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#1
Hey guys,

So i've been practicing and getting my chops and theory up to a decent level. I have written some songs that are think are good... but the trouble is, I am not sure where to go from here... my dream is to do music for a living for the rest of my life. I can't stand the thought of working behind the desk in an office for the next 40 years! my parents and friends all keep telling me how difficutl and risky it is to make it in the music business. But I know I won't ever be trully fulfilled if I don't become a full time musician.

I'm not sure what the next step to take is?... Should i go to a music school for a music degree? Shoudl I join a band?

Are there any professional musicians on this forum? I would love to pick someone's brain who is already successful in music about how to make money with your music.

Can anybody help me please?

thanks
#2
i ain't no genius but your best bet would be to either go and get a music degree of some kind or join a band or form one.
#5
I am 20 yrs old... its hard for me to find a band right now, since it seems like nobody in my area plays or listens to the same styles taht I do. I play stuff like Dream Theatr, Malmsteen, Symphony X.

yeah... looks like a music degree is a good option. but aren't there lots of teachers out there who don't have music degrees?
#6
I say go to school and major in something you're interested in other than music, and get a minor in music. that's what I plan on doing. That way you can still concentrate on music but you also get more options just incase music doesn't work or you change your mind.
#7
Get a proper job and pray you get lucky - there's no guarantees with the music business and working behind a desk is preferable to being poor!
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#8
Quote by steven seagull
Get a proper job and pray you get lucky - there's no guarantees with the music business and working behind a desk is preferable to being poor!


dead on the money. if you really want to make money playing guitar grab an acoustic and learn some songs or write some songs you can play and sing and hit up coffee shops.
#9
thanks for the advice guys! Does anyone personally know any professional musicians who are making a good living from music?
#10
Listen to your parents.

I know a decent number of musicians that make a living with music.
One was making $100,000 a year doing commercials..... just got laid off... along with 400 other creative people at his agency.

I know a number of old bitter gigging musicians that work their asses off to pay the bills.
they play music they dont really care for and becuase they loved music so much when they were your age.... have no other skills and can do nothing else but play gigs or teach for a living.


Some more things to think about.

There is no job security ( a term youll care about when you have mouths to feed and bills to pay)

in most cases no insurance ( another term youll become aware of as you get older and realize that just 1 serious medical problem could financially ruin the rest of your life)

For every one of you... there are literally millions more that want to do the same thing... and all think they will make it, just like you do.

There are way more musicians than there are music related jobs.

as far as teaching....... the profs I know that teach at universities, arent making that much money, and those jobs are real hard to come by.

Teaching at a store.... great extra cash.... not a good living.

Teaching at a school is a pretty decent job if you can deal with that sort of thing. Its probably the most stable way of making money in music, unless your incredibly lucky, and talented.

Dont get me wrong, you can make a living playing music. But have a backup plan, because the odds are against you, regardless of your talent.

Anyway good luck.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 2, 2007,
#11
^ teaching at a store is good for EXTRA money. no way would i do it for my sole form of income. alot of stores around here charge, oh lets say $30 an hour, well the teacher gets half of that. but if you only have 2 or 3 sessions (or even worse 1 or 0) in a day then you've not made much. independent lessons are good especially if you are a good teacher and can be competitive with stores (ie charge $20 an hour) be a good teacher and word of mouth will travel, also independent teaching can afford you to be a tutor after your real 9-5 job.
#12
Quote by z4twenny
^ teaching at a store is good for EXTRA money. no way would i do it for my sole form of income. alot of stores around here charge, oh lets say $30 an hour, well the teacher gets half of that. but if you only have 2 or 3 sessions (or even worse 1 or 0) in a day then you've not made much. independent lessons are good especially if you are a good teacher and can be competitive with stores (ie charge $20 an hour) be a good teacher and word of mouth will travel, also independent teaching can afford you to be a tutor after your real 9-5 job.


