#1
Okay well im basically a 13 year old kid about to move on to highschool next year and I started playing gutiar when I was 12 at the beginning of 7th grade. Now I know thats only a year but I am absoloutely sure that I want to take music as my career. I really thought about it today and I realised I only have 4 more years until I graduate highschool and have to begin to start on my life as an adult and I know that will pass by fast. I cant see myself as anything else other than a musician. When I close my eyes and envision myself as anything i am absoloutely 100% sure that this is the only thing that I've ever truly loved. However I am worried as Im sure choosing this road isnt gonna be easy but I dont have any fear of failing at all in the path ive chosen. I am an honors student and I could easily choose a different route but nothing else seems to interest me and I dont wanna get a job that I hate doing. So my real question here to any adults or experienced musicians is, How do you make it in this business? What did you guys do after highschool and how did you guys make a living in the music industry? Obviously theres always the option of taking the short route and forming a band but I honestly cant find any other dedicated musicians inside my area and I know that making a living that way is only possible by making some kind of hit album. Can you make it just by knowing how to play guitar or is there other things that you must learn? Is being a guitarist in a band the only option or is there any other way? I am very serious about being a musician as ive already learned alot about Music theory,Keys,Circle Of Fifths,Notation,Time signatures, Scales,Chords,Notes on the fretboard, Transcribing along with the technical part of guitar. Im not your everyday teen playing video games, dating, and going to movies as I feel I dont have time for any of that. I play it whenever I can because I know I only have 4 years to make it which is a short time. Im very concerned in how im gonna make it and would greatly appreciate some advice from the adults of this forum.
Last edited by MusicsMyHero at Mar 24, 2011,
#2
I dont wanna be a debbie downer, but theres a 99.999% chance you will fail in music. In my opinion, keep music as a hobby, if it happens it happens, if not, dont kill yourself over it.
2/17/08 Kosova's independence!!!
#3
Quote by MusicsMyHero
Okay well im basically a 13 year old kid about to move on to highschool next year and I started playing gutiar when I was 12 at the beginning of 7th grade. Now I know thats only a year but I am absoloutely sure that I want to take music as my career. I really thought about it today and I realised I only have 4 more years until I graduate highschool and have to begin to start on my life as an adult and I know that will pass by fast. I cant see myself as anything else other than a musician. When I close my eyes and envision myself as anything i am absoloutely 100% sure that this is the only thing that I've ever truly loved. However I am worried as Im sure choosing this road isnt gonna be easy but I dont have any fear of failing at all in the path ive chosen. I am an honors student and I could easily choose a different route but nothing else seems to interest me and I dont wanna get a job that I hate doing. So my real question here to any adults or experienced musicians is, How do you make it in this business? What did you guys do after highschool and how did you guys make a living in the music industry? Obviously theres always the option of taking the short route and forming a band but I honestly cant find any other dedicated musicians inside my area and I know that making a living that way is only possible by making some kind of hit album. Can you make it just by knowing how to play guitar or is there other things that you must learn? Is being a guitarist in a band the only option or is there any other way? I am very serious about being a musician as ive already learned alot about Music theory,Keys,Circle Of Fifths,Notation,Time signatures, Scales,Chords,Notes on the fretboard, Transcribing along with the technical part of guitar. Im not your everyday teen playing video games, dating, and going to movies as I feel I dont have time for any of that. I play it whenever I can because I know I only have 4 years to make it which is a short time. Im very concerned in how im gonna make it and would greatly appreciate some advice from the adults of this forum.


Eh, honestly man you're 13 and you've only been playing a year.

You probably won't accept this right now, but you will most likely change your mind (many times) before you graduate about what you want to do.

I'd say enjoy high school, get good grades, and keep pursuing music and if a few years from now you still want it as badly then start pushing harder.

