How to make a career from music

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Playa, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    407
    20
    Nov 16, 2005
    how many of you offering all this advice actually have a career I music? and i'm talking about really paying the billz with your horn...

    hilarious stuff...
     
  2. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Markie - Indeed. Where I live now though, is such a small town, that there's not much in the way of open mics. There are a couple though. I'm actually not good enough for an open mic yet, and arguably not good enough for the street, I just went out and did it anyway. There are a ton of open mics and good places to play on "The Peninsula" which means San Jose up to SF, more particularly, Santa Clara to Menlo Park or so. But right now, those areas are 3-4 hours away for me. Knowing that my already tiny income would plummet if I devoted my time to the trumpet instead of the various hustles I was doing last year (which I don't want to do for the rest of my life) I sold my motorcycle which was my last large fixed expense. Why, the thing probably costs me $100 a month to own and run. I knew it would severely curtail my ability to get around, but that I'd not need to get around a lot until my playing is fairly good, then I can earn the money for another bike and be able to get out and play just about daily. In essence I have to bootstrap my way up, the difference being that the end result will be a music career instead of a life wasted on various odd jobs and street hustles. Once I have a bike again I can get up to the Peninsula in about 40-45 minutes to anywhere. I also know a Sh-tTon of good places to play, but not until I'm decent, I'd "poison" most of them if i played there now.

    CHAMP - Payin' Da Billz. Right now, clams and all, I can Pay Da Billz. I'm pretty sure my friend's friend who's letting him stay in da livin' room would rather have me in there, so I'd encourage him to get an apartment "so he can have girls overnight" and I'd move in. OK $250 a month rent. That's a little over 8 bucks a day. I could get Food Stamps (in fact I qualify now) but I hate 'em and refuse unless I REALLY REALLY needed them. But I know how to shop, cook, and eat cheap. $20 a day could support me fine. And my playing is Not Too Good to put it mildly. Yes, I know know, I can Pay Da Billz in one of the most expensive cities in the US. As I may have mentioned, it's not too hard these days to find someone willing to let ya live in their spare room or on their couch, for $20 cash a night. People like cash.

    To be continued....
     
  3. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    ....

    OK so there ya are, Payin' Da Billz, but living like a monk. Or a teenager. Livin' on someone's couch or in their spare room, paying college student type rent, goin' out and playin' on da streetz, makin' $20-$60 a day. Ya still blow clams. Double-tongueing still eludes you. And ya don't know enough church music, Sousa is more a name you revere than a name at the head of the printed music you play ... printed music?? LOL. But you know "Ain't Got No Home", "Shaving Cream", every college fight song, all kinds of motley stuff the public loves, and due to the playing for a few hours a day or more, your tone and power and endurance are incredible. You're a one-man version of what the Beatles went through in their early years in Germany. Read what they slogged through sometime.

    Gradually you become known on the open mic circuit, people are calling you for informal gigs, and if you're smart, you're going to a teacher regularly as soon as you can afford it. Between busking, gigs, and some teaching of your own, you're averaging $100 a day. Now you can consider renting an apartment of your own, a car, etc. If you keep putting in the work, aimed at long-term goals, you'll become as solid a citizen as there can be, and all starting out from playing on the street. You can get a degree in music, or not, some greats had one, most did not. I'd suggest this all ends with owning a house and joining the Rotary club, but with real estate declining the way it is, smart people are renting.

    But you can see here my vision of how day-to-day street playing to pay for immediate needs can, through work and determination, result in a solid life. Set goals. Learn thrift and good money management. The stereotypical "street musician" or "bar musician" scraping by day to day hasn't learned or used these skills. And the ones that stand out, "Look at that poor old guy..." generally have devoted more time to alcohol than to financial planning.

    Almost everyone here is a better player than I am and thus, if I can "pay da billz" anyone here can.

    PS - right now I do chores on this land here for rent, and my expenses are more like $2 a day than $20. I live well, eat well, and have few worries to distract me from the goal.
     
