Working condition of a professional trumpeter

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sungman, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. kadleck

    kadleck Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    new york
    That's actually pretty accurate. Pay is different every week, so it's difficult to plan for anything. Hours are NOT conducive to family life (you basically work while everyone else is off - eves, weekends, holidays, etc...). If you plan a vacation, you'll be called for work during it. The minute you get a tee time and put the golf bag on your shoulder, you'll get a "last minute" call for that day. If you do have plans to socialize and turn down a gig the next time they need someone they'll call the person who replaced you.

    That being said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. mchs3d is right on the money!

  2. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    A more important question is........"Are you a player of the highest caliber?"
    There are many, many player with degrees all the way up to DMA who can not play in big league venues.
    It is hard work being a pro, but the rewards can be great.
    You must tell yourself the truth.
    Can you do it?

  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I think you have to decide what kind of player you want to be.
    A studio musician or symphony or jazz; small group or big band.

    I think you can play for a living if you want to. You could join a service band or play on a cruise ship.

    My advice is, (coming from a guy that gave up early) stay in school for as long as you can. Learn as much as you can about every aspect of playing. The more you learn, the more options there are when your ready to play for a living.

    Here is the last bit of advice I have. I made this mistake and it was a big one. Listen to your teachers in school. NOT THE OTHER TRUMPET STUDENTS.

    I used to listen to older students that were almost certain to play professionally. They were upcoming and new and had all the new ideas. They seemed to know way more than the little music world of my school. I don't think these people play any more and never played for a living.

    Back to your original question.

    I played on the road with a dance/show band. We lived in nice hotels and played from about 6 or 7pm to 1 am. We would rehearse sometimes for the rest of the night and sleep the next day. I made 200.00 a week plus room and board and I had a room mate.

    This was in about 1980. I don't know what the pay is now.
  4. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
  5. Sungman

    Sungman Pianissimo User

    Dec 23, 2008
    That seems like a really fun life, that's what i would say would be my dream career
  6. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    I think the most important thing is to understand your potential and work toward it. Many people have talent who don't develop that talent well. Working toward a goal is the best way to get to the kind of level that being a professional requires. I heard a great thing from a world-renowned trumpet player. He said: "The number of jobs available are going to be fewer in the future, but the number of truly qualified applicants will be fewer as well." He also said: "There's always room in the world for another great trumpet player!"

    So, even though I am a student, I have learned some great things from great teachers. I go with Chris Martin's advice when he said: "As a student, don't worry about employment. Become the best musician you can become and then worry about employment." If you are truly exceptional at something--which all of us should strive to be exceptional at something--then the employment and the money and the career will fall into place. If you want to be a professional musician, I don't think it matters how many degrees you get from what schools. What matters is how great of a musician you are, and that is entirely up to your own choosing. If I succeed or fail, there is no one to blame but myself.
  7. oohhh yeah

    oohhh yeah Pianissimo User

    Nov 23, 2008
    B.C. Canada
    The question that has gone unanswered is this: How much $$$$ you get?
  8. Sungman

    Sungman Pianissimo User

    Dec 23, 2008
    True That!

    I heard the pay is 20k-50k in a orchestral
    but most of the time it sounds like macaroni and ketchup time in the basement...
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I can't believe that you picked my old job as the one you want.

    I guess it could be a good job. I'm going to tell you why I quit the band and stopped playing for years.

    The band traveled around the northeast. I think it was about a month in each place. I was engaged and my fiance wasn't with me. That was a big reason for quiting. I didn't really care for the people in the band. We didn't fight I just didn't like them. We spent a lot of time together and that made me not like my job.

    The band was good but the band leader wasn't. He was the guy that did the shows and we were the back up band. The idea was that we were working our way to Vegas. I didn't think it would ever happen because the leader wasn't good enough.

    When we rehearsed all night and slept all day we would miss our meals. They were given to us by the hotel but at a given time. You couldn't make breakfast and lunch after playing all night. This meant that you had to buy meals late at night or early morning.

    All in all, I don't remember it being a pleasant experience.
    I quit the band and came home to my girl friend and got married and a full time job and said good by to the trumpet. At that point, it was good by and good reddens.

    Maybe it will work better for you.
    I forgot to mention that you play mostly the same tunes every night and there is never time to practice. You would think that playing every night you would be a better player but it's the opposite. I could play the dance and show sets better than anybody but not much else. Your playing and reading get very sloppy.

    That's the story of why I quit the trumpet.

    I hope it works better for you.
    Be careful who you take advice from and who you hook up with.

    Good luck,
  10. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    The major American orchestras pay more than $100,000 minimum per year.
    Principal players make much more.
    Broadway players make a decent wage.
    Top musicians make very good livings.......... I repeat........Top musicians
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009

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