But yeah you're definitely too young to know realistically what you want to do/are good at/can realistically do for the rest of your life so I'd try to branch out and not confine yourself solely to playing guitar at that age.
#4
Honestly, get a second profession at the same time. Study top be a music teacher as a backup plan.
#5
You are way too young to pick a career pathway.


But, my advice is this:
-Do well in school. Number one priority. Have college options open.
-Keep practicing as often as you can in as many styles as you can.
-Join a band and perform! Kids that have mastered the guitar, but only in their bedrooms, have no chance in the music business.
-See if your high school has a jazz band and join it.

By following this advice, you'll be able to become a talented, versatile player, as well as have college options. I do suggest going to college, but you don't have to be a music major or even take any music classes. College towns and schools have so many musical outlets, and many have great cultures for music. At the same time, you'll be able to get a degree, and end up with options. Who knows? Maybe you'll find something that will interest you even more than guitar. You're young, things change.

I was in a similar situation to you when I was your age. Where am I now? A great school in a great city, studying something (not music) that really interests me, I play gigs here and there, and have way more of a life than I ever did as a bedroom guitarist.
Quote by AA00P
Listen to the man, he's Jewish.
#6
Hey man,

Great to hear your passion about music. I always brights my day when hear a story like this. My best advice is decide what you want to do now, and do it. The beauty about music is, everything and anything is possible.

Personally, I am science student at University of British Columbia. I love it man! Im studying Biology, and applying to Medicine next year. I picked up the guitar on my 18th birthday (A bit late), BUT i play it everyday. Yesterday was my 21st birthday! Its my passion as well. I've managed to juggle both, but of course one takes a toll. Unfortunately its the guitar, but still I keep up.

Over do what you love. If music means this much to you, and you still stick with it down the road (Say 4 years), then music is your route.

I didn't talk much about success or anything, but what I like to think about to ensure me what I am doing is what i want to be do is this....Imagine you were stripped of everything(Besides family), What would you miss the most. By this I mean, lose the ability to play guitar, or lose the ability to be able to concentrate, or lose the ability to critically think, so on. Which of the following would you miss the most?

Hope some of that helps...
#7
Quote by -TyEe-
Hey man,

Great to hear your passion about music. I always brights my day when hear a story like this. My best advice is decide what you want to do now, and do it. The beauty about music is, everything and anything is possible.

Personally, I am science student at University of British Columbia. I love it man! Im studying Biology, and applying to Medicine next year. I picked up the guitar on my 18th birthday (A bit late), BUT i play it everyday. Yesterday was my 21st birthday! Its my passion as well. I've managed to juggle both, but of course one takes a toll. Unfortunately its the guitar, but still I keep up.

Over do what you love. If music means this much to you, and you still stick with it down the road (Say 4 years), then music is your route.

I didn't talk much about success or anything, but what I like to think about to ensure me what I am doing is what i want to be do is this....Imagine you were stripped of everything(Besides family), What would you miss the most. By this I mean, lose the ability to play guitar, or lose the ability to be able to concentrate, or lose the ability to critically think, so on. Which of the following would you miss the most?

Hope some of that helps...


Whoah, I'm also studying biology at UBC. That's so wack man, Vancouver right?
#8
Thanks alot for the feedback so far guys even if some of it is hard to take in. However is there anyone that actually does music as a JOB instead of a hobby? I always knew it wasnt easy and i always knew there was a 99% chance id fail but the minute i begin to doubt my success and lose vision of my goals will be the moment I begin to fail. I know you guys say im to young and all which is true since I really am only gonna be 14, but thats the one thing that I hate taking in. If I were to take things lightly just because im young then I wouldnt have a chance in the first place. I don't want to be one of those people that become an adult and have no clue how there going to make it in this world. Being a kid people find us all to be immature and not knowing what we want. Of course Im not gonna drop out of highschool but I want to know Also thanks for suggesting to take jazz band "Guitarsftw" as I am almost positive i will be taking that inside highschool. I am a bedroom guitarist but at the same time I have played in front of large crowds thanks to my music teacher who gave me the opportunity. I cant just not try to become a musician though because of fear of failing. Otherwise id be locking myself into a prison of my own making. Sorry if It sounded like I offended any adults in that paragraph as I really do appreciate your help and responses to my question.
#9
^ theres several people on this site who work with musicians for a living and they would mostly agree with what has been said. its not impossible by any means but it does require an increidble amount of work in many areas and most people get turned off by the consistent "all work no payoff" rewards system of the music industry.

