View Poll Results: Do you play as a job or as a hobby?

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  • Career

    49 16.96%
  • Hobby

    141 48.79%
  • I get paid occasionally/not full time musician

    99 34.26%
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Posts 201 to 229 of 229
  1. #201

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    Same a Bfrench here...just turned 67 and started playing guitar at 12 when the Beatles came to America.First paying gig was the 9th grade graduation. I still play everyday (added violin years ago) and do occasional paying gigs as a guitarist/singer. The whole getting paid for playing thing has changed profoundly. With so much music so ubiquitous and free, no one wants to pay for it anymore. At this point I play out of pure love of doing so. I'm still working up new material and get the deepest satisfaction from playing and singing. Trying hard to instill a love of live playing in the grandchildren.

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  3. #202

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    I always say that I play professionally. Music isn't, and has never been, my primary source of income, but I've worked professionally as a musician since I was a teenager, and I definitely play at a professional level, I do the same gigs as other musicians who are full time pros, and therefore, I just say I play professionally.

    I personally dislike the term hobby as I feel it doesn't properly describe the amount of time, effort and dedication I have towards learning this music.

  4. #203

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    I think "amateur" (referring to meanings related to this book) is a term to be preferred to "hobbyst".
    But that's what I do, I'm definitely not somebody who makes his living out of music.

  5. #204

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    full time here too, i try to do as many jazz gigs as possible ive turned down good paying gigs to do a $50-75-100 jazz gig just cause i knew the other players were great and i was gonna get my ass kicked..lol. I do have a $50 steady big band gig though, that has been great but i dont get to solo much, which is fine but good for sight reading. i have to play all styles rock, country, pop, track gigs what ever. Hell i play Mandolin as well in a country band, which is actually really fun... wish i could just play jazz at all times cause that's all i practice the most.

  6. #205
    Quote Originally Posted by larry graves View Post
    I cant understand why your stumped because younger cats aren't playing old fashioned music, Be- Bop went out of fashion in the early fifties. What audience are you referring to anyway the residents of rest homes. You expect the younger generation to go out and play older music but not you.. if every jazz guitarist decided to become a hobbyist there would be no jazz out there...Actually jazz is holding it's own, just look at the attendances jazz festivals......
    not so sure about that. I recent trip to NYC revealed that many of the greatest players are not working regularly and the ones that are are playing to empty houses. Twice in the last 12 months I have visited NYC in may (in 2017 and 2018) and both times, I reached out to Kreisberg, Rogers, Bernstein, Juris and a bunch of others. Both times, I came up empty handed although Kreisberg ended up filling in for someone on the last trip at the last minute and I got to hear him that way.


    I went to hear one of the best jazz musicians in NYC a couple weeks ago at a well known jazz club and he was playing to a total house of 7 people, 3 of which were listening (my table) and the other 4 were talking. He stopped playing several times to glare at the talkers. After the set, he came over and sat at our table and mentioned that he was so tired of the NYC club scene and didn't know if he wanted to continue doing it. Many of the great players have moved out of the city back to their home towns and are mostly doing road gigs and/or festivals.

    And while Manhattan has more real jazz clubs than anywhere else in the world, Vanguard, Blue Note, Mezzrow, smalls, 55 bar, bar next door, many of these clubs are struggling and featuring indie, blues or pop music on some nights. And while there are tons of restaurants and lounges with jazz bands, many of them are not conducive to anything other than background music. I've heard Pasquale Grasso a bunch of times in NYC. Once was in a lounge, and another time was in a restaurant. My table was the only table paying attention in both cases. So much so that he came over to our table and thanked us on both occasions.

    So yeah, festivals will always do well and that's where the better money is for a jazz musician but you can't do festivals 200 nights a year. Even Pat Metheny is no longer doing that quantity and for years he was the model of 200 nights a year on the road.

  7. #206

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post

    I went to hear one of the best jazz musicians in NYC a couple weeks ago at a well known jazz club and he was playing to a total house of 7 people, 3 of which were listening (my table) and the other 4 were talking.
    Pretty much the same here. I can go to a restaurant with Peter Sprague playing, there might be 10 people there listening and the rest talking.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  8. #207
    I think there was a period of time where any given week you could hear bollenback, rogers, juris, bernstein, johnston, kreisberg, mazza, etc. I think it's slowed down a lot though.

    And the other factor is the expense. It's not feasible for a jazz musician to live in manhattan anymore. An apartment in the village is going to run $2500/month for an efficiency. So guitarist living in brooklyn or queens and faced with a $45 uber ride * 2 eating up close to 100% of their gig fee would need to schlep their guitar, amp , pedalboard on the subway and transfer trains part of the way through. Some of the older guys who have rent control may be in better shape in that regard...

  9. #208
    Also, what is a pro anymore? If someone plays 4 gigs a month living in NYC but has to have a day gig to pay the rent, does that make them an amateur? Or what about say, 2 gigs a month and 3 days a week teaching guitar?

