Earning Your Keep – 100 Ways to Make Money as a Flutist

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! Today we are talking about the bottom line. The storyline of the starving artist is a common theme in books and movies and, well, let’s be honest, real life. But there are a number of ways that we can earn an income, both primary and passive, when we start thinking outside the box. The traditional “perform in an orchestra and teach at a college” route isn’t always available to everyone in today’s saturated market nor is it a sustainable model in an ever-changing, tech-savvy world. In today’s blog, I offer 100 ideas on how to make money as a flutist. Some suggestions are obvious. Some are off-the-wall. Some are super unique. All require a creative mind and a self-promotional spirit. Put yourself out there – You are worth it!

Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

100 Ways to Make Money as a Flutist

  1. Teach in-person private lessons from a home studio.
  2. Teach in-person lessons for an instrument retail shop.
  3. Teach in-person lessons for a college/university.
  4. Perform in a paid orchestra position.
  5. Teach band/orchestra as part of school program in a salaried position.
  6. Publish a book with a reputable publisher. Often paid on the basis of % of total sales.
  7. Teach music courses for a college/university (ex. Music Theory, History, Alexander Technique, Ear Training, etc.).
  8. Record and sell a flute album with a reputable record label.
  9. Perform at weddings in a solo or small group capacity.
  10. Host a masterclass (in-person). Require performer and auditor fees to participate.
  11. Host a masterclass (online). Require performer fees and auditor fees to participate.
  12. Perform substitute flute work for paid orchestral position (often flat-fee contract work).
  13. Serve as an adjudicator for junior high, high school, and college seating placement exams (often flat-fee contract work).
  14. Serve as a guest clinician for a school/college band and/or orchestra program.
  15. Serve as a guest soloist for a school/college band and/or orchestra program.
  16. Serve as a guest soloist for a professional band/orchestra.
  17. Host a recital, charging admission ticket fees.
  18. Serve as a guest clinician for a private music school.
  19. Serve as a page turner (contract work).
  20. Develop and sell practice guides, patented practice card manuals, or other useful pedagogical documents.
  21. Develop, create, and market a flute accessory (ex. cleaning cloths, flute bags, cleaning rods, etc.).
  22. Compose a piece of music and publish with a reputable music publisher.
  23. Compose a piece of music and sell directly from your website.
  24. Develop and sell instructional videos on your website.
  25. Compose an edition of a popular tune for flute choir and sell with a reputable sheet music publisher.
  26. Compose an edition of a classical piece for flute and piano and sell with a reputable sheet music publisher.
  27. Compose an edition of a popular tune for flute or flute choir and sell directly from your website.
  28. Compose an edition of a classical piece for flue or flute choir and sell directly from your website.
  29. Collaborate with an audiobook retailer (such as Audible) to read flute books aloud for a fee.
  30. Host a flute website with Google Ad Sense or other click-based monetization features enabled.
  31. Host a flute blog with Google Ad Sense or other click-based monetization features enabled.
  32. Participate in affiliate programs (such as those offered through Amazon, etc.) and post affiliate links on your various social media platforms.
  33. Participate in affiliate programs (such as those offered through Amazon, etc.) and post affiliate links on your flute blog.
  34. Recommend products on your various social media outlets under partnerships with product developers for %-based kickbacks.
  35. Offer editing, proof-reading, or ghost writing services on flute-related topics.
  36. Participate in sponsorships with product or platform designers and advertise their services/products on your various social media platforms.
  37. Offer fee-based coaching services for other flutists, students, musicians, and teachers.
  38. Host a podcast with paid sponsorships.
  39. Recruit at least 10k followers on Instagram and host paid Instagram Live sessions.
  40. Host a series of YouTube videos featuring performances or pedagogical discussions and monetize based on clicks.
  41. Advertise your services (lessons, tutoring, gig work) on YouTube, providing click-based videos sampling your work.
  42. Perform paid gigs either as a solo artist or with a group. Advertise your services on your website, blog, and other social media platforms.
  43. Speak, teach, or perform at a music conference and earn a speaking fee.
  44. Pursue an endorsement deal with a flute accessory company, flute maker, or other music industry company.
  45. Arrange a commission-based contract with a local music store who can recommend new flute students to your studio for a nominal commission kick-back.
  46. Perform in a military band. These often provide an annual or performance-based salary arrangement.
  47. Pursue an national fellowship or award for a qualifying music-related project (ex. National Endowment for the Arts grant, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers award, etc.).
  48. Participate as an affiliate for other books and guides offered through independent companies for % based kick-backs.
  49. Sell videos of your live recordings on your website. Offer videos free to concert attendees and package videos for those unable to attend the event.
  50. Produce music recordings for other flutists. This may take some time to learn the basics but once you’ve brushed up your producer chops, you can offer this as a service on your website.
  51. Transcribe music for other musicians. This may be for composers or other performers wanting an edition of a work originally composed for another instrument in the key and range of their instrument of choice.
  52. Take stock photos of the flute and/or flute players and sell them to imaging companies or on your private website.
  53. Research and enter various sweepstakes targeted at musicians (this requires more luck than skill).
  54. Record music and offer to Direct Sync Licensing companies. These are often connected to the film industry…