Right, thats the way to do it.... as a side job.

I've taught up to 50 students a week. The price was $18 a half hour, and I got like $13. So basically $26 an hour ( I make $36 an hour at home).

The thing is, even at 50 students a week. thats only 25 hours. no benefits, no time off. If you miss, you dont get paid. And at alot of stores, if they miss... You dont get paid

Dont get me wrong, teaching has its rewards. But financially, especially if you do it full time and pay taxes.... its really not that much.
#13
On a positive note: here are some ways you can make a living....

teaching privately - (at a store, or your home or theirs)

teaching at a school.. or college

writing / composing: commercials, songs, film scores, industrial/corporate videos

gigging (live performance)

studio musician

I will say that at least you asked the right question.... "how do I make money" from music.
If you look at it as a business, and your goals are directed at making a living, it is possible to have success.

The key is Preparation meets opportunity.

You have to be prepared, and you have to either make opportunitys happen by being good at networking (basically you gotta be outgoing & nice to people.) if people like you they may hire you....
and / or you have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.


Success is possible. But its not easy, and the competition is fierce.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 2, 2007,
#14
I plan on studying piano at university. If it was a waste of time the program would simply not exist. Sure, a degree in music won't guarantee you a job, but no study will.

Teaching isn't an ambition of mine, but I plan on using my skills with technology and work at a studio; eventually starting my own in or around the Toronto area as well as scoring local independent films. I figure that's definitely enough pay to support myself. If I want a family I'll just have to marry a career woman (good, I like 'em smart) and our combined incomes would be more than enough.

So my advice is to be an entrepreneur. There's no better way to make a living. Perhaps you could minor in business and start a music school or shop... something like that.
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#15
Quote by I_love_sandbags
I am 20 yrs old... its hard for me to find a band right now, since it seems like nobody in my area plays or listens to the same styles taht I do. I play stuff like Dream Theatr, Malmsteen, Symphony X.

yeah... looks like a music degree is a good option. but aren't there lots of teachers out there who don't have music degrees?



Thats why you aren't making any money.
#16
^ yeah you're kinda right. don't get me wrong, you can make a living albeit a good one off of virtuoso stuff but you're really gonna have a really niche audience if thats what you go for. just in comparison, right off the top of my head, who do you think makes more $$$, yngwie or tom morello? if you guessed morello you'd prolly be right ( i don't know for a fact but i do know that audioslave and ratm have a far wider audience than mr "my-heads-shoved- so- far- up- my- a$$- i- can- see- my- tonsils" malmsteen )
#17
we're not in an age where guitar virtuosity is as popular as say back when Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie had their debut. Music is good as a side project, but be sure to have an education for an more...ordinary job :P . Just my little opinion, and what I think I'll be doing. Hopefully I'll hit something someday, but I don't count on it as my only option.
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#18
Quote by z4twenny
^ yeah you're kinda right. don't get me wrong, you can make a living albeit a good one off of virtuoso stuff but you're really gonna have a really niche audience if thats what you go for. just in comparison, right off the top of my head, who do you think makes more $$$, yngwie or tom morello? if you guessed morello you'd prolly be right ( i don't know for a fact but i do know that audioslave and ratm have a far wider audience than mr "my-heads-shoved- so- far- up- my- a$$- i- can- see- my- tonsils" malmsteen )



Yngwie makes alot of money, but not as much as Rage, no way in hell. Besides, the virtuoso genre has become so filled with bedroom shredders and japanese shredders that its gonna be tough to outdo them all enough to actually make a dime from it.
#20
Quote by insideac
Yngwie makes alot of money, but not as much as Rage, no way in hell. Besides, the virtuoso genre has become so filled with bedroom shredders and japanese shredders that its gonna be tough to outdo them all enough to actually make a dime from it.


yup. There's alot more good shredders these days than there was. You have to be really special to make it through as a virtuoso only.
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#21
Hi I_Love_Sandbags,

If you are looking for successful professional musicians to show you how to develop a career, check out Tom Hess' Music Careers Mentoring Program. Tom submits regular articles to this site as well, you should check them out (several of them are on music business). And if you know anything about Tom, he is pretty successful in the industry (musically, professionally and financially).

