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Old 04-08-2008, 06:03 PM   #1
Scott Jones
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possible MUSIC INDUSTRY JOBS

I've noticed here that many of you are young players, wondering what might be the best path to follow, should you really stick with music, so I thought it would be helpful to categorize some possible tracks to take.

With production education the possible positions are as broad as MIDI Engineering, Music Director, Producer, Program Director, Recording Engineer, Studio Director or Manager...the producer works mostly on a free-lance basis with T.V. production, theatres and production companies.

With a film score emphasis on arranging you can look at Film Composer, Music Editor, Music Supervisor/Director, Film Arranger/Adapter, Film Conductor, Film Music Orchestrator, Synthesis Specialist, Theme Specialist...the film composer is hired by the film's director and producer...the music supervisor/director is hired by the film producer. You may act as an A&R scout to find popular songs for the soundtrack.

With a jazz and contemporary music arranging focus then you could be an Arranger, Composer, Conductor, Copyist, Jingle Writer, Orchestrator, Record Producer, Teacher, Transcriber, Publishing Editor...basically a freelance gig, but sometimes you can find staff arranging jobs in studios or churches, cruise lines or theatre companies.

If you had a songwriting emphasis then you could be a Composer, Jingle Writer, Lyricist, Producer/Songwriter, Singer/Performing Songwriter, Staff or Freelance Songwriter...staff Songwriters are hired by record companies, music publishers, producers, recording groups...Nashville has many publishing companies with staff writers, for example.

Best of luck!

Scott
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:12 PM   #2
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nice tone on "stormy monday"
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:34 PM   #3
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thanks, this is what ive wanted o know for a long while - I never asked anyone though.

Its still not easy to live from music
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samerika
thanks, this is what ive wanted o know for a long while - I never asked anyone though.

Its still not easy to live from music


I have been playing for 28 years, and for the last 18 years I've done NOTHING else but play music full time.

It is possible.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:08 PM   #5
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excellent post...and I'm very jealous of you
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:35 AM   #6
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Scott, I've liked all of your threads so far (All the ones I've seen, anyways)-they're all jam-packed full of useful knowledge. While some of what you say may seem somewhat basic, like the treating people nicely thread, it is nevertheless extremely good to know and you word it very well besides; you're quickly becoming one of my favorite posters on these forums. Props for another great thread!
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lethalagent14
Scott, I've liked all of your threads so far (All the ones I've seen, anyways)-they're all jam-packed full of useful knowledge. While some of what you say may seem somewhat basic, like the treating people nicely thread, it is nevertheless extremely good to know and you word it very well besides; you're quickly becoming one of my favorite posters on these forums. Props for another great thread!


Thanks man.

You would think that treating people with respect WOULD be a basic and obvious concept, yet, far too many enter this business with the rock -n- roll rebel mentality. In the real world, in the world of "just playing professionally", success WILL depend on relationships more so than chops in many cases.

Peace,

Scott
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:14 PM   #8
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Good stuff. Very useful, I'll definitely keep this threat in mind.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:41 AM   #9
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I wanted to bring this thread back up, 5 years since I posted it. Still could be helpful, I think.

Update: I'm still only doing music, full time, as I was 5 years ago. I began playing in 1980. I began as a full time career in 1990. Haven't had a day job since.

It is possible.

Hope the information in the initial post is helpful.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:51 AM   #10
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^^^ Perhaps you can add a step-by-step how you managed to live off music full time. Contacts/networking/what you needed to do etc. Obviously its not as easy as simply applying for a position in the newspaper. This would help users actually achieve their goals.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:57 AM   #11
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I'll give a very oversimplified answer first. And when time permits, I'll put something something more detailed together.

Simply put: say yes to everything you can. Be prepared for anything. Do nothing with contempt.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:07 AM   #12
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I've personally made my living playing (live bands, churches and recording sessions), teaching (theory, guitar, bass, drums, piano), music directing, band leading, arranging, transcribing, orchestrating (at a 5000 member modern mega church for 18 years), from my home studio: composing cues for licensing in media, composing music on commission, orchestration for artists' music, recording guitar parts and solos for artists' music.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:21 AM   #13
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I'll just play a generic UG user for a sec.

