Instrumental teaching in the UK is characterised by a lack of regulation and curriculum, whereby individuals can teach with no training or qualification. Kerry Boyle explores the way in which individuals who begin teaching can negotiate successful careers in music without formal training. Existing studies suggest that individuals in this context have complex understandings of professional identity, preferring to identify as musicians or performers rather than teachers, even when most of their income is derived from teaching. Boyle explores the complex working lives of instrumental teachers in the UK, including routes into instrumental teaching and the specific meanings associated with the role and identity of the professional musician for individuals involved in portfolio careers in music. Through an examination of the lived experience of instrumental teachers, this study highlights the need to revise existing notions of the professional musician to acknowledge contemporary careers in music. The resulting insights can be used to inform and enhance existing approaches to careers in music and contribute to career preparation in undergraduate music students.