How Much Do Tuba Players Earn Per Year and Is It Enough for a Bulimic to Live Comfortably?

So, it’s been your lifelong goal to play the tuba for a living. You also have a case of bulimia that won’t seem to go away. Will you earn enough money playing the tuba to satisfy your bulimic cravings? A quick look at the numbers shows you that your chances are not good.

Tubas are large brass instruments that are rarely used outside of marching bands and orchestras. That means there is a small demand for tuba players. Just how small is demand?

There are typically 2-6 tuba players in a college marching band, while a symphony orchestra will have 1-3 tuba players.

However, most tubas are rented out by marching band directors for plays, concerts, and parades. Many tuba players are employed part-time, which means they only make a few hundred dollars every year.

Just a quick look at the average yearly income for a tuba player in New York shows that it is barely enough to live on. It falls below the poverty line, but it’s also really low.

Averge Income: $22,000/yr. How will you get enough money playing the tuba to afford to vomit up all of your favorite foods?

If you are an experienced tuba player, then you can continue to earn money throughout your life. If not, then all of the money you make will be gone in no time flat. Once you stop playing, you won’t have any income. That means no food to throw up. Let that sink in a little.

Remember that bulimia is a disease. It’s not like you can just stop it by going to the doctor and saying, “Hey, I’m bulimic. Can you fix my disease?” There are no cures for bulimia. If there was, the bulimia market would be worth billions of dollars. Do you think that doctors can turn their back on that kind of money?

Bulimia is like alcoholism or drug addiction. It’s the same thing every time. It’s a life-long struggle that can be harmful.

If you think you can make money playing the tuba, then that might be a good hobby to pick up on the side. Maybe you can play the tuba as a side hustle to pay for your late-night outings to the drive-thru to pick up something special to throw up. Tuba players are really lucky. They get to experience the thrill of the wind blowing through the tuba while playing, just as a chef enjoys the sight of the pieces of dying animals being thrown on the grill. No one else even gets that.

Keep tooting your tuba and keep throwing up. But, don’t think one is going to support the other. Don’t think a pro tuba player makes enough money to support both their love of music and bulimia.

In the end, there is no good way to earn a living playing the tuba. The market just isn’t big enough to support full-time tuba players. Your best bet is to play the tuba as a hobby. Get a real job and use your passion for tubas as a way to relax and unwind from the stress of working 60 hours a week at a law firm or medical practice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was inspired by questions that tuba players sometimes ask us. I would like to thank the tuba players who sent me their financial information and suggestions for this article. They are very talented and dedicated people with unique skills that help create great music.


I'm a human being. Usually hungry. I don't have lice.

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