How Do I Become a Guitar Musician?

Dan Cavallari

Your interest in playing the guitar can lead you down the path to become a guitar musician, but before you can start earning a living off the craft, you will need to learn how to play guitar proficiently. This may mean taking several years of lessons, or teaching yourself over an extended period of time. It may help to determine what genre or genres of music you have an interest in playing, although if you want to become a guitar musician by playing as a studio musician, it helps to be able to play just about any genre of music.

A guitar.
A guitar.

If you are comfortable with your guitar playing skills and feel you have reached an ability level that will allow you to become a guitarist, you will need to decide what your goals are as a professional. You may choose, for example, to join a rock and roll band, or you may choose to become a studio musician who plays music with others in a recording studio setting. You may also choose to become a guitar musician who teaches others to play the guitar. Depending on your overall goals, the steps you must take to become a guitar musician may vary.

Playing for a live audience can be one way a guitarist might earn a living.
Playing for a live audience can be one way a guitarist might earn a living.

Music education is a great field for anyone who loves teaching others. You may choose to obtain a teaching certificate and give guitar lessons in a school, or to simply offer guitar lessons as an independent musician. You can also be hired at a music store that offers music lessons to customers. This last option is great for the new guitar teacher, since the music store usually already has established contacts among potential students.

Most people need years of lessons in order to become proficient at playing the guitar.
Most people need years of lessons in order to become proficient at playing the guitar.

Studio musicians may work for a specific studio, or they may work independently and offer their services on a freelance basis. This can be a tough industry to crack, and you will need to market your services exceptionally well to get noticed by bands or musicians in need of a session guitarist. This is a great way to meet other musicians, however, and you will be able to make important contacts within the industry if you choose to become a guitar musician who plays as a studio guitarist.

Of course, you can join a band and play guitar with other musicians. This is usually an fun endeavor, but it may not be the best choice if you intend to make a living off your skills. Payment is often sporadic, and the amount you receive for your playing can vary significantly by venue.

An aspiring rock musician should learn about various guitar amplifiers.
An aspiring rock musician should learn about various guitar amplifiers.

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