I am a student in that program, and I have to honestly say it changed everything about the way I perceive the music business and the way I have shaped my goals in music. I entered the program not having a clue on how to get started, as I only spent time developing my musical skills up to that point. In Tom's Mentoring program I learned an incredible amount of information and most importantly was guided step by step on how to get started in developing my own career. Now I feel empowered in that I know that I can actually do what I love and make good money doing it. And I'm on my way to living out my dream...

One of the most important things that I learned about why many people fail to make money in the music business is that they are only looking for a "job" in the music industry. It doesn't work like that. The most successful music professionals know how to develop MULTIPLE streams of music related income that generate money for you even when you are not working. In the program Tom showed us how to do this and I am currently working developing many such streams of my own. There is a LOT more opportunity to make money in music, rather than simply getting paid for playing in clubs and teaching!! It IS very possible to make a good living in music...

The coolest thing is that you don't just passively listen to the program, you are actually constantly working on projects that are relevant to your career.

So it sounds like you may benefit from that program. Check out Tom's articles and go to his site to learn more. www.tomhess.net

You can also e-mail me with more questions about the music business or anything else. My e-mail is mike@mikephilippov.com

Good luck man!
Mike Philippov
#23
everyone always talks in the position as if youa re going to be a performer or actually playing music.

how about majoring in music buisness and working behind a desk as a music executive/producer? you aren't playing, but you are doing something with it.
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#24
If you became a musician expecting some sort of job secuirity you've been severely misguided. Money from music comes in two forms: One, from teaching (get a degree) and two, from being talented (... still a good idea to get a degree).

If you don't have the dedication and the drive for personal sacrifice to be a self-sustaining performer, and you're not a good teacher, then I think it's time to find another profession/starve.
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#25
Quote by rich2k4
everyone always talks in the position as if youa re going to be a performer or actually playing music.

how about majoring in music buisness and working behind a desk as a music executive/producer? you aren't playing, but you are doing something with it.


i think it was pretty obvious from the post that the TS wanted to make money by playing his guitar, either by teaching (yes you do get to play guitar when you teach) or by playing.
#26
Quote by I_love_sandbags

So i've been practicing and getting my chops and theory up to a decent level. I have written some songs that are think are good... but the trouble is, I am not sure where to go from here... my dream is to do music for a living for the rest of my life. I can't stand the thought of working behind the desk in an office for the next 40 years!


Yeah, I had the same attitude a while back. But don't delude yourself. Make
damn sure you know what it's going to take to make yourself into a professional.
It's not the same as playing Dream Theatre licks in your bedroom as you imagine
you're on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans and then have the limo whisk
you on to your next gig. It will take professional-level work which you might not
have a good concept of right now.

That's if you want to play for your money. But there is of course, other music-related
ways as others have mentioned. That might be less demanding.

Fortunately, I ended up finding work that paid really well and I liked a lot. I was
deluding myself about guitar and eventually I lost a lot of interest and stopped
playing. But, you can always get it back. Now, I can pretty much do as I please,
buy any equipment I want, play whenever I want, play only what *I* feel like
for me, and pretty much no longer *have* to work for money. I have all my own
power and on one can pull my leash (unless I let them). There's a lot to be said for
that too.
#28
Computer programming. I started abouit 25 years ago. The last 15 years I've
been doing game programming. Fun job. Creative, and it can pay really really well.
Plus, I can nearly come and go as I please ( i keep a guitar at work I play all
the time ), wear what I want ...

