#1
My plan until spending time in this place was to finish high-school, hopefully with some band experience under my belt, then do a basic general degree, and start a band in uni. I would then do my best to promote and advance the band, but if it doesn't go far enough to sustain me, get a normal 9/5 job, and keep on at the band as a hobby.

By the way, I'm what I think is a freshman - I'll be out of school in 2011 and I'm 15 now.

After reading a lot of threads here, I keep seeing people advising against back-up plans, because they encourage you not to be dedicated or whatever. But that means, that if you do fail, you're fucked, and useless. Bands like Guns N Roses didn't even graduate high school, and they did alright, but so many others did the same thing, and are now working in Mcdonalds.

The other problem is my parents - my dad chose his degree poorly, and has had to work really hard to support us for his whole life. Therefore, he is very insistent on me getting a good degree, so I can get a good job, and not make the same mistakes as him. The problem is, whenever I try and think of a future, I can't see myself doing anything other than music, but I feel vaguely ashamed of it. I would talk about it with him/them, but right now, I have nothing to show I'm capable of it, except for a half-arsed solo career, and two bands that won't take off at all.

For some of the older members - do you have two jobs? Is music your only income source? If you have families, can you support them comfortably?

Tl;dr: So how fatal is having a back-up plan? Honestly
#2
I say you should always have a backup plan cause you can always quit the 9-5 job if your band starts to take off.
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#4
i worked my way through college and now im employed, but every hour im not working im either practicing with my band or playing (with) my instrument.

Guns N Roses also use to work for the venues they use to play at, they'd play, then clean up the mess next day.

You'll find it so much easier having a succesfull band if you have a job aswell, otherwise how are you gunna get amps and gear good enough to gig with and advance with?
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#5
This is what got me thinking:

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And finally, you're not going to get anything unless you get up and get it TODAY. You are NOT going to be "in the right place at the right time." Forget it, it's a fairy tale. Work for every inch. Sacrifice whatever is necessary. Throw away your "back up plan," it's BS. The only musicians that are going to make it these days are the ones that have made up their minds that they are going to make it, and that's it.
#6
If you're hard working enough, there is no reason you can't be in a band and work on a degree at the same time. I'm doing that right now, and we manage to find time to record, gig, rehearse, while I still have the necessary time to get my **** done.
By the way, there's no reason your degree can't advance your musical career, especially if you choose a less common degree. Not too many people have degrees in electro-acoustic studies, and with that you'd be able to work on composition, studio engineering, sound manipulation... A whole bunch of careers open up to you. Or you could study physics (specifically the physics of sound waves) and go into speaker design, which is a pretty lucrative business.
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#7
You need to give yourself a future. It's just all there is.

People have this romantic view that you have to forget everything else and just do music, but they casually brush over the 99% who never made anything from music and screwed up everything. Everyone thinks they will be the one for whom it'll come up roses.

Get yourself something you can possibly fall back on. Hell, either way, uni is a great place to start a band. Most bands start there.
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#9
This is such a tough call....

Here is my background, as I feel it is relevant to your question. I was like you in high school. Music was pretty much everything. At the same time, I wanted a future with a good job to fall back on in the event that music didn't pan out. I got my honours degree in music (classical guitar), and played in bands throughout university. I then went to teachers' college and became a certified teacher. Music never did work out for me as a career, but I am in my twelfth year of teaching in public schools. Some of those years have been teaching music, and most have been teaching grade five. I make good money, have a wife, three kids, a mortgage on a nice house, and love my job. (most of the time... )

So, looking back on it, I had often asked myself why music didn't pan out as a career. It's not like I'm not a good enough player. I have an honours degree in classical guitar. I genuinely feel that I can play damned near anything.

So, why not? Well... the short answer is that I didn't commit myself to making it in music as much as I committed myself to being successful within the bigger picture.

The longer answer....

I had tons of homework - essays, harmony, counterpoint, etc. I did that instead of learning about how the music industry works.

I made my studies my priority while I played in bands. I didn't make getting involved in the music community and gigging every chance I had my priority.

I stayed in Hamilton. That's where I was doing my degree. I didn't go live in a city where the music industry was actually happening all around me.

I practiced my ass off for literally two to three hours a day learning advanced classical repertoire, which was a prerequisite of my studies. I didn't spend my time networking with other musicians in a field that I wanted to be a part of.

I invested thousands and thousands of dollars in my education. I did not invest it in pro gear that would allow me to play professionally in the many varied and diverse contexts a pro guitarist would be expected to play in.

By the time I got out of teachers' college, I was 25. The train I was originally hoping to be on had pretty much already left the station. I still had a few years left, though.