I'm a 16 year old metal guitarist and I play in a band. What do I do now to become a session guitarist?
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
I'll just play a generic UG user for a sec.

I'm a 16 year old metal guitarist and I play in a band. What do I do now to become a session guitarist?


I have a pretty extensive post about this that I will post below, that is the summation of everything required to truly be on target, however, in the end, if you know your instrument inside and out in several styles, speak the common language of music, and are dependable...you'll get work. No one will be giving you pop quizzes on theory in a session, but your weaknesses will be illuminated by virtue of your lack of skill in the moment.

Here's a good path. It's worked for me, and before someone says its too much, consider that if you are unwillng to put in the proper time and dedication to master your craft, then perhaps it's not what you are truly meant to pursue.

What I did...and what to do...

So......

LEARN your instrument...inside and out...

Not merely how to play it, but about different tones, different textures, unique layers...

Listen to every kind of player...so when a producer, client or engineer asks for a certain sound, you know exactly what they mean...

Learn to read music...

And not merely read, but interpret...so when you see the style marked at the top of the chart as "Bruce Hornsby Feel", or "Rock Shuffle", or "Modern Acoustic Rock"...you'll know how to pull those styles out of your instrument while reading the notes, chord symbols and rhythms...

Learn about and be aware of every other instrument, every kind of player...you may be the one calling the shots on a session...asking the drummer to play a Bernard Perdie shuffle...or a violinist to play more Celtic...

When you feel ready...just go around to various studios with a diverse demo of yourself, and pass it along...play with players who do session work, and if you've cut their gigs, they'll put the word out....

Leave your ego at home...and while suggestions aren't taboo, be very careful not to step on the producer's toes...just do what they ask...give them what they've paid you for, and if you can slip in an idea of your own, make sure it's for the betterment of the projcect, not just an excuse to rip your own thing...

Listen as well as read...did the drummer and bass player decide to change a rhythm or accent? ...then follow them...

Always be ready to totally re-do what YOU thought was a perfect take...it may NOT be what THEY wanted...

Really, it's about relationships, and building trust over time...establish with the right people, that YOU are the go-to guy, and you WILL get work...

DO NOT over book yourself...make sure you set aside the time to do the session and stay til the end...it's great to be busy, but if you send in a sub to your next session, he may wind up with the gig more than you...

Don't steal gigs from other players...if the client likes you more than the guy he's been using, GREAT...but don't go around stabbing people in the back to get work...those people might be hiring YOU someday...

Own, or have immediate access to, many different types of guitars...

Be able to bring:

a strat or strat-like electric...really, having tons of guitars is good, if possible.

an acoustic 6-string...

some kind of mandolin or miniature guitar...

SOME ODD GUITARS TO OWN OR HAVE ACCESS TO:

a 7-string, a baritone, a sitar.....

know how to use a capo and alternate tunings...

have one guitar available for low tunings, with heavier guage strings...

Also:

Own many different amps or, own one excellent modelling amp...

And think outside the box...

A friend of mine in Nashville told me a story of a session he was on, where the drummer Steve Brewster, made a hi-hat out of two giant crash cymbals...and also in the same session, placed towels on all of his drums for one tune, then manipulated the tracks in a sampler to create some wicked drum loops...

So think like that as a guitarist...how can you use your instrument in a way that's different from the norm?

Also...

Do not be afraid to utilize the recording technology...

In other words, if you've been playing the tune up to a point in an open string, guitaristic key, like G major...and after the bridge, the tune goes up a half-step to Ab major...don't hesitate to stop the recording, put on a capo, roll back and nail the rest of the tune with the more open sound allowed with the capo...it will sound much brighter and clearer than close fretting everything in bar chords, with no open strings...

On sight-reading:

Learning the notes on the staff is not the same as reading music...so be careful...just as knowing the notes on the fretboard, is not playing guitar...

The best way to learn to read music, is to put yourself in situations that REQUIRE it during performance, and believe me, you'll pick up on it...

