Those Music Classes You Took in High School Could be Worth More than You Think

A lot of students completely abandon the music classes that they took in high school, once they enter university. For some it was just a form of entertainment while they were in high school. For others, it was a resume decoration intended to help improve chances of getting into the university of their choice. But if you have such a background and have abandoned it, you may want to rethink that. Those music classes could be worth more than you think, both in terms of money and opportunity.

Tutoring Other Students

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Most university students have a chronic need to make more money. Part-time jobs don’t always provide the amount of money that students need, not the least of which because the pay is low and you only have time to work so many hours.

But there is a rich market of students at the high school and elementary school level, who are looking for one-on-one tutors to help them learn a musical instrument. If you have learned to play an instrument in high school, even if you only made it up to the intermediate level, you may be able to tutor beginning students, and earn a decent amount of money on a regular basis.

Related: Five Ways to Make Money as a Tutor

Playing In A Band Or At A Live Theater

If you are more accomplished you may be able to find some work playing in a band or even a live theater. Musical acts are often looking for session musicians, who can step in and fill a role for a departing performer. The music field tends to be something of a revolving door, but if one person in a group leaves, there is a need to replace them very quickly.

As a session musician, you will generally work on a flat fee per session basis. How much you earn will depend on the band or theater operation, but it’s something like the musical equivalent of being a substitute teacher.

Working In The Music Business

Still another way to monetize your musical background is to actually work in the music business, and there are different ways you can do this. Most obvious is to work in some sort of a music shop. If you have familiarity with one instrument, you can generally work in a shop specializing in the instrument, but learn enough to sell others as well.

Related: 5 Advantages to Building a Freelance Business in School

Sometimes this can be a springboard into the music business in general. For example, the part-time job that you start out with, can end up moving you into management or even as a buyer or a store designer for a major music dealer, or a chain of shops.

Common Ground With Others

One of the most underestimated advantages of having studied some sort of musical instruments in high school is that it can help you to establish common ground with others. Even if you are not continuing to play an instrument in any capacity at university, the fact that you have in the past can help to create a social niche. At a minimum, you might be able to bond socially with other people who have played musical instruments in the past, particularly those similar to the ones that you did.

Related: Why You Need to Network Before You Graduate

Maintaining some sort of musical connection can help keep the interest alive in your life, and help you to relate to others. This can be especially important if you’re socially introverted, and have difficulty making friends otherwise.


You can gain instant notoriety at school and at parties by being able to play a musical instrument. Strumming a guitar or playing a trumpet or saxophone in a group of people can be an instant crowd-pleaser, particularly if you are at all good at it. And even if you aren’t, it can be excellent source of comic relief. Never underestimate whatever musical ability that you have. Bone up on it, and use it to your advantage.

Opening Up Doors Beyond Your Education

Just as playing a musical instrument in high school may have been a benefit to you in gaining entry at the university of your choice, it could also open up some employment doors later in life. Many people played instruments early in life, and some continue to do so now. If you still retain playing a musical instrument as a hobby, you may establish common ground with an influential person or employer to help you land a job.

In addition, just as it can be a social benefit when you are in university, the ability to a play musical instrument can also help you socially later in life.

If you played a musical instrument in high school, don’t be so quick to abandon it for the new life that you have entered. Your musical ability is a part of who you are, and a part that may have both monetary and social applications in your life.

Did you play a musical instrument when you were in high school? What are you doing with that skill right now?

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