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    2,156
    15
    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Just keep practicing. You never know when opportunity will knock.
    I've know of many situations where a musician was called to do a gig and the only practicing they did was playing gigs. This a habit you never want to get in to.
    I don't know who said it but to me, it makes sense.
    "When you truly commit to something, the universe conspires to assist you"
    --
    Just say focused and committed and when opportunity calls ALWAYS say to the person:
    "yes I can do that. When do you need me there!!"
     
  5. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    407
    20
    Nov 16, 2005
    Alex C...as always, you crack me up...

    for all you impressionable kiddies out there, you might want to think twice about taking the advice in this thread....

    again, hilarious stuff guys, thanks so much...
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  6. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    197
    16
    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas

    I'm trying to figure out what you're talking about. I think the point most of us have been trying to make is exactly that...how FEW people really do pay all their bills with their horn. You seem to imply that if you don't "pay the bills" with the horn that you have no right to comment. If that's the case, there are maybe 4-5 people on this entire board who should ever reply to anything. Should I be allowed to comment, since I "tried" to pay my bills with the horn, and decided not to continue to do so? Should trickg be allowed since he "used" to pay the bills with his horn in the military, but now only earns a side income from it?

    Since you also seem to imply that YOU are qualified to pass judgment on this issue, why don't you offer your own advice and suggest a course of action for this young man. You did a great job of sarcasm, can you now take the time to offer a reasoned alternative to all the "BAD" advice you see here?

    I really am eagerly awaiting your reply...

    Scatmanblues
     
  7. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    407
    20
    Nov 16, 2005
    here is my eagerly awaited reply...

    but first, I just want to say that i almost never come here anymore because any intelligent post gets ignored or buried by very prolific posters who don't really know what they're talking about...

    to have a career in music:

    you have to play all styles unless you are in the top 2% or so of your chosen specialty (orchestral/jazz etc)

    you have to be prepared to play gigs you hate, with people you dispise, and not let anyone know, so you have to be a good actor

    you have to be a nice person (or a good actor), because no one wants to work with a jerk, no matter how good you are

    you want to be the guy everyone is glad to see walk in the room with your horn, and that means you play better than anyone, with no attitude and without being smarmy or a jerk

    and on top of all that, you have to be punctual, professional at all times and ready to let your CAREER get in the way of a lot of things you'd rather be doing, because it's hard work, making music. dont let anyone tell you differently

    and you have to play better than everyone, was that already mentioned? it can't be said enough...

    so yeah, a career in music is tough, and if you second guess your decision for an instant, than it isn't for you.
     
  8. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    197
    16
    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    Thanks CHAMP,

    And I want to apologize if I came off harsh. I've had a weekend of frustrating encounters with barely-qualified schmucks in my professional field, and am feeling testy. I shouldn't have jumped straight to the conclusion that I did.

    I think your advice is spot on for more than just a career in music, and appreciate that you took the time to type it out. It holds true across a lot of fields. There is much to be said for learning how to be a professional at anything.

    Scatmanblues
     
  9. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    407
    20
    Nov 16, 2005
    my pleasure mr scatman...

    i think your advice on pg 1 is very good, probably the best way to ENJOY music is to play it on the side, not as your main gig...
     
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    This stuff is all correct.

    You were asking about paying the billz, and a lot of people are finding that their college degree, their union membership, their accomplishments mean nothing now. The LAST time my advice made sense was in the 1930s. My advice was idiotic from about 1942-2002. Now it makes sense again. We're in another Depression. You can stand in an unemployment line forever, try to make it to be a full-on 99'er, and THEN what? Playing your horn will likely pay more, with less back pain, than collecting cans. It will likely pay MORE than a minimum-wage job. I charted the theoretical progress of a single person, able to live like a college student on the way up. Many will not conform to this; they'll be supporters of one or more others. Playing the horn will supplement Welfare, Food Stamps, etc. nicely. It will be far more wholesome than holding a sign by the onramp. My suggestions sound crazy because this new Depression we're in is still a new thing but they are what you need to do to play your horn to pay your billz. And of course your comments on professionalism, playing stuff you don't always like, etc.
     

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