#1
I'm planning to pursue a career that involves music, preferably playing it. I already have some vague idea of the things such a career entails (having empty pockets a good 9 tenths of the time, living in my parent's basement - Am I right? xD) but I'm looking for advice from people who actually play music for a living. Slacker, if you're out there, then please respond to my cry for help. xD.

As of now, I'm looking for general tips and advice on being a professional musician. That would include everything from being a session player or playing in a recording and touring band.
#2
just to let you know,

If you play a wide variety of sings that people like and you are good you could work on a cruise, it's a really good job. You get paid, free food n drink n a place to sleep.
#3
Quote by Brittanian
just to let you know,

If you play a wide variety of sings that people like and you are good you could work on a cruise, it's a really good job. You get paid, free food n drink n a place to sleep.



yeah cruise ship gigs are good, as long as you dont get seasick. really most musicians go into it thinking..signed band and or session muso. the fact is bands have to sell 500000 records to break even these days, you spend weeks in a minibus..often without accommodation just sleeping beside your gear (sounds great but believe me its terrible after 5 days!) and session musicians are few and far between...normally its the same ones used for years because they establish a reputation of being reliable.

really everyone from my uni lecturers, guitar teachers and friends teach in some form, play in functions (ie weddings, clubs or cruises) bands etc. I do these 2 and also run a small studio and its all pays the bills but its tough to get going and w/e you do you are more than likely not to make tons of cash.

one of my friends is a lawyer and jams with me. only about once a month because he is so busy and hates his work but he has a nice PRS!
#4
if music is your niche and your absolutely determined to have a career in it than maybe consider being a lecturer or some kind of academic whilst playing live on the side, all my teachers do that, and the ones who teach at my university are not only happy with their lives and jobs but are also very respected musicians and make quite a good living as university lecturers.
#5
Quote by IcedRth
yeah cruise ship gigs are good, as long as you dont get seasick. really most musicians go into it thinking..signed band and or session muso.



What requirements does playing on cruise ships have?

session musicians are few and far between...normally its the same ones used for years because they establish a reputation of being reliable.


I would imagine being a session musician as a reliable source of income assuming one is a capable musician and establishes a reputation as one.

really everyone from my uni lecturers, guitar teachers and friends teach in some form, play in functions (ie weddings, clubs or cruises) bands etc. I do these 2 and also run a small studio and its all pays the bills but its tough to get going and w/e you do you are more than likely not to make tons of cash.


I had something similar in mind to what you proposed. Any specifics on how to manage those jobs and what kind of training/work they entail?

EDIT:
if music is your niche and your absolutely determined to have a career in it than maybe consider being a lecturer or some kind of academic whilst playing live on the side, all my teachers do that, and the ones who teach at my university are not only happy with their lives and jobs but are also very respected musicians and make quite a good living as university lecturers.


While I highly doubt I'd be teaching at a university level (or even at an elementary school level), I think it wouldn't be too unlikely for me to take some students and teach them at the local music shop. Any advice on that?

And another question, any tips on surviving in the music industry? Or any handy resources I should look to?
Last edited by +}-136-{+ at Dec 11, 2008,
#6
is all you need for a cruise ship gig is a variety or music played well and to be likeable

If you google; 'starnow!

Go on that website and look at the cruise ship jobs that are available and look at the requirements.... They would usually want demos too
#7
The majority of gigs on cruises involve a high level of sight reading. Learn to read music extremely well (and I mean, extremely) and you can have a very successful career in music, playing not just on cruises, but in wedding bands, sessions, etc... It really is the key to a career.
#8
although bands don't really make a lot of money these days (or so I'm told) their are bands who make so much just not off selling cd's they make all their money off touring
#9
Quote by +}-136-{+
I'm planning to pursue a career that involves music, preferably playing it. I already have some vague idea of the things such a career entails (having empty pockets a good 9 tenths of the time, living in my parent's basement - Am I right? xD) but I'm looking for advice from people who actually play music for a living. Slacker, if you're out there, then please respond to my cry for help. xD.

As of now, I'm looking for general tips and advice on being a professional musician. That would include everything from being a session player or playing in a recording and touring band.


As far as playing in a recording and touring band, it's pretty much all covered in my blog 'So you want to be in a band? Parts 1 and 2' but for specific recording advice, ask axmanchris, he knows much more than I do on the subject.
As for being a session musician, I've only done a couple of session jobs myself so I don't know too much about it, but apparently if you can get your name down in as many recording studios as possible as a travelling session player who will play for a fee, then that's the best way to get started in that particular business. But you realy must be profficient in lots of different styles, be able to read music (although I can't) and be able to jam with almost anyone.
#10
Quote by +}-136-{+


While I highly doubt I'd be teaching at a university level (or even at an elementary school level), I think it wouldn't be too unlikely for me to take some students and teach them at the local music shop. Any advice on that?



I'm in high school, and I teach private lessons in my garage. I have about 8 students, and charge the US$ equivalent of 50 SAR per half hour (which turns out to be about $13.5 per half hour). But i'm an established and successful teacher in the area. I'm sure that if you were making a living doing this, you would be making a lot more, but still, you'd have to do a lot of side work to support yourself. and prep time and such for teaching is a killer...

also, kids don't show up all the time. for whatever reason. so make them pay for the month in advance.

if you have any more questions just ask.
#11
Here's something I posted in another thread a while back....


