Of all the trumpet players in the USA

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I've often wondered how far I could go with it if I really dove in and tried to make a go as a musician. Right now, only gigging about 35-40 dates a year I make between $8,000 and $10,000 playing in just one band. I'd have to put at least two more regular ensembles on the books, plus any kind of wedding work I might be able to scrounge up, and I'd have to start teaching. That's also keeping in mind that I have the ablity to gig on two completely different instruments (trumpet and drums) and voice. With all of that, I'd still take a major pay cut from what I make now being in the technical field and gigging on the side, plus the headache factor would increase immensely.

    That's too much like work, and I'd probably hate it after a year or so. I love music, but I don't know if I love it THAT much.

    That doesn't account for the possibility of landing a really solid gig that paid well, but if I had to spend a lot of time on the road, it would wreck what I have going on with my family.

    It's not really answering the question about how many trumpet players are "making it" but it clearly illustrates to me that aside from being in the Military Band program, I'd want nothing to do with trying to be a full-time musician at my level of proficiency, even though my playing would improve greatly if I was doing it full time.
     
  2. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    That's a lot of money to me BUT if I were going around with a band my costs would go up.

    Could I make $1000 a month busking? That's a bit over $30 a day, on average. I think that's very do-able. That's $12000 a year. (That's enough to pay taxes on and yes some of us are ethical about such things.)

    I was up in Mountain View California tonight, it was wall to wall people. If I had some songs down pat, and I mean really pat, I'd just be quitting now, a nice hour or two of busking. What would I make? $20? $200? With the right songs and "swinging: with the public well, it could be lucrative. Right now even my Ave Maria isn't as good as I'd like it to be, so it's not time yet. But with the skill, the money is out there.

    But a lot of people are used to living on a lot more than $12,000 a year, the median income in the US is around $50,000. On $12,000, I could live in Mountain View in a rented room, get around by public transportation and bike, and live OK. But it means living like a college student, permenantly! This is why most normal people get a regular job and then trumpet is their hobby, that may pay like a 2nd job.
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Even if I tripled my income made by playing, that wouldn't be nearly enough to maintain my current lifestyle. I have a mortgage, car payments and two teenage kids - if I were to do that, HUGE sacrifices would have to be made by everyone in my family, not just me, and I just don't see that as "success" as a musician.
     
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    Patrick is right, and that aspect was touched by Rowuk too. For most of us, it's not just about us. Some professions demand a certain lifestyle. Music has to be one of the most demanding. It does not leave room for much of anything or anybody else.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    And for that matter, I've known some people who put music first in their lives and in most of those cases, their personal lives were in shambles. They were gigging and making a living, and most of these cats could play their butts off, but having a string of kids with ex-spouses, custody stuff, child support issues, money issues - none of that seems like a lot of fun to me.

    Of course this isn't the case for everyone - for those who have been lucky enough to find a the kind of gig that pays really well sometimes those things are quite so acute, but you'd still have to be on the road a lot.

    Kinda makes a person really consider the definition of the word "success."

    There are some good stories though. I think that for people who make it into the top tier orchestras, or the premier military bands, or find themselves first call as a session player, it can be a very rewarding life full of all of the good things one hopes for when they want to "make it" as a musician - they make enough money to live comfortably, they get to play great music with other fine musicians, and it offers a level of stability that would be difficult to find elsewhere in the music world. Unfortunately, you really have to know your business as a musician to find yourself a part of those worlds, and the competition can be pretty stiff.
     
  6. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    It just occurred to me that I know who you are. We grew up in the same town and learned to play from the same person. It really is a small world.

    Mark
     
  7. Outkastah

    Outkastah Pianissimo User

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  8. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    I see it like religion. You can be very religious, but you have to balance it with family, function in society, etc. If you want a partner or family, you have to be responsible to them. If you're super-super religious, then if you're smart you have to accept that it means a sort of "monastic" life, living like a college student for life. What's bad is when people try to have it all. they want the family and a big house but only want to play music. It works for a few. For a few more it can work if they get a solid job teaching HS band or something and then teach a lot on the side or something. For most, you don't get to have it all.

    I finally went out busking! Yes! I didn't sound all that good! OK, at times, I think. I made $4.17 lol. But I got practice in, met a lot of nice people, and had a good time. It was educational and fun.

    I drove the car there which means I paid for gas, essentially. But if I'd ridden my bike, then I could almost call that a living. I can live on $5 a day. However, though I have adjusted my cost of living down to where I can live on very little, I don't want to do it long-term if I can help it, and that's a rediculously low amount of money for 2 hours' playing actually. First, I'm not that good yet. Second, there was very little foot traffic. Third, I didn't want to be hard on myself/lip going around to a couple other locations to try out the waters. I could have come home with $20 easily.

    I think the taxable threshold is minimum wage, averages out to what, $30-$40 a day? When that comes, it's time to start keeping records and paying taxes of course. The way I live, when I'm making that much, it can go really far.
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Deleted.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    Outkastah so far, playing my horn, I've made $4.17 lol.

    I do an odd assortment of odd jobs, selling at a swap meet once a month, etc. This month will be the last swap meet for me for the year. There seems to be right now, no money at all for 6 months of winter/spring.

    For me, busking will IMPROVE things. I expect it to push the beginning of my income-less period each winter from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1. And may provide a trickle of income during the normally income-less period of January to April.
     

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