  10. #209

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    Also, what is a pro anymore? If someone plays 4 gigs a month living in NYC but has to have a day gig to pay the rent, does that make them an amateur? Or what about say, 2 gigs a month and 3 days a week teaching guitar?
    I've felt this way since I moved to NYC in 2000: it was immediately obvious to me that whatever criteria anyone sets that defines a "pro", you're going to have world class players playing world class gigs that don't meet that criteria. basically everyone teaches for a significant part of their income now, does videos, etc.

    This was even true way back in the day, Joey Baron worked a day job in manhattan for many years, and for some of those years he was recording amazing music with Bill Frisell. Countless jazz musicians have relied on their spouse's income to make ends meet, including, at times, even Monk.

    This is a topic that has come up time and time again on forums over the years, and I hope the distinction between "pro" and "amateur" is fading in importance.

  11. #210

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    When I last posted to this thread 1n 2013, all of my meagre income was from playing. I now get a nice Social Security check each month that pays the same as a whole lot of gigs. (unlike some of my musician friends, I always paid my taxes.) So I guess I'm now a hobbyist!
    Making a living with music is harder than ever and, even if you love it, it can grind you down.

    I'm now happy playing 3 or 4 gigs a month. Just the fun stuff.

  12. #211

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    I just don't care for the word hobby, even if is the correct term. Actually, to be totally honest, I am a noodler. Most of the time, I noodle on the guitar. Occasionally I will learn to string some new chords together with what I know or try a few new riffs. But the majority of the time, it is noodling.

  13. #212

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    I have spent many more hours trying to be a good guitarist than I even have learning how to repair guitars. A neck refret is a nice gig and I make the hours plus I don't drag any equipment. Playing guitar for a living is not something I would ever consider even though I did it for a few years during and after college. My money came from teaching.

    If someone can make a living playing guitar and being a musician they are special folks in my opinion.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  14. #213

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    I am a pro, but I feel like a hobbyist.

  15. #214

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    I’ve played for a living and played as an amateur as well. Hobbyist? I do build free flight balsa models as a hobby but guitar for me is a passion. I single parented two children and for three years found working as a guitarist the best way to both make a meager living and be there for my kids in the daytime hours. That was the early 80’s in Cleveland. I wouldn’t want to have to do it again. I still gig 3-5 times a month but not to make a living. I find the word hobbyist pejorative relative to being a musician

  16. #215

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    Former pro, now I gig when I can given business related travel.

    I ‘tour’ a lot, but wield a laptop instead of an axe.

  17. #216
    I used to play out for $ quite a bit in my younger days and did so for some time (while always having another job on the side). More recently, my brother in-law and I did a number of gigs the last few years at Italian festivals, playing traditional Italian music, but I've since moved, so that was the end of that. Having typed all of that and in answer to the poll: I consider myself a hobbyist.
    Midnight Blues

  18. #217

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    Hobbyist/Amateur ---- where amateur is one who is a lover of a science or art, but does not produce income with it ----fits me squarely. Been trying to learn guitar since 1966 or so. Never made money to speak of. There was one time in 1982 I filled in for some friends at a wedding and they gave me $100 dollars. Not very accomplished. But I still enjoy it alot. Retired now, so I find time to play a bit more in my old age. Keeps me off the streets.

  19. #218

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    I've never cleared more than $500 or so a year playing gigs, after expenses and whatnot, so essentially I'm a hobbyist who occasionally hits paydirt. That was playing rock -- I haven't earnt a dime playing jazz, and rightfully so, because I'm not that good at it at all.

  20. #219

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    I've considered myself a professional musician since I was in my late teens/early 20s, but the label is more formality than reality at this stage. I don't feel too bad about it, though. When I was in Austin two years ago I had a gig and hired a musician whose performing and recording credits include Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and Robben Ford. The gig paid $60 per man plus tips.

  21. #220

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarbuddy View Post
    When I was in Austin two years ago I had a gig and hired a musician whose performing and recording credits include Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and Robben Ford. The gig paid $60 per man plus tips.
    That's a pretty sad reality....

  22. #221

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    With apologies to Schopenhauer for abusing his quote...



    "No time can be more unfavorable to music
    than that in which it is shamefully misused
    on the one hand to further political objects,
    on the other as a means of livelihood..."
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  23. #222

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    I retired young (45) and after a couple of somewhat successful careers in law and management, I decided to give full time music a go. I am 61 now and have averaged about 200 gigs a year for the last 15 years (making about 20K including gig fees, tips and free food and drink). All of my gigs are jazz gigs, about 70 of them are just me playing solo jazz guitar. the rest are duo, trio, quartet and once in a blue moon, quintet gigs. I do not teach (I turn down at least one prospective student a month, so I could if I wanted to I suppose). Most of my gigs are background music gigs in restaurants and wine bars. I have played with local, national and international luminaries (from Vince Lateano to Larry Coryell) and can hold my own, but my skill set will always keep me being "local talent". My earnings are a meager living, but I have other sources of income and my wife makes a great living (As Redd Foxx once said, "all a man needs is a good woman......with a good job!)

