Sorry if this isn't the right place to be posting this, but I really need advice. I just turned 18 and I'm getting kicked out of my dads place in Minnesota. My moms in Michigan. Both of them are alcoholics. I recently got kicked out of high school for possesion of oxy, which is a felony in MN, and I get drug tested randomly. I don't have a license, hell, I don't even have an ID. The only way I make money is by dealing because nobody will hire me. I know I've messed up big time, but there's no going back, obviously... All I've ever really loved and been good at is playing guitar. But now I feel like I've wasted my time playing guitar. It really hasn't paid off one bit. I love playing and i still will no matter what, but im really trying to find a way to make a living doing it. So many hours I've spent... Been playin 10 years now. Please give me any advice you can. What the hell is a guitar player supposed to do? Especially when rock music barely sells these days.. Everybody is obsessed with rap music and hip hop. I should've spent all that time studying for school. Im considering joining the military. I am SOL, please help
Well one of the best ways to make a living off it is to have a degree in it, and even then its no guarantee that you'll just wake up one day and have a steady gig, these days a steady gig is something you do once a year. The best way, from you've said, for you to start making a living would be to start doing lessons, and just start meeting other players. The more people you meet the better, cover bands and other GB groups will make you some money but unfortunately it's not enough to 'live' off unless you're really good. Hopefully other people chime in with other options too but to be completely honest it's really hard for everyone.

Good luck.
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I know I've messed up big time, but there's no going back, obviously...

That's never true. The only people who can't go back are those who don't want to. Mistakes in your youth make it more difficult, but it's never impossible.

Making a living off music is unrealistic. If you really want to make money, set your sights high and work hard. You took your beating, now it's time to get up and show everyone it can't keep you down. Always keep playing guitar, but look to other sources for money.
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That's never true. The only people who can't go back are the dead ones

Please, if I may ask you as a total stranger: do not join the military.
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You can try to live off of college loans.
Or you can always try to work at an oil rig.
I find that I can relate to this post in a way. The brutal truth about a musical career is that its pretty much equivalent to a career in art.....Its all subjective. You're success will be subjected to peoples opinions, tastes, feeling and even emotions. Its about having knowledge that is actually valuable to modern day society. People like Doctors, Lawyer or engineers have skills and knowledge that (dare i say it..) actually matter. It sounds horrible, and it is horrible, but that is my honest opinion about it.

My advice to you is to try to develop your interest in something else. Try going to school, community college or something, and try to find out what kind of things interests you other than music. Its funny because I'm am sort of in the process of doing this myself, and you know what? its not all that bad. Good luck!
In all honesty if you want a steady income drug dealing is a safer bet....

On a serious note, I understand you feel you've made mistakes and want to turn your life around - and that in of itself is a massive step, acknowledging that somethings not right and needs to change. I guarantee you one thing though, that guitar is not going to be your salvation. Never stop playing it, never stop enjoying it but don't look to it to rescue you because it won't be able to.

If you seriously want to get yourself back on the right track you need to change your perceptions of yourself and the best way to do that is to change how other people see you. You need to start doing some positive things with your life, they may be small things but if they have a positive effect, however small, on others then they'll have a positive effect on you.

Give blood, do some volunteer work - anything that will make you feel better about yourself and remind you that you're worth something. You can't change this overnight, you just have to start small with little achievable goals, the more you manage to tick off the better you'll feel about yourself and the more opportunities you'll be able to see .
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Do volunteer work.

Also, what dead sea said. A music career is hard and unpredictable. There are so many factors out of your control that you cannot depend on it. Plenty of average musicians make millions, plenty of good ones are starving. But don't give up playing.
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Last edited by sage76 at Mar 10, 2013,
Teaching is a relatively reliable way to earn a living in music. Get a very simple site together quickly (maybe even one page - you can always improve it later) with a photo, a bit about you and your contact details. If you don't have a suitable place to do it right now then you could go to people's houses.
I think very few people in this world can say they make a living at music. Its not something you go and do like a truck driver, lawyer, etc.

Sounds like a rough life, use music to heal and find strength. If your good and leads to a career power to you. But I would set your sights a bit lower to start like a place to live and steady income.
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There's lots of valid professions in the music industry, but often you've got to be prepared to create work yourself the self employed route, or even work for free for quite a while to build up credibility and experience.
Ditch the drugs, find a job. Get yourself into a stable position. Guitar will always be there, thats whats so great about it. But in the meantime you need some cash and a place to live and music alone isnt going to do that for you.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
well you're up shit creek without a paddle.
join the military, if they'll take you. I know our military is strick (australian) os im halfway though enlisting, but i dunno about the us.
good luck.
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Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
I feel for your cause and the position your in. So much so that it's motivated me to do my first post!...

As someone stated before, the fact that you ackowledge that you F-ed up is a huge step in the right direction. But it's only all said and done when YOU say it is bro.

Case in point, my big bro. He was busted in 2007/2008 for "conspiracy to manufacture and sell (a lot of) marijuana," which you probably guessed is a felony in California. After a boatload of family drama and heartache, he did 18 months in Federal prison (after being tried for up to 8 years), got out, and enrolled in a computer engineering school for a two year program. He 's been making six figures for a major american computer chip manufacturer for the last couple years.

Of course he busted his arse. When he's focused, he's SCARY focused. So be scary focused my brutha...

When a friend is in a similiar situation I usually suggest going through all your contacts and looking for any freinds, family or even aquaintances, for anyone who works for a privately owned company. Small business owners can hire whomever they please! Having people to vouche for you helps as well. An "under-the-table" part-time job may be ideal while you establish a following of students for guitar lessons.

The miltary is definitely what you make of it. It's definitely a viable option, but you still have others. Best of luck to you man. Keep playing.
I think there are ways to make a living off music that do not involve playing gigs or the like. Like if you learned computer programming, you might design a game or app that involves musical creation. If you became a lawyer, you might specialize in music copyright stuff. You could become a sound engineer. There are stand up comics who use a guitar as part of their act. There's always busking. Think outside of the box.

And the notion your past makes you unhireable is crap. You look around hard, you'll find opportunities. There are employers out there with checkered pasts. You think tattoo artists care about that sort of thing? A drug-related charge may not stop you working at a music store, either.

I don't think military would be worst thing to help offset your past, too. And to help save money for maybe a college education or something.

Always stay in a band. If your not in one, look for one. If you've been playing so long, you should be good enough for that. With the right chemistry, you could be among few that make it, or even just find enough small gigs to make some money even if it's not a lot. But just playing alone and building skills will probably not take you anywhere.