a pianist is making money playing piano

How To Make Money Playing Piano: 8 Proven Ways

August 26, 2020 Selin Gökova 7 min read No Comments

Searching for ways to make money playing the piano?

We can all agree that making money by doing what you love is such big happiness!

However, it might feel overwhelming at the beginning to find a way to monetize your talent and hard work. It might feel like there is a tough competition in the field of music, which may discourage you from pursuing your passion.

What most pianists do is give up. Giving up should be your biggest enemy since to make money playing the piano requires consistency and devotion.

While I can’t find the clients for you now (I wish I could though), I can help you get started so that you can easily reach your clients.

There are many ways to make money playing the piano, all of which are worth trying.

Also, remember that you don’t have to limit yourself. If you have a full-time job and playing the piano is only your hobby, you can still generate income by trying one of the methods I shared in my list.

I hope this list will inspire you to work harder for your dreams to come true!

Teaching Piano Lessons

Teaching piano lessons is probably the most common way to make money as a pianist. So many people want to learn the piano, which means you won’t have difficulty in finding your students.

What makes this method great is that

  1. You set your own schedule which gives you freedom and flexibility
  2. You don’t need a degree to become a private piano teacher
  3. Teaching private lessons is a great option for piano players with performance anxiety

You don’t have to be a virtuoso player to teach how to play the piano. If you are an intermediate player and you think you can teach someone how to play the piano then I would suggest you reach out to people who are interested in taking private piano lessons.

You can just search them by Google or contact your friends to find the potential students in your local community.

You can also teach online lessons, which seems like another great option due to the COVID lockdown nowadays!

I love this video by PianoTv. Allsyia is an experienced piano teacher and she gives tips for aspiring piano teachers while sharing her own experiences in the video.

Playing Gigs

Playing gigs is one of the most fun ways to make money! There are many ways to earn money from gigging.

For this, however, you should build yourself a repertoire for a minimum of 90 minutes. While you can and should also improvise, having that solid 90 minutes of repertoire will guarantee that you survive the night!

You should also have a repertoire that includes a wide variety of genres such as pop, rock, jazz, and classical to play gigs.

Check out these blog post that will help you build your repertoire:

The types of gigs you can play include:

  1. Hotels and restaurants 
  2. Weddings and cocktails
  3. Birthday parties 
  4. Any kind of celebration

While this method requires constant practice, the amount of money you’ll get will outbalance that. Considering that you will play for a maximum of 2 hours and get a minimum of 150 dollars is something to think about, I guess.

Also, if you are working full-time, this might be a great option. These types of gigs happen mostly on weekends, which means you can work on weekdays and play gigs on the weekends.

Starting a Youtube Channel

Undoubtedly, Youtube is the most powerful and popular platform to show and market your talent today. There are many piano channels and pianists on Youtube that make a full-time income by creating Youtube videos.

One of my close friends started a Youtube channel 2 years ago. He started to share his piano covers along with tutorials that teach how to play those songs. He also created some music theory lessons. In just 2 years, he gained more than 15.000 subscribers. The most inspiring thing is that he was a full-time college student while making this happen!

If you don’t know what kind of videos you can create that can generate money, here are some Youtube video ideas for you:

  • Piano tutorials: You can teach how to play some songs, techniques, or how to play the piano in general                                                                                                        Related: How To Make Piano Tutorial Videos?
  • Cover videos: You can make piano covers of songs. If you can find a singer, you can include singing by collaborating with them.
  • Original Compositions: You can share your original compositions. I know many YouTubers are making their full-time income by only sharing their original piano songs on Youtube.

One thing to keep in mind that to monetize your Youtube channel, you should have at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time within 12 months. While starting a Youtube channel is not a way to get rich overnight, the time and effort you put in will definitely be worth it.

After you meet the requirements for monetization, you will make your money mainly through ads. If you grow enough though, you can also make money through sponsorships, which is an amazing source of income since companies pay you a lot for that!

You can read my other post about Youtube piano channels to get more ideas.

Finding Freelancing Opportunities

By joining freelancing websites such as Upwork and Fiverr, you can find a lot of job opportunities that are posted daily.

For piano players, there are a considerable amount of opportunities in those sites. You can become a freelance piano teacher, help someone add melody to their lyrics, compose music, etc. The list goes on.

freelance piano playing opportunities to make money playing piano

One of the best things about freelancing is that it doesn’t require devotion. You can do one job, get paid for it and search for another job any time you want, which gives you a lot of flexibility in your working hours.

This post has very detailed instructions on how to use Upwork to make money as a musician, which I think you may want to read if you think about freelancing.

Playing in a Band

You can form a band with your friends or join an existing band. Either way, it’s a very cool way to make money since you have a lot of fun when you play with other people.

By playing in a band, you don’t only improve your piano skills but also gain knowledge about the different aspects of music such as networking and songwriting.

You can play your original songs with your band or play covers. Once you have your band, you can start to play gigs that I mentioned here.

If you are a classical player though, you can find other instrumentalists such as a violinist or flutist. Then, you can create a repertoire together that you will play at the gigs.

You can check out this video by Pianote if you are interested in playing in bands.

Creating an Online Piano Course

Creating an online piano course is one of the best ways to make passive income. If you don’t know what passive income is, it is consistently earning money from a product or service that you once created.

You can create your piano course on many learning platforms such as Udemy. You can also create your stand-alone course and then promote it through social media.

Starting a Page on Patreon

Patreon is a platform where you get paid for what you create. The best thing about Patreon is that you don’t get paid through ads, which is kind of hard to imagine in such a time where we are all surrounded by advertisements. Because of its unique approach to content creation, getting paid through Patreon is becoming more and more popular every day.

You can start a page on Patreon as a pianist. You can upload your piano videos, original compositions, or piano tutorials.

Besides creating your content, you should connect with your supporters there since they will be the ones who will be paying you every month. You should try to get as many patrons as possible since the more patrons you have, the more money you will make.

The best way to gain more supporters is to promote your Patreon page on your Youtube channel or other socials you have.

You can watch this short video that explains the idea of Patreon if you are interested.

Releasing an Album

Thanks to many professional recording tools we can easily reach today, it has become quite easy to record an album in your home with only your piano, mics, midi, and a computer.

You can record your original piano pieces or covers and release them on the internet, then put your album into streaming platforms to start making money out of it.

You can also try to organize your own piano concerts to promote your music so that more people would know you and you would sell more copies!


These were 8 ways to make money playing the piano!

This list may be a great point to start earning money with your piano playing skills.

However, you have to be hardworking and consistent in what you do.

Don’t forget that your success depends mostly on the time and effort you put into your work rather than your talent!

Which one of these methods will you try first? Which one does seem more promising? Do you have any experience making money by playing the piano?

Share in the comments below!

Selin Gökova

Selin Gökova is a neo-classical composer and pianist from Istanbul, Turkey. Holding an ABRSM certificate on piano performance, she's been playing the piano and composing for ten years. Wandering Tunes is her side project where she combines her two passions: writing and music.

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Hi, my name is Selin. Playing the piano and composing are my biggest passions. I've founded this blog to share everything I've learned throughout the years about piano playing and learning. I hope you stick around! Read More

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