Really, it ended up working out much better than music for me. Music is a tough
biz. But now I can do whatever music I want on my terms. I don't have to deal with it as an income source. I'll probably stop working in a year or two. Maybe I'll teach
some guitar, but only if I feel like it.
#29
i'm also interested in playing music for a career, though I think edg is right. I've had some experience touring. when i was like 14 i was in my school's jazz band playing saxophone and we did a couple week long trips where we'd play a show or two every day. it was rough but I'd think if I was doing music I actually liked it could be fun.

edit: so edg do you play live at all or anything?
#30
would becoming a music executive/producer be a good thing

because thats what i want to do.
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#31
Quote by Spamwise


edit: so edg do you play live at all or anything?


Nope. Never have really. An idea I'm toying with though is working out a set of
jam types of things, then just taking it out to street corner and start playing with
my hat out . That's total freedom and I think might be some fun. That's be
my reitirement . Maybe teaching a bit too. I'd mostly just be doing it for the fun --
if was raining it wouldn't be like I'd *have* to go out necause it wouldn't be
about the money.
#32
Quote by Mike_Philippov
Hi I_Love_Sandbags,

If you are looking for successful professional musicians to show you how to develop a career, check out Tom Hess' Music Careers Mentoring Program. Tom submits regular articles to this site as well, you should check them out (several of them are on music business). And if you know anything about Tom, he is pretty successful in the industry (musically, professionally and financially).

I am a student in that program, and I have to honestly say it changed everything about the way I perceive the music business and the way I have shaped my goals in music. I entered the program not having a clue on how to get started, as I only spent time developing my musical skills up to that point. In Tom's Mentoring program I learned an incredible amount of information and most importantly was guided step by step on how to get started in developing my own career. Now I feel empowered in that I know that I can actually do what I love and make good money doing it. And I'm on my way to living out my dream...

One of the most important things that I learned about why many people fail to make money in the music business is that they are only looking for a "job" in the music industry. It doesn't work like that. The most successful music professionals know how to develop MULTIPLE streams of music related income that generate money for you even when you are not working. In the program Tom showed us how to do this and I am currently working developing many such streams of my own. There is a LOT more opportunity to make money in music, rather than simply getting paid for playing in clubs and teaching!! It IS very possible to make a good living in music...

The coolest thing is that you don't just passively listen to the program, you are actually constantly working on projects that are relevant to your career.

So it sounds like you may benefit from that program. Check out Tom's articles and go to his site to learn more. www.tomhess.net

You can also e-mail me with more questions about the music business or anything else. My e-mail is mike@mikephilippov.com

Good luck man!
Mike Philippov



I'm in the Music Careers Mentoring Program as well and I have to say that it is the best decisions I've ever made in my life. My career has gone to places I never thought possible and I've reached many of my goals much faster because of it. If you don't believe me just ask these guys http://tomhess.net/MCMPTestimonials.php
#33
hey everyone thanks for your advice!

mike, thanks for your referrall to the Mentoring program... I guess this is what you were talking about?

http://tomhess.net.29.m6.net/MusicCareer.aspx

It looks pretty interesting... there might be hope for me yet! Who else do you know personally who is in that program?

i might be picking your brain with questions if you don't mind!!

What have you accomplished since joinging that program if you don't mind me asking?
#34
I'm shooting for the same thing that a lot of people shoot for; a professional career in music, and being a rock star. But I'm trying to create a Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work out... When it comes down to it, I also wanna have a family, and I don't want that family to starve or hate me because of some bad decision that I've made. So you definitely want a plan B dude...
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#35
Quote by Page&HammettFan
I'm shooting for the same thing that a lot of people shoot for; a professional career in music, and being a rock star. But I'm trying to create a Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work out... When it comes down to it, I also wanna have a family, and I don't want that family to starve or hate me because of some bad decision that I've made. So you definitely want a plan B dude...