But! I now had a marketable career option, thousands of dollars in student loans, and no job! Better find work! Of course, music doesn't pay much, and teaching does, so I started looking for a teaching job.

In the meantime, as you're heading into your late 20's and on your way to a successful career and dating and stuff, things kinda line up at the right time in the right ways and you find yourself married and with a kid on the way.

Still playing in bands, though life still carries you along on the roller coaster, you find yourself into a well-paying teaching job, a mortgage and a kid.

You're 30 now. The train left and you weren't on it. It's not like it never came to the station. You were just too busy watching the other trains on the other tracks.

Am I upset? No. Disappointed? A little, sometimes. Am I better of now than I would have been had I stayed watching the music trains on the music tracks and making sure I was on one of those trains when I was around 18 or so? Pretty much guaranteed.

It comes down to the fact that you are laying a LOT on the line to play the lottery. You can increase your odds by positioning yourself strategically every step of the way and committing yourself entirely to that lottery, but it is still a LONG shot.

How much are you willing to gamble - money, career, girl, family respect, your whole future pretty much - in the small event that you might win?

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

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#10
Well, that's the thing. It's risk/reward. But I do think it's possible to do a bit of both. I'm working on finishing my political science degree (thinking of switching to journalism though, I could write a book on why poli sci is worthless), but I still manage to find time to commit to my band, and make the connections necessary to succeed. Obviously it's a long shot that we'll ever be able to make this a career, but I don't think I'll have any regrets in regard to the amount of time I've been able to dedicate to the band. I've spent countless hours rehearsing, gigging, moving gear, recording, mixing, booking gigs, etc..., but I would often be simultaneously studying, writing essays, doing research, memorizing textbooks, and all the other **** that comes along with college. If you're cool with sacrificing sleep and spare time, you can do both.
#11
id say its more vital than fatal. particularly the way the record label industry is going and with the economic downturn you cant predict whats to happen to the music scene in the next few years. All that you know is that its gonna change
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#12
Quote by axemanchris
This is such a tough call....

Am I upset? No. Disappointed? A little, sometimes. Am I better of now than I would have been had I stayed watching the music trains on the music tracks and making sure I was on one of those trains when I was around 18 or so? Pretty much guaranteed.




Cheers man, that was indeed very useful. And thanks to all the others for your advice.

But Axeman - are you saying that if you could go back to college and do it all over again, you wouldn't?

To be honest, if I could end up like you (I'm pretty sure you're in a band right now that's pretty solid), I would be happy.


Reading that made me realise how much the world can be depressing - out of all the kids who dream of rockstardom, maybe 10% will actually make it, and maybe half of them will find a happy career like you did. I wonder how many ex-wannabes there are out there in dead-end jobs.
#13
No prob. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably make the same choices.

It comes back to that, "do I risk it all for something that one tenth of one percent of those who give it a go actually succeed in?" I'm too logical and pragmatic to do that. It's not in my personality.

Even at that... for those who make it, most of them are done with the record deal thing after about five years. The shelf life of a rock star is shockingly short. Then what? Can you put "shredding guitar solos behind a backdrop of lights and pyrotechnics whilst traveling the continent" on a resume? Back to working at Wal-Mart or whatever.

Out of those who make it *really* big in those five years, they are *very* few. I remember an interview with Art Alexakis of Everclear where he was talking about having an electrician do some wiring on his house and the electrician asking what it was like to be a 'semi-rock star' and what not. The upshot of it was that the electrician and him made about the same money. The difference was that the electrician will probably always have a job in that field.

How's THAT for a reality check?

So, yeah... I think I made the right choice for me.

But for those who really insist on 'making it' - you've really got to go all or nothing.

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.
#14
I hate it when people look at it like odds. Sure, you may only have a 1 in a billion chance of making it these days, but it's not like the music gods put all of the bands in a hat and randomly draw bands. If you work hard enough and have good music, forget about the odds.
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#15
You're right that it isn't a lottery. It's not random. But it does depend a lot on luck as far as who goes out there and generates everything that is required in having the right product at the right time and having access to the right people to help get it into the marketplace.

No matter how hard you work and no matter how good you are, there is still only a slim chance that you're going to be that one in 1000 or one in 10 000 who actually make it big.

However, by placing yourself strategically, working smart AND hard, you can increase your odds. Regardless, they're still stacked hugely against you.

It's not like "if you work hard at school, you can become a doctor or a lawyer" where there is a strong co-relation between those who work hard and those who are successful.

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.
#16
^Yeah that's basically what I was trying to get at. Thanks Chris.
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