A Career in Music

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Passion, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Passion

    Passion Pianissimo User

    Jun 11, 2009
    I got alot of questions for anyone who is professional trumpet, or anyone who knows this stuff about music career. Bandmates have suggested I should but none of us really know much about it. I dunno about actually going this route, but wanna know what you all think of it.

    I'd love to be a trumpet muscian, but I'm not sure what my chances are. :shock: Do you have to be some child prodigy in order to get a decent and steady pay or what? I hear it's real hard to find jobs. Is it?

    Like what exactly are the gigs I can get if I specialize in Classical music? I know about church gigs and orchestras. I know orchestra's are really competitive. What other jobs are there anyways? Either ways, I'm skeptical and don't know if Ill have a perform career for awhile.

    I'm going to college next fall, and I wanna figure things out now so I can prepare towards the career I choose early.
    I came to a conclusion people! The music industry as a career is not for me. Ill still play of course.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I don't mean to sound parental but soon your job will be college. Don't think for a minute that getting a degree in music is easy. Its so hard, sometimes You'll find yourself thinking, "the quickest way to make music suck is to major in it."
    However, to help answer your question:
    Once you get to school, get some business cards and get to know people and learn the lay of the land (where you can play, what do people charge, and how long is a gig).
    Even if you play for free (open mike, church, etc..) if you don't suck, its advertizement.
    As for the business side, once you've played several places for free, start knocking on doors, emailing, sending fliers ect., whatever works for you to make a connection with the customer every month. Find out the holidays for the month and ask if they have entertainment for that day.
    Be willing to do an audition (a song or two) for a bar owner or person who is thinking about purchasing your talents.
    Lastly, seriously buy or get from the library, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you get this book and apply it, you will do very well (pending you don't suck!).
    Basically its people that will make you. Its people who take a chance on you.
    You have to learn how to deal with people on a whole new level. A lot of extremely talented musicians have a hard time with this and as a result are often not playing for money.
    Wish I could be of more help. Good Luck
    P.S. Don't let gigs get in the way of morning classes!!!
  3. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    Well, here's a run down of what I know... (not alot)..

    Unless your a virtuoso, you'd be a working musician. This means playing for money, and primarily for money. Many if not most of the gigs you'll play will not be gigs you'd probably want to play. We're talkin weddings, funerals, family events, hotels, small clubs/bars, MTBIB(music-to-be-ignored-by), cruise ships, and the military. Playing as much as possible, all while trying to build a reputation of reliability, and rock solid musicianship. It's not glamorous, or easy. Many here who play as well as a "pro" choose to work a day job and play on the side because it's easier, and the money is better. Bottom line.

    I don't say this to discourage you, I say it because it's too easy to get a mental image of what being a "pro" means, and it's usually not accurate. My advice is this: If you want to be a professional musician, get paid to play, the military is the largest employer of musicians in the country... You'll get paid to play, with some strings attached.. you want more info, pm me.

    There's also teaching, but it's not something just any old Joe can do or do well, but it's something to consider if you really have a passion for it. If your thinking about becoming a band director, music education is a great field. Music performance in my opinion is a real gamble because it relies so heavily on your individual ability, talent, and drive, and even then, good trumpet players are a dime a dozen.
  4. Passion

    Passion Pianissimo User

    Jun 11, 2009

    Well that sounds complicated! I'm planning on doing double major, but freshmen year I'm only doing performance major to see how I like the idea. If I really want to continue on with music career, I will. I was also planning on majoring in history, but the more info I get now, the better. Thanks.
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    It's true that getting a music degree isn't a cakewalk, but getting a degree is MUCH easier that making a successful career in music. I've seen people get music degrees who weren't worth a damn as musicians, and will never make a dime playing their instrument.
  6. Passion

    Passion Pianissimo User

    Jun 11, 2009
    Alot of people in my family did the military, and my brother was accepted into West Point, but I'm not military material. Plus, I'm pretty much a pacifist. Army bands are so cool though!

    Ok, I think I've made my decision. I'll still major in history, and major in music performance like my original plan. Ill play in a community band and form a brass sextet for kicks. Ill also give trumpet lessons on weekends.
  7. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    So... it looks like the answer is: if you want to go pro, become a virtuos-o. Hey, that rhymes!! ;)
  8. The Dutch Guy

    The Dutch Guy Piano User

    Sep 22, 2008
    I know only one musician that spends all his time with music, and that's one of my conductors. He teaches, conducts, arranges, composes, and plays in a brass quintet. Besides him, all musicians that went to the conservatory do something else too. one is a yournalist, for example.
    Don't expect that you can play what you want to play. People allways want the best, and if that isn't you, you're out. Pretty much all the trumpet music I listen to is played by people that were in conservatory at age 14 or so... The kind of musicians that were in the first 5 years of their education better than I willl ever be (at least, that's what they sounded like)
    So, you won't get rich as a musician if you don't have so much talent that you have a huge headstart on all other musicians.

    Anyway, I had the option of doing it, but chose med school instead. Main reasons were a steady income, and the trumpet can be a hobby / part time thing. Practising medicine cannot.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I have maybe a different take on this. When I was in school, I first wanted to be a chemist. Then my granddad died (no, it was not because of something that I had stirred up) and I inherited his cornet. My first teacher was a clarinet playing music teacher and I was one of those kids that could play but there was no fire. I think it was in the 8th grade that we got a new music teacher and after the second lesson I was on fire. I was going to be a professional musician and every breath after that was to reach that goal. There was nothing (including a dentist with strong braces ambitions) that could stop me! I ended up going to music school and graduated really burned out but with a performers certificate.

    We had a draft back then and my number came up. I checked the options and ended up volunteering for 3 years as a trumpet player for a military band in Germany. At the end of my tour, I had the contacts that I needed to fill a life with free lance stuff. I ended up paying the bills with a full time sales then analyst job, but the trumpet is still something that is like that eternal olympic fire.

    I guess what I am saying after 40 years of fire is that you can have your cake and eat it too - if you too are on fire and get the right partner to keep your turbulent life together (I know of no trumpet players with quiet lives.....).
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A quote from Gunther Schuller: "if you make music your life you'll find that it makes a living, too."

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