You could have a plan B within music like teaching, being a studio musician, being a recording engineer, etc. You also don't have to give up family life to be a professional. There are a lot of pros with kids and families and stuff like all the guys in Metallica, Ozzy Ozborn (that might be a bad example), or Ted Nugent.
#36
Quote by I_love_sandbags
hey everyone thanks for your advice!

mike, thanks for your referrall to the Mentoring program... I guess this is what you were talking about?

http://tomhess.net.29.m6.net/MusicCareer.aspx

It looks pretty interesting... there might be hope for me yet! Who else do you know personally who is in that program?

i might be picking your brain with questions if you don't mind!!

What have you accomplished since joinging that program if you don't mind me asking?


I know a lot of guys in that program. Most of them are now teaching full time or at least part time. The one guy Trevor has his own school. Check this out: http://tomhess.net/students.php?std_id=22 or this http://www.flyingfingers.ie/
#37
Quote by edg
Nope. Never have really. An idea I'm toying with though is working out a set of
jam types of things, then just taking it out to street corner and start playing with
my hat out . That's total freedom and I think might be some fun. That's be
my reitirement . Maybe teaching a bit too. I'd mostly just be doing it for the fun --
if was raining it wouldn't be like I'd *have* to go out necause it wouldn't be
about the money.

that'd be awesome. i've heard that in big cities people who do that actually get their income from doing that taxed because they make so much.
#38
Quote by Dan Weiler
You could have a plan B within music like teaching, being a studio musician, being a recording engineer, etc. You also don't have to give up family life to be a professional. There are a lot of pros with kids and families and stuff like all the guys in Metallica, Ozzy Ozborn (that might be a bad example), or Ted Nugent.

I'm saying if music for some reason doesn't work out. I mean, if you got in a car accident and lost an arm or something like that, you'd be ****ed like chuck. Then what do you do? It's a good idea to have a Plan B that doesn't involve music, I think. I mean, there would still be lots of opportunity, but it's just good to have more options than only music.

And yes, I'm aware that you could make music work out quite well for you while keeping a family, but at the end of the day you're not feeding a guitar, you're feeding yourself and those around you. So in my opinion, though I'm going to bust my ass and try to make music work, I'm going to have options outside of that.
Got Death Magnetic a day early!

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#39
Be a fu*king roadie man. haha I would'nt mind.
I would like to be a guitar technition or something if my music thing doesn't make it. Just fix the guitarists guitars and clean em and restring em and tune em before they go on.. That kinda sh*t
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#40
Hey I_love_sandbags,

Yes that was the link! There are many people in that program that I got to work with personally who have some really cool stuff going on. For example, like Dan Weiler said, Trevor Darmody has his own music school in Ireland, and there are also some real virtuoso musicians who are into the same styles that you are, like German Schauss who already taught at Berklee and has records sold all over the world, he still joined Tom's mentoring program to take his career to the next level. So there are people at various levels of experience (some experienced pros but many who are just starting out like you are) and it's a great opportunity to learn from each other. There are many more members of the mentoring program who are doing very well for themselves in music now.... you check out a few of them here: http://www.tomhess.net/students.php (I'm proud to be on the list as well!)

I came in there not knowing anything about the music business, and now I'm on my way to releasing my first record, I sell instructional products all over the world, and have taught many students (some internationally).

Page&HammettFan, about the issue of "Plan B" I see where you are coming from, but I think it is very important not to have your "Plan B" be too far removed from the REAL Plan A. It is possible to establish streams of income for yourself that will continuously make money for you while you work on building your music career. It is VERY hard to actually make your dreams in music come true, if the majority of your focus will go into your back up plan rather than Plan B.... (totally unrelated to music job, as is most often the case). I agree with what Dan wrote, have your Plan B compliment the Plan A (music) in some way. There are ways to reduce the risk, without having to spend 90% of your day on things that don't bring you closer to your dream of doing music (if music is what you REALLY want)

I_love_sandbags, hope that helps you bro. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

Take care,
Mike Philippov
Last edited by Mike_Philippov at Oct 3, 2007,
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