Irrespective of whether you have just started to learn how to play the guitar or you have been a pro for years, that image of being on the stage and playing in front of a magnificent crowd is all you can picture yourself doing. However, not every budding guitarist gets to live that dream, so having a ‘Plan B’ wouldn’t hurt.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely do away from the world of music and start thinking about a desk job. If you do believe that no matter what, ‘music is your calling,’ then there’s still plenty that you can do.
Staying in the industry will keep you close to something you love and enable you to keep those rockstar dreams alive. However, if you are not able to fulfill those dreams for some reason, you can still have an illustrious career in the industry that will reward you for the rest of your life.
Here are some paths that you can navigate along in the music industry as a guitarist.
Cover band guitarist
Cover bands are a hot property amongst the music lovers of today. Adapting a piece curated by a famous band or musician in your own style can help you mint a lot of money. An excellent cover band is often booked for months in advance.
However, there’s a slight personal setback because people expect you to play popular music that they enjoy rather than an original piece of yours in this position. So, you might have to learn how to recreate music that you might not specifically like yourself. Nevertheless, there is always an option to reinvent a cover band once you have amassed good enough popularity and switch to music you are all willing to play.
Songwriter and music composer
Quite a few guitarists you’ll ever get to meet are inherently going to be great songwriters too. Almost all the GOATs, as we call them today, including Van Halen, Rhoads, Hendrix, or Page, wrote their own music.
But, a fantastic pop singer with a remarkable voice probably cannot put those verses together and needs somebody to work on the lyrics to help them become a star or rather keep their stardom. Furthermore, if you can develop a knack for coming up with exciting and attractive pieces, a lot more commercial avenues open up. You could work on product jingles, TV shows, movies, theatre, and more.
Helping a few budding guitarists hone their skills to make a little bit of money on the side for yourself is never a bad idea. You might also take up full-time roles at a school or a university to teach various music programs to your music enthusiasts.
However, teaching is not as simple as sitting in a huddle and disseminating the tricks of the trade. You would need proper education, probably a Bachelor’s Degree in some form of music study, and the education credits required for teaching in your locality.
Taking this route will keep all other career options open in the industry while providing you with the financial stability you need to invest all your energy towards being your creative self.
If you just simply love being within the ‘guitar world,’ writing and telling people more about it is another way to monetize your passion and time. Enormous music and guitar magazines are always on the lookout for industry experts who can come up with content that their readers will enjoy.
Nevertheless, this career does require a bit of writing or marketing acumen, so it might not work for all the guitarists out there.
Music can be a powerful medium to help people alleviate psychological distress. Music therapy is a proven tool that can be used for anxiety reduction, depression, pain management, coping with stress, self-expression, and much more.
Music therapists use techniques like relaxation, guided imagery, and improvisation, and they incorporate sound, music, and rhythm to engage clients. This can be an extremely fulfilling career choice for you as a guitarist.
However, there can be a significant academic or training barrier that you might have to climb before going down this road.
These were just a few examples, but hundreds of other music careers for guitarists have nothing to do with being a rock star, and they can be very rewarding.