How to begin playing for money?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RyanM11, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Here is how I did it.

    When I decided to play again, I joined a community band. Now I had contact with about 50 other musicians. Some of them were playing out for money. You might get lucky and be in a good band but if not, there is a big overlap between bands. If your good, you will be asked to join another band. This is all still for free so far but, necessary. Someone in the band or bands will play in a local swing band. Sooner or later they will need a sub for a rehearsal. That's your chance.

    As said above, Churches are a big source of income. Go to a church service. This might cost a little if you put money in the plate. After the service, go to the organist and talk. Sometimes the organist it hidden in a loft so that's a bad church to try this. Tell the organist that you play the trumpet and ask if you could play along with some hymns next Sunday. If He/She says no I'll be surprised. Organists usually belong to some kind of organist guild that includes a ton of churches and they do talk.

    Go to the Jr. H.S. and talk to the band teacher about giving lessons. Parents love it if you can teach at the students house. Believe it or not, teaching will help your own playing.

    Here is your problem as I see it. This all takes time and you're a student. You have to go to school and learn and start for free. Learning is really important. It might be quicker to get a job at the local pharmacy.

     
  2. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Houston
    Didn't notice your location, sorry. There are several excellent teachers here in town that would be very good for you. I am assuming that you want to play commercial music (jazz, pop, R&B), as local churches have really cut back on their budgets, and classical gigs are very difficult to find.

    Dennis Dotson, Eddie Lewis, and Gary Weldon are excellent teachers as well as top pros. Contact Woody Witt at HCC and consider enrolling in one of the jazz courses they offer, and check out the other community colleges as well.

    You'd have to get one of your parents to take you, but go to Cafe Dharma on Tuesday nights for the jazz jam session, hosted by Erin Wright. Your skill level would have to be moderately proficient to sit in, but it's a great place to hear live jazz played by players of different levels of abilities, and a great place to netwrok.

    And that's my final suggestion, networking. jazzhouston.com is our local social site, but it's not as active as it once was. Your age will work against you, as most clubs will not knowingly admit minrs (unless you are playing in the band). Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Now THIS is what TM is about! Thank you Duane for an awesome post!

     
  4. RyanM11

    RyanM11 New Friend

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    Mar 31, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Thanks to everyone so far for the help! I am definitely going to look into doing just about all of the suggestions and tips.

    Thank you all very much!
     
  5. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

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    Dec 5, 2008
    dont forget funerals
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    My suggestion was going to be along the lines of what someone else posted - if you want money for the things you'll need for playing trumpet, don't depend on gig income to buy them for you. Not yet at least. Get some other kind of a job and save you money. My son, almost 17, works at a party supplies store called Party City. He works on average 2-3 days a week, and he's been surprised at how quickly the pay is adding up, and he's finally able to get some of the things he's been wanting and waiting for.

    Otherwise, you could do as others have said and try to find a church or organist or two and try to start doing some really basic wedding stuff, such as "The Price of Denmark's Mach/Clarke Trumpet Voluntary" and the Purcell "Trumpet Tune." But, as Rowuk said, getting yourself on what is kind of a closed list can be a challenge and you won't make much in what could amount to long spans of time between gigs.

    When I first started freelance gigging, the only gigs I was doing were church gigs, so I'd get Christmas and Easter gigs, with the occasional wedding or other special service, paying anything from $75-$200, depending on the gig, which amounted to around an average of $300-$400 a year, and by that point I had several years of post HS gigging experience in the Army band program. To put it into perspective, my son has made $300-$400 in the last month or so.

    It's your choice, but if you are serious about putting together some cash to put toward your trumpet playing endeavors, you'd probably be better off getting some kind of regular job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  7. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    Ask your trumpet teacher. if you don't have one there is a 99% chance that you are not ready.
     
  8. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Well, once again as often comes up when it comes to questions about music performance, it can come down to being in the right place at the right time. Maybe being lucky.

    My story will not work for you, but I'll briefly share it...

    When I was in the high school band and was about 16 years old (1967), several of us began talking about forming a band. Guitar bands were the thing of the times, and we, as band instrument players, were interested in something else. We began to get together in the band room after summer marching band rehearsals and began "jamming" together on the popular music of the day (back in the 1960s) which was primarily Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Some of these guys could play other instruments needed - for example piano, guitar, etc. for an instrumental combo like the Tijuana Brass. We got some of the published music that was available at the time, and began to learn the songs and practice to develop cohesively as a band.

    We had two adults - my father, the high school band director, was one of them, who got interested in what we were doing. We began to advertise the availability of a Tijuana Brass style band for weddings and other activities. We played around school and for school functions, assemblies, parades, etc., whenever possible. We gradually got better and word of mouth advertisement led to more engagements, which led to still more, and we eventually became an established, working band. Word of mouth was the basis of our beginnings.

    We continued to practice, play engagements, and expand our repertoire. Success brought more success, and the rest is history.

    We were lucky, we were in the right place at the right time, and had some help from a couple well connected and interested adults. We were also good friends who got along well together, had common interests both as people as well as musically. There's a lot more to making a band succeed than the musical aspects. We all liked the same things and had similar interests. I can't emphasize enough how important that is in this kind of situation.

    That's my story and personal experience. Just as another observation which has often crossed my mind since those days...that was the sixties...there were no computers, DJs, karaoke, or other things which nowadays reduce the need or interest in live music. I think we had many more opportunities than exist today, and things were always coming up where we were able to get up and perform in front of people. For the most part, all music was live music. That did a lot to make us known and heard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Virginia
    I like the street corner idea. Nowhere to to but up after that gig!!:lol::lol:
     
  10. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Houston
    You've obviously never played in Leesville, La......:roll:
     

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