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View Full Version : Careers in ukulele?



oldetymey
04-08-2013, 11:32 PM
Lately Ive been attempting to make a career change, and that got me to thinking. I wonder if anyone on UU is making a living with their uke, and what they are doing. I dont mean superstar touring artists like Jake S. More like everyday grassroots sort of things. Are you playing weddings, and birthdays? Did you start a shop? do you play in the subway? Stuff like that. I know Ill never be able to put "ukulele player" on my 1040, but its nice to think about.

dkcrown
04-09-2013, 12:53 AM
Uncle Elvis? Ready to chime in?

SailingUke
04-09-2013, 06:29 AM
You know what is said about the music business. "There's hundreds of dollars to be made."

finkdaddy
04-09-2013, 06:50 AM
A friend of mine, Jim Allen, does this: http://ukulelewedding.com/

Stackabones
04-09-2013, 08:05 AM
A friend of mine, Jim Allen, does this: http://ukulelewedding.com/

But he's also playing guitar!!! ;)

***

Relying on gigs could be a way to make a career, but most full-time musicians I know, including myself, supplement gigging with teaching. In the past I've played more than I've taught, but recently I put most of my time into teaching instead of chasing down gigs. Note that I teach guitar and ukulele -- and that guitar is the bulk of my teaching biz.

ukeeku
04-09-2013, 08:30 AM
I only know a few that actually make a living at ukulele.
Trust me, reviewing them or having a site is not the way to go.
But.. Lil' Rev does pretty well by doing shows, fests, writes books, and hold clinics. He has to really hussle and grind out the money and he is always working. He is one of the hardest working uke people I know.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-09-2013, 08:31 AM
I sometimes play every other Sunday at a local Hawaiian Restaurant (Kona Kitchen) however, I haven't been very consistent about it. sometimes it's a cold/sore throat or other activities that interfere, but if I wanted to I could take it much more seriously, try to find a few venues, and cash in on those 'hundreds of dollars' :)

I played for a small shop during Christmas for $85 for a couple of hours. they called me back recently when they had an outdoor event and wanted background music.

I love doing background music... as opposed to 'performing'.

I also volunteer at a local Sr Housing facility for their memory wing, pre-meal, 4:30-5p on Wednesdays. Since my younger son's girlfriend works there, I sometimes play right after the memory wing, for the other residents at the 'Bistro' :)

Lots of opportunities, some pay money and some pay in other ways :)

keep uke'in',

Stackabones
04-09-2013, 08:52 AM
I only know a few that actually make a living at ukulele.
Trust me, reviewing them or having a site is not the way to go.
But.. Lil' Rev does pretty well by doing shows, fests, writes books, and hold clinics. He has to really hussle and grind out the money and he is always working. He is one of the hardest working uke people I know.

Do the Hustle!

Not just a request at Disco Uke gigs, but a way of life for any performing musician.

OldePhart
04-09-2013, 11:35 AM
You know what is said about the music business. "There's hundreds of dollars to be made."

"And it only takes a few grand to get started..." :)

UkeKiddinMe
04-09-2013, 12:19 PM
A friend of mine, Jim Allen, does this: http://ukulelewedding.com/

Very cool. :cool:

oldetymey
04-09-2013, 01:05 PM
A friend of mine, Jim Allen, does this: http://ukulelewedding.com/

that is very cool, and looks like alot of fun. In the right location I could see that maybe bringing in enough cash to scratch out a living for one person....

oldetymey
04-09-2013, 01:06 PM
Uncle Elvis? Ready to chime in?

I wish he would, I had him in mind in fact when I conceived this thread...

dkpianoman21
04-09-2013, 04:42 PM
In addition to my regular job as a supply teacher, I also teach music lessons on the side. I teach guitar, piano and ukulele, but when I first started out I only had one ukulele student; not even 4 months later I now have 7, in addition to a handful of guitar and piano students. Lots of people want to learn how to play the uke! There isn't a lot of money to be made by teaching ukulele lessons, but you never know where it will take you next.

haolejohn
04-09-2013, 04:55 PM
Uncle Elvis? Ready to chime in?

I was thinking the same thing.

thejumpingflea
04-10-2013, 10:15 AM
I actually make a living with the ukulele. My main source of income is through my online teaching; I give one on one private lessons to ~30 students a week via the webcam. It is absolutely incredible to be able to do this, and having a student base that is literally worldwide is something else!

I do have a couple slots still open if any of you are interested.... ;)

JT_Ukes
04-10-2013, 11:46 AM
A friend of mine, Jim Allen, does this: http://ukulelewedding.com/

JIm Is Retired. And plays ukulele for fun and profit :)

maclay
04-11-2013, 03:43 AM
Well, I build ukuleles for a living. Does that count?

Stackabones
04-11-2013, 03:49 AM
Well, I build ukuleles for a living. Does that count?

If the IRS says it counts, it counts! ;)

KoaDependent
04-11-2013, 03:52 AM
Lately Ive been attempting to make a career change, and that got me to thinking. I wonder if anyone on UU is making a living with their uke, and what they are doing. I dont mean superstar touring artists like Jake S. More like everyday grassroots sort of things. Are you playing weddings, and birthdays? Did you start a shop? do you play in the subway? Stuff like that. I know Ill never be able to put "ukulele player" on my 1040, but its nice to think about.

It's hard making a living at ANYTHING in Toledo.

hoosierhiver
04-11-2013, 03:58 AM
Uncle E has the benefit of living in a tourist town.
There is a guy I know locally (who will be at UWC) named Captain Kazooey, he plays kid's shows and does really well playing the Batman song and other songs kids love. I know a few other folks that do pretty well playing farmer's markets for tips.

oldetymey
04-12-2013, 04:36 AM
It's hard making a living at ANYTHING in Toledo.

Wow if that isnt the truth. We live out in the outskirts, and I avoid the city like the plague. Toledo is basically the armpit of Ohio at this point.
Its very hard, I have a good paying job that I basically hate, and I feel guilty about trying to make a change because so many around here have it so much worse.
Its almost like survivor guilt.

oldetymey
04-12-2013, 04:39 AM
Well, I build ukuleles for a living. Does that count?


That would be a dream job my friend, almost as good as playing for a living.