different ways you can approach this type of work-from-home career.
You can teach people how to play. Whether you’re most proficient with guitar, violin, keyboard, a wind instrument (or something else), you can share your hardwon skills with other students eager to learn. From video calls to recorded lessons, you can demonstrate fingering, tempo, and more to paying customers.
You can play for people. Sometimes, people just need some custom music recorded – either from music they’ve already had written or as a complete original written by you. Musical composition and recording for podcasts, ads, video games, and so forth can pay a pretty penny.
You can edit for people. If your passion for music goes into the production arena, there’s no end to the services you can offer companies and individuals. You can master files for fellow musicians, remix sound for any number of projects, and edit audio content.
You can share your music. Last, but not least, you can pursue your own creative career in music. Compose and record original music with or without accompanying vocals and build your audience online. Websites like Soundcloud and Bandcamp make it easy to share your music with a paying audience.
Preply is a platform custom-built to help musicians (and other teachers) connect with students. Once you apply and register with them as a tutor, you have access to their stable student base and can begin advertising your services. You establish your own working schedule and your own rate; Preply provides a custom landing page for your services and secure payments to your bank account (or another payment method of your choice). You'll be available in their search results for students to discover, and your visibility in those results will depend on your availability and reviews from students. They advertise that popular tutors can make up to $550 each week. While Preply keeps 100% commission on your first lesson with each student, they only take 18% to 33% on each subsequent lesson – and the more you tutor with them, the less they keep.
Skillshare is another platform that connects those with something to teach to those who wish to be taught – but it provides even more flexibility to teachers. On Skillshare, you build your courses in recorded lessons rather than live sessions. Their platform is based on self-paced and digestible learning for their subscribers, along with project-based and community-based learning. Build a class around learning how to sight read music, the basics of banjo playing, or how to master music files. Earnings on Skillshare are based on how many minutes subscribers spend watching your classes, and you can earn on referrals as well ($10 for every student you refer that signs up for a Premium Membership). How much you make will therefore depend on the popularity of your classes, and Skillshare says their top teachers can make up to $100,000 per year.
Udemy operates in a way very similar to Skillshare, empowering teachers to connect with students anywhere. Film your classes with the equipment you have, whether DSLR or smartphone, and create courses in whatever visual format you want whether you appear on camera or simply use visuals. (If you're teaching an instrument, you'll probably need to at least feature your hands on camera!) With Udemy, however, your students purchase your particular course and you're paid monthly via Paypal or Payoneer. How much you make from each student purchase varies according to pricing and whether you’re in a Udemy Marketing Program – the base standard seems to be about 50% of the net amount received for your course.
4. Live Music Tutor
Live Music Tutor helps you set up one-on-one private lessons and group lessons online – you can even work with after-school programs. They work with teachers of many instruments (including voice), and you can teach all ages and skill levels. You decide just how much you teach – you can put together a full course or just teach a little, and you create your own schedule. To get started, create an instructor account, accept their terms, and build your profile. You'll also need to submit a W-9 (though you’re still considered an independent contractor) and pass a background check. They pay via direct deposit, and you can expect to make 80% of your total lesson revenues with lessons costing students between $25 to $60.
5. Take Lessons
With Take Lessons, you can teach a variety of creative skills – including various instruments and singing. They provide a platform that can connect you to local students as well as online students, so you control whether you work from home or a public place like a nearby library. It's easy to get started with them and simply involves creating a profile, agreeing to their independent contractor terms, and successfully clearing a background check. You get to keep 90% of the lesson price and they pay weekly via direct deposit. Teach when and what you want so that you can focus on your music career.
6. LinkedIn Learning
Have you had good luck networking on LinkedIn? Carry that cachet further by offering music lessons via LinkedIn Learning. This would be a good place for instructors skilled in professional development of other music creators (or music-adjacent positions, like sound editors) along with audio and music. You'll have to apply for the chance to become an instructor, and your application requires that you submit a sample movie so they can get a feel for your teaching style. It looks like LinkedIn Learning operates on a revenue sharing model, meaning you get paid depending on how many hits/watches your lessons receive.
Care2Rock provides a way both to generate an income through online lessons and give back to the world by teaching free music lessons to kids in foster care (for up to one year). Set your own schedule and record your lessons so students can pace themselves. Care2Rock also provides superior technology for web conferencing your lessons and is compliant with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Some experience is required – if you're a teacher, you must have taught music for at least 2 years and if you're a working musician, you must have at least 4 years of relevant professional experience. You'll also be required to undergo a background check. You're paid based on the length of your lessons offered – each lesson can net you between $20 to $36, while the additional volunteering will get you a bonus at the end of the year. They pay weekly via Stripe.
Jamming on your guitar is just a camera away from becoming a revenue stream – so don’t miss out on these great opportunities if you’ve got the musical skills to share. And let us know – what’s your favorite way to make money on teaching music from home?