Is one style "easier" than another?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

    Mar 18, 2006
    I was having a discussion/debat with a friend of mine (trombone player) and he said it would be easier to "make it" playing jazz than playing legit music. My debate was that both forms of music must have a professional level of playing. Professional is a professional right? But after thinking about what he said I was considering that maybe there are more opportunities for those who play jazz???

  2. SteveRADavey

    SteveRADavey Pianissimo User

    May 25, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I'm not crazy about your (or perhaps your friend's) choice of words. Jazz is not to be opposed to "legit" music. I'm also not sure that you are picking out any specific "form of music" when you define it as other-than-jazz.

    I'll let the pros comment on the state of the marketplace (I'm just a recreational player myself), but I suspect that you are better off thinking about what styles you are most passionate about. After that, you can always become competent in the other styles as the gigs demand it of you.

    - Steve-o
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I guess it depends on the definition of "making it." I know that for me these days as an amateur/semi-pro musician (and believe me, take that "semi-pro" thing with a grain of salt - I say it because I make a solid second income yearly by gigging on trumpet) it has always seemed like there is more opportunity for me to gig and make money doing things other than "legit" music in a classical setting.

    Playing in big band and commercial, top-40 type stuff, I have gigged regularly for the last 10 years, recorded albums (promotional type stuff for bands I've been a part of) and done other recording projects of a non-classical nature. This is from a guy who used to consider himself a classical player first. It always seemed like there were more players and fewer gigs to be had, and I just couldn't break into the wedding scene or quintet scene, but I had no issues breaking into doing Latin band, big band, party bands, etc.

    But I can't say how it is at the top - how many orchestras are there where a person can make a living as a player? Conversely, how many commercial/jazz players are making their living gigging and recording? I would tend to think there are more people doing the latter than the former.
  4. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

    Mar 18, 2006
    Trickg, I guess that is kinda what he was getting at when we talked. I just didn't put it in such eloquent words! :)
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It ain't easy at all regardless of what you play.

    First of all, if you brain has mostly interest in classical, you probably have not been working on changes half of your life. That makes it REAL TOUGH because of all of the stuff that you have to understand (chords, scales, progressions, standard tunes) and have committed to memory to succeed - groove not withstanding.

    If you have been in the shed most of your playing life working on the tools needed to be a great jazz musician, it is very possible that you do not have the classical concept needed when playing with an orchestra where precision and a different type of timing are paramount.

    Like is often posted here at TM, if you have to ask the question, then you most likely have no chance anyway. The road to success is not paved with predictable hurdles. Your personality is perhaps more important than the playing skills. Compare Herb Alpert, Maurice André and Jon Faddis. Here you will see a different mix of trumpeting skills. No one is better than the other, they all used (use) their individual capabilities to their fullest.

    Follow YOUR heart. It is the only voice worth listening to!
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Huh? playing the trumpet is playing the trumpet. It might take a few songs to get in the right mind set when switching from one style to another but trumpet is trumpet.
    However, if you want to make it("it" being making money for playing):
    1)Network, Network, Network. If you can't market yourself, you're toast regardless of your skills. Never let anything distract you from marketing yourself in a positive manner.
    2)Read music like a fish goes through water. There's all kinds of people that can jam. If you want studio work, learn to read well. Time is money in the studio.
    3)Be willing to play ANYWHERE! ANYTIME! I played four gigs on St. Patrick's Day starting at 9:00 A.M. and didn't stop till 8:00 P.M. that night.
    4)Dress nice and always look like you're having fun (especially if you're not)
    5)Be willing to play any style. This summer I've played everything from country favorites like Ring of Fire in a country western biker bar to Queen of the Night in a Methodist church..
    6)Watch your audience. Learn to read them.
    7)Always take time to talk to your audience after a gig. Be humble and say "Thank you"
    8)NEVER get saucy with a customer. You'll never win.
    If a person says "that song sucked!" Just keep a smile on your face and say "You'll work harder and have it better next time, promise!"
    9) Get ready to practice alot. Not only do you have to do your regular daily exercises, you have to work up shows.
    10)Don't get drunk or allow your workers to get drunk on a gig. No bar tabs!
    11)Stay hydrated on gigs. Gatoraid or something similar that has electrolytes.
    12)A nice(absorbent) handkerchief to wipe your brow.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  7. cruiseshipgreg

    cruiseshipgreg New Friend

    Jul 7, 2009
    on a ship somewhere....
    Heres another example of comparing apples to oranges. Herseth wouldn't sound right playing lead in Basies band or laying down a few choruses at the Blue Note with Blakey nor would Snooky sound right playing Mahlers Fifth. To me it's how accomplished you are in YOUR chosen style of music that you love. No style is "easier" than another to MAKE IT in. Now lets define making it. I'm sure that has a different meaning to each individual. Is making it making a full time living at your chosen craft or being one of the top players in the world? There is no doubt though that there are more opportunities to make a dollar playing "commerical" type music however. Whether it be small group jazz, big band, shows, clubs, weddings, studio musician, etc.... I have to laugh to myself when I think about how many college "legit" or "orchestral" musicians graduate each with year and can ONLY play that style of music. How many of them are actually going to get earn a living playing principal trpt in a major symphony, big time brass quintet or play full time as a soloist? The percentages are pretty low. I always thought there should be a class in college called "Real World Musicianship". Learn how to improvise at least enough to get by on a commercial gig, learn a repertiore of standards is a few keys each, learn styles, etc. Most of us after college are going to make more money playing weddings, theater gigs, bars, etc. Sorry to ramble.....
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    So basically, from what I'm seeing here in this thread, is a loose general consensus that there are more gig opportunities to be had doing jazz and commercial music that classical, which makes sense because the number of people who listen to jazz and popular music far outweigh the number of people who listen to classical and orchestral music. If this isn't an accurate assessment, let me know.

    Regarding the ability to switch up styles, some folks can do it, some folks can't. I've never had an issue with it. I've always been equally at home playing in a concert band, brass quintet, or playing Baroque or classical solo trumpet music with organ in a liturgical setting as I am laying out lines in a Latin band, locking in the 3rd or 4th book for a big band, or playing rock and roll horn lines in a party band. It was never a problem for me.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010

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