There can be really decent money in playing gigs. It's a tough road, though, full of balancing business with pleasure. Weddings and corporate gigs pay really well. You'll walk out of there with a few hundred in your pocket for only a few hours work - exactly what you're describing.

Problem is.... how many hours do you work in a week? Solution = hustle, hustle, hustle.... you've got to be out there pounding away to get those gigs. Of course, weddings are generally only on weekends. If you're really, really, really lucky you can round out your week with corporate events.

Problem#2 is..... you want to play Disturbed, not Neil Diamond. Solution = suck it up. Don't bite the hand that feeds. You know what side your bread is buttered on. Some people call it selling out. Professional musicians call it making a living. Smile and sing along.... "Sweeee-eeet Car-o-liiiine.... ba DA-ba-ba...." Sure, don't laugh all the way to the bank, but at least all the way to the grocery store.

Geez.... that's still only a few gigs a week. Sounds sweet as a teenager, but eventually you have to take on the real world. "when you're an adult, it's no cliche.... it's the truth..." (go ahead... identify that quote... )

So how do you round it out....well....

If you go to school for music and get a classical background, you can open yourself up for solo/duo gigs outside of your wedding band for other functions, corporate events, etc. People will hire a classical guitarist for whatever. Since there's nobody to share the money with, you do okay. Of course.... still no Disturbed. You're still sucking it up playing some version of Hotel California 'by request' (or even not....) right along side your Sor, Tarrega, Dowland, etc.

That gives you a couple more shows.... but you still need a 'real job' as an adult - that is, one that pays for rent/mortgage, food, car, etc. The poverty line for a family of four in the USA (I'm not American either, but they provide a handy bench mark) is $21, 200. For an individual, it is $10 400. That's about a thousand a month... just to live above the poverty line. Another point of comparison... take an average city.... Cleveland Ohio. Rent for an average apartment seems to be about $600. Then food, phone, insurance, gas, hydro, internet, spending, etc. Yikes.

So wadda ya do? Well... you can rent yourself out to bands as a hired guy. Need a guitarist? I'm your guy! I'll do it for $XXX. Artistic freedom? Nope. Now you're totally selling your soul. More Sweet Caroline. Maybe some Shania Twain or Dwight Yokum. Maybe some Bob Seger and Tom Petty. Who knows, really? Of course, you have to be able to sit down and learn these tunes on very short notice, and know them well enough to gig on them with one rehearsal if you're lucky.

Of course, you can't always count on those. Take on a few students (remember that hustle thing?) to help round things out.

So, now you're above the poverty line. You've got sporadic hours that seem to pretty reliably fill up your evenings and weekends, and see you working quite late. At least you get to sleep in. Or not. Because tomorrow you have to learn some Green Day and Blink 182 and U2 for a cover band on Friday, and you don't have all day because some kid is coming over at 4:30 for his lesson and another at 5:30, and then you have to eat and start getting ready to head out for your gigs.

And then at some point, you have your OWN kids and family to work into that crazy schedule!!

Still sound like fun? If it does, you have what it takes to be a professional musician. If it sounds pretty crappy, then..... keep music as a hobby. Or incorporate it into some other career path. (that's what I did....)


As far as recording goes... if you run your own show, you can make a few bucks doing basement demos. Mind you, that requires a fairly significant up-front investment. It is a balance of how much you want to invest and what kind of quality you are willing/able to offer. Of course, that too, will determine your price. Plan on taking some time to learn this. Recording is like learning an instrument. Give a person with two years playing experience a Les Paul and a hand-wired Marshall, and he will still sound like a rookie. Give a person with two years recording experience a U87 and an Avalon preamp, and chances are, he too will probably still sound like a rookie. It takes time to learn your new 'recording' instrument.

Getting a diploma in sound recording is great in terms of gaining knowledge. There are SO few jobs out there in real pro studios, though, and with many studios continuing to close up shop all the time, that you really can't count on that as a career angle.

No matter which path you take - recording, private instruction, gigging, rent-a-player, whatever... it comes down to your connections. Be the person that everyone wants to play with, both in terms of talent and disposition. Be professional, reliable, respectful, flexible, etc. Shake hands with everyone and get to know their names. The person who booked the band you jumped on as a rent-a-bass might later be a major talent-buyer for corporate gigs or campus tours. The rookie sound tech who does a not-so-good mix at some bar you play at could keep developing his chops and become a producer who will hire you for studio sessions. You really never know. And as much as the music industry has lots of people who will really support their own, there are a lot of those same people who can't wait to kick your ass to the curb because of some incident where you were a prick to them. It's all about relationships, favours, and proximity/availability.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Dec 12, 2008,
#13
Cheers, mate!



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
Thanks for all the advice guys, I really appreciate it. Especially Slacker and Chris, awesome advice. Though it does suck being reminded what real life is like.

Moaning aside, great advice from you guys. Gives me a direction, a goal, and the motivation to pursue them, something I've been lacking for a very long time. Thanks guys.
#16
In my future I plan on having a record deal and getting enough money to at least easily afford living in an apartment/bills/food. If I am not getting enough money to do that I will make music for a video game company and maybe have a record deal on the side.

That is my dream job.
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