  55. Crowdfund your next album, recital series, or flute tour. GoFundMe has a large reach and features easily shareable links for your social media pages.
  56. Display paid advertising on your YouTube channel (and post a whole lot of videos).
  57. Serve as a substitute music teacher at schools in/around your community.
  58. Serve as a visiting lecturer/professor at a college/university as a sabbatical replacement.
  59. Create a flute or teaching app. This will require some upfront costs but will provide passive income once up and running.
  60. Perform on a street corner, shopping area, or farmer’s market. Keep your case open for donations. This is super old school but a classic way to earn a few bucks.
  61. Host regular YouTube live sessions (either performance-based, pedagogical discussions, or interviews with other flutists/musicians) with the donations feature enabled.
  62. Contract with coffee shops or restaurants to perform during high-traffic times (weekends, evenings, etc.).
  63. Create and sell ringtones. You can sell these on your website or offer through iTunes.
  64. Design and sell flute studio merch. Hats, shirts, keychains – All of these things can be created by companies such as VistaPrint or InkMonkey and sold on your website.
  65. Create a recording and sell through CD Baby. You don’t need to have a whole album – Just start with one track!
  66. Create and record an improvisation background loop in various keys. Sell the tracks individually through your website.
  67. Become a music manager for other skilled musicians. Help talented musicians land more gigs with your own networking skills.
  68. Play music on a cruise ship. This will require some flexibility in your domestic life, but the cruise industry often looks for musicians who can play music in various genres.
  69. Pursue a side career in music therapy and work with medical institutions seeking alternative treatments involving music.
  70. Host a summer recital series in a local park. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other musicians and share a piece of the pie. Form a wind quintet and perform standard and not-so-standard repertoire.
  71. Reach out to music companies offering sponsored tweets on Twitter. Visit SponsoredTweets.com for more information.
  72. Publish poetry about the flute with a reputable publisher.
  73. Publish poetry about the flute on your website, offering direct downloads for a fee.
  74. Sell instruments as part of an ambassador program with a flute retailer.
  75. Record and sell your CDs at the local farmer’s market.
  76. Earn print rights for your flute compositions, earning money each time your composition is printed.
  77. Create a Premium Fan Club, selling a monthly or annual subscription with various coaching or teaching programs or masterclass performing opporunitites.
  78. Organize a music conference involving your particular flute-playing niche. A flute-teacher conference is always a good idea! Charge for admission.
  79. Become a music librarian. You may need an extra side-degree for this but most music librarians are salaried positions.
  80. Sign up for MicroSync Licensing with YouTube. This is a way of getting paid whenever someone uses your music as background on one of their YouTube videos.
  81. Rent your home recording space to other musicians (if you have one). This is also great if the space is sound-proofed as louder instruments, such as live drum kits, often are silenced in private homes. Drummers need a space to rock out too!
  82. Record cover songs, acquiring the appropriate mechanical license for the songs, and sell them on your website.
  83. Go on tour! Arrange a tour around your state or around the country performing new and interesting music at a host of venues.
  84. Work with instrument companies to review and demo instruments on YouTube and Instagram for kick-back deals. Approach companies with products you like to see if they will compensate you for a review.
  85. Host an educational lecture recital, charging ticket fees. This is great for college towns!
  86. Create and sell and a digital guide for marketing yourself as a musician, available for purchase and download on your website.
  87. Provide performances in private homes (aka living room concerts). Wealthy homeowners can open their home and sell tickets to the event. This is great for a wine tasting event at a private residence.
  88. Sell your recordings on Spotify and earn kick-backs for every download of your songs.
  89. Create an online music course and sell access to modules on your website.
  90. Teach a music course at a local community center (ex. flute 101).
  91. Create and sell sound effects created with your flute. Movie producers are always in need of unique sound effects. Create something eerie and awesome and sell your sound effects through places such as AudioJungle or through your own website. It is best to sell sound effects in a bundle rather than individually.
  92. Create a Patreon account to offer behind-the-scenes content like documentaries, sheet music, and other exclusive content to your biggest fans.
  93. Collect royalties on your recordings through digital royalty services like SoundExchange.
  94. Sell old instruments. Purchase used instruments in not-so-great shape, overhaul what can easily be overhauled, and sell on Amazon or eBay for a profit.
  95. Learn to repair flutes and/or become a certified flute pad technician. Advertise your services on your website or in conjunction with instrument shops and/or school music programs.
  96. Sell old vinyl flute recordings. Historians love to dig into records that receive little to no play time these days.
  97. Create and sell creative flute-related graphics for blog posts, company logos, and other marketing needs. These can be purchased on your website or sold through a reputable company.
  98. Offer social media marketing services to companies and individual artists searching for a wider internet audience.
  99. Create a unique and monetized podcast. Think outside the box!
  100. Design and set up websites for less-tech savvy flutists. Market your services on your website.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com


Do you have a creative way that you earn money as a flutist? What methods in the above list do you find most lucrative? Which ones yield the most kick-backs for the least amount of work? What methods do you find most fulfilling. Share your experiences below!

Happy fluting!

-Dr. G.


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