Growing up, I loved learning as many instruments as I possibly could—starting with piano, then clarinet, oboe, and bass guitar. I knew from an early age that I wanted to work as a musician but narrowing down my interests to only one instrument was always a challenge for me. Though I chose clarinet for my performance degrees, I also studied music education to learn even more instruments and I continued taking piano lessons throughout all of my college degrees. After graduating, I pursued a career in music and ended up developing a portfolio career to incorporate all of my various musical interests and to create a steadier income stream.
While teaching clarinet at the university level and performing in orchestras became my main career focus, I wanted to keep playing piano once I stopped taking lessons after I graduated. I found a position as a church pianist which ended up being a wonderful way to keep my piano skills up since I performed new music weekly and this helped to motivate me to practice. Being a church pianist was also a way to create a steady, year-round income stream to supplement my clarinet teaching and performing income, which tends to slump in the summer months. One church position led to another and then another until I had my weekends booked with three churches, providing me another stable income source to supplement my main clarinet jobs. Since I was performing weekly on the piano through these church positions, it helped me learn how to manage my performance anxiety and nerves, which transferred over to my clarinet performances and made me a better performer overall. In this case, I not only created a more diverse, steady income stream, but I helped myself become a better musician!
Another part of my portfolio career has been freelance writing. I write and optimize marketing content for various brands through a large online marketing company. While this job has nothing to do with music, it has improved my social media skills and helped me to optimize the content that I create for my own personal social media and the social media sites that I run for my university clarinet studios. Once again, through pursuing a supplemental income avenue, I found unique opportunities to advance my career.
There are numerous ways to create a portfolio career that will not only give you a steady income source, but help you become a better musician. Even though all of the different jobs that you add to your portfolio career might not be in music, they can provide you invaluable opportunities to help you better your best in your music career, while also boosting your income. I truly believe that there really is no right or wrong way to go about building your portfolio career and every experience helps you become a better musician.
If you are interested in expanding your own income, there are some excellent opportunities available through Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, including the Ambassador program and the Woodwind Master Repair Tech Training. These programs help you build your portfolio career while creating another income stream and advancing your career. If you are ready to start increasing your income and building your portfolio career through the Ambassador Program, learn more or fill out the form to set up a 30-minute discovery call to see how Lisa’s Clarinet Shop can help you!