that being said man, keep going. no one makes it to the top by saying "man this is too much"
#10
In order to be successful you need to know the right people. I mean you don't have to but it makes it a LOT easier.
VIVA LA REVOLUTION
#13
Context: I have an honours degree in music and am a teacher and a musician, though I try to avoid teaching music.

Here's a response I gave a while back to a very similar thread....

this from a 41-year old who was in your same shoes back many moons ago....

About being a musician:

I think if you have hopes of making a career in music, you'd best make that your plan. If you get a big fat record deal and get famous, then awesome. If not, you're still following the course you've planned for - to be a professional musician.

First: You have no pretenses of being a rock star. That's fine. Do you know what it's like to be a full-time musician? I mean... *really* know?

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. 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!! (of course, with the screwed up hours you keep, you may wind up being single for the rest of your natural life... "Wanna go on a date? How's Tuesday afternoon for you?"..... another career hazard!)

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....)

One thing I'll add here is that, here is what happens with pursuing a career "to fall back on" via the college route:

You meet tons of girls. You meet a girl that you like best out of all of them. (for me, it was a couple years after university, but whatevs) You finish school. Inevitably, you find yourself with a girl, a job ticket into a career, and a girl who wants to get married.... and so do you. And you have the means to make money and start enjoying things. So you take that job that you've worked hard to get.

Music really does become something that you do in your spare time. You still have to make it a priority, or else you will have no spare time in which to justify making music, and then it gets forgotten. If you make it a priority (and make sure your partner is supportive of your music), then you can make it work. Because you're not always going to have very much spare time - especially when kids come... unless you make time to do it.

I know all this seems light-years away, but it comes a heck of a lot faster than you think it will. Trust me.... I spent a few years laughing about someone who said, when I was 23, that "30 is just around the corner." And after what seemed like only a couple of years, it became eerily UNfunny.

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
Quote by AussiePage
Study top be a music teacher as a backup plan.


Statements like this make me want to punch people in the face.

For the love of God, and for the sake of the sanity of your family, your friends, your students, me, and even yourself, if you do not feel "called" to teach..... DON'T DO IT!! If you learn one thing about teaching in your entire life, let it be this: If you feel "called" to do it, then do whatever it takes to get there. If you are going into it for the wrong reasons, go do something easier that you will actually enjoy. Dig ditches. Slave away in a cubicle for the man. Anything but teach.

I am a teacher. I consider myself one of the lucky minority among us who goes to work every day and says "I love my job." Those who go into it thinking along the lines of, "I'm going to get this so-easy job and make a ton of money... I'll work six hours a day and get summers off, blah, blah, blah...." get chewed up and spit out the other end within the first two years if they're lucky. If they're not lucky, they get chewed up and chewed up and chewed up day after day after endless day after year after year after endless miserable effing year.

It is a hugely demanding job. With huge government pressure to increase standardized test scores, dwindling budgets, and all sorts of other blah, blah, blah, it can really wear on you - unless you are sure it is something you really want to do. Fourteen years into the profession and I'm still lucky to find time to use the bathroom many days, never mind actually sit down and eat a lunch.

Money is good, but it doesn't start off that great. Given that your first years are the hardest (you have to find your rhythm, if you will), and you are making not any more money than your friends who work on a no-name assembly line, where you take home hours of work and they don't, where you are accountable to a whole host of interested parties and they mostly don't have to give a crap about anything so long as they show up and insert widget A into widget B, it can be disheartening.