Read charts, while listening to the corresponding performance...

If you ARE in a playing situation with other that CAN read...listen to the guys around you that are doing it, and read the chart while they play it correctly...

Learn how to interpret chord symbols on sight (Cmaj7...Bb7b5...F11...Gm9...C13...etc...)

Don't be deceived, rhythms are as important (probably more so) than single notes, or even chordal reading...learn what rhythms sound like, and feel like...(much of the charts you run into, will have only chord symbols and rhythmic accents)

Don't be deceived, reading single notes on guitar is NOT that difficult...as some would have you believe (with regard to the "many choices for the same pitch" argument) ...read positionally...and read ahead...always considering where you are and where you're going to make positional choices area by area...

A fantastic book for this is Tommy Tedesco's "For Guitar Players Only"...if you can find it...

Read through piano scores, sax solos, string quartets (always with the piece playing)...other instruments reading methods can help you on guitar...

Learn to read Bass Clef (or the "F" clef) ...many times you will read unison to a bass player's parts...

And so forth.......

Anyway......the list goes on, but what is crucial is that anyone headed in this direction, should not look for an easy way in. Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.

Last edited by Scott Jones : 01-13-2013 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:10 PM   #15
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What Career choices exist for someone with a BA in Music with Theory Emphasis?
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Life Is Brutal
What Career choices exist for someone with a BA in Music with Theory Emphasis?


gas station attendant

you have the same chance as anybody else provided you have the skill, credits, and passion to back up whatever field it is you want to focus on. if you don't have a specific idea on what you want to do, you're behind. i know you were dual majoring so you'd have a safe backing, but it's important to realize how vulnerable many music jobs are - you have to cover your own insurance, paychecks can be sporadic, &c. - and that the clients will typically just want the job done.

if you don't put your all into (insert goal field in the wide realm of music), you're likely to get thrown to the wolves. like in any field, you won't get your degree then have somebody whisper in your ear a secret website with tons of relevant, reliable jobs that you'd be perfect for. you have to actively search, and at times potentially ***** yourself out.

want to compose? compose your ass off, and don't wait until you leave school. find some film students who are doing an indie production and work on that. want to produce? start saving for production equipment and meeting people around campus. so on and so forth

my .02 tho, scott's actually been in the game probably longer than i've been alive so maybe he'll have something more positive and less in the abhorrent realm of social darwinism

Last edited by Hail : 01-13-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Life Is Brutal
What Career choices exist for someone with a BA in Music with Theory Emphasis?


I'd think that composing, arranging, scoring for film and media would be be the likely paths.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
gas station attendant

you have the same chance as anybody else provided you have the skill, credits, and passion to back up whatever field it is you want to focus on. if you don't have a specific idea on what you want to do, you're behind. i know you were dual majoring so you'd have a safe backing, but it's important to realize how vulnerable many music jobs are - you have to cover your own insurance, paychecks can be sporadic, &c. - and that the clients will typically just want the job done.

if you don't put your all into (insert goal field in the wide realm of music), you're likely to get thrown to the wolves. like in any field, you won't get your degree then have somebody whisper in your ear a secret website with tons of relevant, reliable jobs that you'd be perfect for. you have to actively search, and at times potentially ***** yourself out.

want to compose? compose your ass off, and don't wait until you leave school. find some film students who are doing an indie production and work on that. want to produce? start saving for production equipment and meeting people around campus. so on and so forth

my .02 tho, scott's actually been in the game probably longer than i've been alive so maybe he'll have something more positive and less in the abhorrent realm of social darwinism


All of the above.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:54 PM   #19
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Sounds like a lot of work, lot of easier ways to make money for sure.
You'd have to be really passionate about it unless you learned to site read at an early age with piano or something. For the average 16 yr old shredder who's been playing for a couple of years, and can't already site read, the chance of them committing to all this is probably just above nil.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:59 PM   #20
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Yes, the worst attitude is "I have a music degree in _____. What jobs are there?"

The answer is none. Working in the music industry completely depends on you making a job for yourself. There is no hiring board, there is no career fairs, there is no HR. You become your own business when you want to be a musician.
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