    If I can get 3 or 4 more years more of living this dream, it will all have been a pretty amazing ride. Getting paid to play your guitar is indeed a dream come true!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  24. #223
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    I retired young (45) and after a couple of somewhat successful careers in law and management, I decided to give full time music a go. I am 61 now and have averaged about 200 gigs a year for the last 15 years (making about 20K including gig fees, tips and free food and drink). All of my gigs are jazz gigs, about 70 of them are just me playing solo jazz guitar. the rest are duo, trio, quartet and once in a blue moon, quintet gigs...
    Do you mind if I live vicariously through you?
    Midnight Blues

  25. #224

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blues View Post
    Do you mind if I live vicariously through you?
    Please do!

    I figure my chances of living this dream for another 3-4 years (I am truly surprised that it has lasted this long, to be honest) depends on two things:

    1. My health. At 61, the first signs of arthritis are showing up. Most bass players and guitarists over 60 report some problems with this. If my hands start to hurt significantly more (and more often), I will have to quit.

    and:

    2. The availability of the gigs. The venue owners/managers and agents who keep me employed are all in their 60's and 70's. When they retire and are replaced by younger venue owners/managers and agents, I presume the gigs (if there is still an interest in live jazz) will go to younger players.

    So far so good.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  26. #225
    Thanks!

    Just turned 60 myself this past summer, so I certainly read where you're coming from.

    I hope that both will continue for you well into the years to come!


    Midnight Blues

  27. #226

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    This explains why I would rather repair a guitar than take a gig. I play well enough to function when needed but i have my limitations. I can do a refret, dressing, and then a headstock repair in almost one day. That would be a lot of gigs and I don’t have to travel. Finally I have to play the guitars to check then out. A blessing.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  28. #227

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    I get payed for playing guitar and earn the living for me and my family (wife and one daughter) by making music. So I am a professional musician . But don't play in any famous band, I'm not a well known guitarist and I even would go so far, saying, there is not one single style I'm really very good in. I play Jazz, but also Funk, Alternative, Rock/Pop-Covers but also (and I love) Blues, Acoustic, Electric, every now and then sub at a Musical-Show, some Folk or Country... I do everything, it is never boring, I always (have to) learn many new things, there is no (boring) routine and I love that. The job has many disadvantages, but I am happy and thankfull, that I can live my dream as a working musician!

  29. #228

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    Throwing my hat in the ring here...

    I just turned 33, went to college undergrad for music, studied classical guitar and jazz, played in and sang in an original indie rock band that entire time and we gigged a lot regionally, recorded a few CDs. After that, moved to NYC in 2009, tried the music business and hated it, lived there for a few years and got my MA in music ed at Teachers College, still played in a band the whole time, minor touring, more CDs. Then, I switched focus to jazz solely and moved north to Yonkers, so I'm just outside NYC. My wife is a music teacher in a nearby town, does pretty well because she has a lot of experience. I've been teaching music full-time for about 7-8 years. We've got two little kids (3 and 1). Last year I gigged about 50 times, or once a week, a lot of restaurant/bar background stuff, places in NYC, some jazz clubs, some weddings, go to jam sessions, took a couple lessons with Adam Rogers, I recorded a CD that got some good reviews...I also make in a point to go to the city and see music once a month or so. In fact, I saw Adam Rogers with Joe Locke a few nights ago...amazing.

    But, in 2018, I averaged $100/gig. So yeah, that was about 5K for 50 gigs. That is not a living. I practice every day and put a lot into it, but the monetary returns are not there. I make a lot more teaching music, which is cool because I get to play the piano and run a chorus...I mostly enjoy it.

    On good days, I liken myself to Vivaldi, who composed so much and taught at a girls' orphanage. My wife recently let me know that his situation was actually a punishment bestowed on him by the higher ups in the church, so maybe that changes my assessment of myself too ;-)

    I talk to the younger players I gig with around here - one told me he made 10K a few years ago. That, in my opinion, is not a living either. Not sure how it's possible to survive. He's a monster player too.

    Other days I wish I could just play and not have to teach. Then still, just the other night I played with an older guy who played professionally for years and is trying to get a music teaching job in my area and cannot. So, other times, I feel very fortunate about my situation.

    That's it. I consider myself professional because I play at a high level, play with amazing players, gig for money as often as I can, release albums, and am dedicated. But, if someone wants to hurt my feelings, they could say it's just a hobby. Not sure if a label matters.

    I do love the process though, playing, practicing, gigging, writing, it feeds my soul. So, I just try to be as appreciate as possible of my situation.

    That's it!

  30. #229

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarimbaGuitar View Post
    So, how many of you are professional musicians and how many are just playing jazz guitar as a hobby?
    I do Praise and Worship exclusively these days, so I get paid NOTHING. I play and record for Jesus, professionally. I have to audition every 6 months to keep my position. Best gig I've ever had, BY FAR.