Holidays are good, but I know people who work in media or who work on assembly lines or whatever who still get 8-10 weeks holidays. Difference is, they get to choose when they take theirs and I don't. People forget that.

You want a *very* real perspective on all that free time you will have to do your own music in the evenings and in the summer time, while you "just work during the day to support doing your own thing" for the rest of the time? Watch Mr. Holland's Opus. VERY real. Life happens, and teaching becomes a HUGE part of your life, for the person who cares enough about it to do a good job. If you haven't seen it, Mr. Holland has a family and teaches and tries to work on this symphony that he wants to finish. He finally finishes it around the time he retires.

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
I've only got a few years experience in the biz, but...

Axemanchris described it perfectly. 99% of guitarists will never see a record deal. Instead, they sacrifice whatever creative freedom they might have had ("I sold my soul to make a record, dipsh*t") to earn a living, maybe playing what they want to play from time to time if they're lucky or can squeeze in a couple hours for themselves between everything else. If you're looking to become a professional musician so you can put yourself out there onstage then start looking at a different career, because it's probably not going to happen. If on the other hand you're just dying to play music, all day every day, no matter what, keep going. Practice, take lessons, network (this might be the most important advice I can give you - the more people you know the more opportunities you have for gigs), become proficient in as many styles as possible, and never give up.

And seriously, if you don't feel called to be a teacher then DON'T F*CKING DO IT. Everyone will tell you to study music education on the side, even at university, and it's the worst f*cking advice you'll ever get because if you're not motivated to teach it sucks balls.
#16
I want to add that the culture of music itself is changing. Album sales in the traditional sense dropped over 80% in the last decade. The days of writing have changed so that instead of 30 seconds to the hook, if your song hasn't hit interest in 5 seconds, then that listener has already switched on you. Labels want artists that have done almost all the work themselves, i.e they've proven they can play they've proven they fan draw fans (10000 followers) a million You Tube hits, and a live show with a buzz, before they even look at you. You need a song a single a look and a unique thing going. Do you have all of these? You're in competition with the things you are hearing on the radio now, not the other dude thats unsigned. Is your output of work equal to or better than what you are hearing on the radio? If so, keep writing, if not, what will it take?

I'm adding this to the brilliant responses.

By the way I make my living in music the following ways:

I have a Guitar School and I've been playing for about 26 years and my total time teaching is roughly half that time. (aprox 12 years)

I own a guitar store, and being a self financed, debt free independent owner is far for easy (ever heard of Musicians Friend and Guitar Center? So has every guitarist in town with a computer!) (6 years)

I run an online version of my Guitar school (2nd year)

I am an aspiring singer songwriter that does get paid to play shows locally. (I first started trying to sing about 3 years ago, and have been paid to play for about 2 years)

The only thing I could tell you is it takes all of these for me to make my living. Any one of these and it would be much harder. If I didn't have the success that I have had teaching I might not have survived in this unbelievably competitive world of teaching. My ace in the hole - I teach what no one else around here knows or can teach. If not for that and the results/reputation, especially in this economy, it would be very hard to maintain a sustainable living in music.

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 24, 2011,
#17
Quote by -TM-
honestly man you're 13 and you've only been playing a year.



^ this

Do good in school
play your guitar.... enjoy it.

I'm not saying you can't pursue a career in music at some point, but it's a bit early in the game to be worrying about it.
shred is gaudy music
#18
If all else fails teach guitar thats my plan
unless my arm gets cut off......
Quote by kaptkegan
Don't think I've ever been sigged.


I pretty much never leave the drug thread anymore.
#19
Quote by -TM-
Eh, honestly man you're 13 and you've only been playing a year.

You probably won't accept this right now, but you will most likely change your mind (many times) before you graduate about what you want to do.

I'd say enjoy high school, get good grades, and keep pursuing music and if a few years from now you still want it as badly then start pushing harder.

But yeah you're definitely too young to know realistically what you want to do/are good at/can realistically do for the rest of your life so I'd try to branch out and not confine yourself solely to playing guitar at that age.
Yep a lot can change in 4 years. Keep doing what you're doing, then re-evaluate once you get around your senior year and have to start making these decisions.

Quote by MusicsMyHero
Thanks alot for the feedback so far guys even if some of it is hard to take in. However is there anyone that actually does music as a JOB instead of a hobby? I always knew it wasnt easy and i always knew there was a 99% chance id fail but the minute i begin to doubt my success and lose vision of my goals will be the moment I begin to fail. I know you guys say im to young and all which is true since I really am only gonna be 14, but thats the one thing that I hate taking in. If I were to take things lightly just because im young then I wouldnt have a chance in the first place. I don't want to be one of those people that become an adult and have no clue how there going to make it in this world. Being a kid people find us all to be immature and not knowing what we want. Of course Im not gonna drop out of highschool but I want to know Also thanks for suggesting to take jazz band "Guitarsftw" as I am almost positive i will be taking that inside highschool. I am a bedroom guitarist but at the same time I have played in front of large crowds thanks to my music teacher who gave me the opportunity. I cant just not try to become a musician though because of fear of failing. Otherwise id be locking myself into a prison of my own making. Sorry if It sounded like I offended any adults in that paragraph as I really do appreciate your help and responses to my question.
You don't have to not try to become a musician. Work at it, but don't just rule everything else out. Wait until you're getting to senior year and these decisions need to be made.

Honestly, you're in a great place right now. You have a great passion for music, and 4 years ahead of you before you need to make decisions. Take advantage of that time, in every aspect of life. Practice a lot, play with bands, but most of all, take every opportunity you can, whether it's in music or not. You won't regret it.

This is coming from a senior in high school who is going to school next year for Music Ed. I decided on Music Ed near the beginning of this year. I've been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember, and in the past few years (probably through all of high school) I've realized it to be the one thing that really fuels me. Yet, I still considered my options, and I'm really glad I did because it made me realize how Music Ed is the right thing for me.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Mar 24, 2011,
#20
honestly man, keep doing what you want to do---but don't feel like you need to make a huge commitment to music or make it a career just now. if you really love music, play it a lot, and in a couple years, if thats still something you want to do professionally then you'll be in a very good position to go for it. don't neglect high school though---i had pretty bad grades in high school (not because i felt a calling when i was 13 to be a musician--i didnt get that until i was 16--but because I didn't give a shit about high school) and they actually kept me out of two schools that i could have gotten into for music, but required an academic acceptance before they'd even let you audition.
If you work towards it, you can realistically have a career as a professional musician, but you have a couple years before you really need to worry about that--enjoy them, don't **** up in school, but don't feel like what you do in the next 3 or 4 years will dictate the rest of your life.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#21
If you truly want to do music, some of the best advice I can give you is to work on your writing. Take some creative writing classes, poetry classes, read books, immerse yourself in the english language. There are thousands and thousands of great guitarists, but not nearly as many competent songwriters.

The difference between a decent song and an amazing song is the lyrics/vocals. If you can come up with catchy lyrics, people will listen.

edit: and what everyone here is saying is completely true, getting a career in music is hard. Only if you can separate yourself from the pack with something truly desirable will you have a chance. Focus on your songwriting. Guitar playing should come second.
Last edited by gunther_sucks at Mar 24, 2011,
#22
Quote by zbest
I dont wanna be a debbie downer, but theres a 99.999% chance you will fail in music. In my opinion, keep music as a hobby, if it happens it happens, if not, dont kill yourself over it.


If you take this attitude, then you will fail.
Now, I'm not saying that if you believe in yourself it will automatically happen.
I'm saying if you work your nuts off, make connections, network, have good stage presence and are very talented, then you should make it.
However, bad things can happen to everybody, so either have a backup, or be content with making less money than you would like to.