Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Posts 51 to 100 of 120
  1. #51

    User Info Menu

    @pcsanwald yes exactly, and they were the golden days!

    But despite the financial hardships, Jazz was a vigorous popular art form back in those days; it no longer is.

    Also, as per my opening comment quoting Charlie Parker, the African Americans who really created Jazz, and provided almost all its innovations, didn't have many other choices.

    Jazz is predominantly now a white middle class hobby. Nothing wrong with that of course.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

    User Info Menu

    An industry insider talking about making a living playing music.

    Rick Beato's description of the video

    In my latest installment of Rick's Rants, we discussed how to make a living after graduating from music school, making money in the music business, promoting your music on social media, why Steve Albini didn't keep his royalties from Nirvana, can you make money as a songwriter in today's music economy, is it worth it to go to music school, how to get paid more as a sideman, the truth about studio internships!!

  4. #53

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by BGulecki313
    Those of you who pay your rent by just gigging and teaching lessons, how do you do it?
    One guy who is doing it and could probably give you some good advice is right there in Ann Arbor. Jake Reichbart seems to work constantly in the area, and is well-known for his teaching videos, which he posts in this forum. He's had a regular restaurant gig for something like 20 years and does lots of other gigs in Detroit and Ann Arbor. He may be the rare exception that stays fully booked, but if you check out his videos, you can see that he's a) an excellent player b) extremely versatile - he knows a ton of pop tunes and carry a solo gig playing them without breaking a sweat, and then turn around and do another gig just playing jazz and standards, and c) quite industrious - he's constantly putting out videos and "building the brand".

    I don't know him personally, but he seems like a good case study for what it takes to pull off a full-time career playing the guitar. If you don't know him already, you should probably seek him out.
    Last edited by unknownguitarplayer; 02-10-2018 at 02:21 PM.

  5. #54

    User Info Menu

    The demand for musicians keeps decreasing and colleges churn out more and more graduates every year. The supply and demand is out of whack. The vast majority of those in college won't make it in music without a day job. They'll be hobbyists. If you have what it takes to be a full time musician, you don't need college.

    Stop accumulating debt (maybe not if you're still living off your parents?), just get out there right now and be a musician.

  6. #55

    User Info Menu

    This may have been mentioned, sorry if it's a repeat.

    There may not be one magic answer, but if you keep asking, you'll see that the answers keep falling into certain categories, and that people who are maybe five states away from each other are saying the same things.

    So, to start with :

    1. What have you heard / learned so far ? You're not allowed to say : " You're the first person I asked. " - You're only allowed to say that once, then you'd better get to the business of getting answers.
    2. What other classes besides 'jazz studies at a university' are you taking ? If you're doing the usual ' rocks for jocks ' , and 'ballroom dancing' , etc etc. is that something you'll ever ' fall back on' post graduation ?
    3. What non-music jobs have you had, and is there something you liked ? And this means having a Boss who wasn't your Mom or Dad.

    Start there - and good luck.
    PS
    I had a local pro tell me he gauges gigs ( money making vs money losing ) - by how much gas it takes to actually get to it. Now those are thin margins.

    And again good luck.
    Last edited by Dennis D; 02-10-2018 at 07:20 PM.

  7. #56

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by BGulecki313
    I'm a sophomore majoring in Jazz Studies, and I don't want to fall back on a day job when I graduate. Ideally, I'd like to get gigs and teach private lessons right off the bat. I know some people who just gig and teach lessons, and they're able to afford decent one bedroom apartments. But I know other people who have day jobs in offices or banks, and only get one gig a week. I live in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, and it's a great scene for Jazz.

    Those of you who pay your rent by just gigging and teaching lessons, how do you do it? How many lessons do you teach and how many gigs do you get a week in order to get by?
    TBH, I think any advice I give will already be out of date by the time you graduate.

    Keep your eyes and ears open if you want to find a niche and make some coin. There'll be some ideas, new technology or something that early adopters can get in on.

    OTOH, if you want to be professional jazz guitarist, cultivate bloody mindedness as an artform.

  8. #57

    User Info Menu

    I think the OP has already committed his tertiary education. And I'm sure everyone respects that and wishes him well.

    This thread has opened up a lot of points that are off topic, but interesting. Another one...

    A university-qualified architect, doctor, or lawyer, or marketing executive etc etc can always be a part-time jazz guitar player.

    But a university-qualified jazz guitar player cannot be a part-time lawyer or doctor etc (I hope!).

  9. #58

    User Info Menu

    You could always do what I did... develop into a mediocre player and marry a gifted singer who's a booking agent.

  10. #59

    User Info Menu

    christianm77 makes a point in his "any advice we give will be obsolete" by the time BGulecki313 graduates. Mainly because the social media landscape will have changed a lot by then, and social media is currently a way for musicians to reach beyond the local scene for income. I would suggest having some classes in marketing, business, computers and social media/websites, etc., because in order to be successful as a musician (as opposed to just not starving to death) having those skills is crucial. You have to be able to get your name out there and, unlike the old days, there aren't ready ways to do that like jam sessions in most places.

    But not to just be Danny Downer: now that I think more about it, I do have one friend who is a full-time musician without a formal non-musical day job. She is a singer- standards and jazz tunes but not herself an improviser; her husband is an accountant and also her main accompanist as he is one of the top local jazz pianists. This reduces her performance costs as well as sharing costs of living, supported in part by his day job. They have a condo or townhouse which reduces or eliminates yard work and such out of their schedules. That also insulates them from the vagaries of living in rental property, which can be brutal especially at the lower end of the cost range.

    Managing and curating her brand, lining up gigs and projects, etc., is basically a full-time day job on top of music rehearsal and performance. She does social media for marketing and revenue (YouTube videos, for example, which can be monetized, as well as Twitter, Facebook, an e-mail list, etc.). She has been awarded a number of arts grants to put together specific projects, which helps defray costs and results in a better bottom line. She does projects with other musicians who have their own following as a way to mutually expand their fan bases; she's great to work with and thus has a wide range of collaborators. In addition to social media, she also attends personally to her audience (talking to them at gigs, recognizing them from previous gigs, etc.) which builds up a sense of loyalty. Sales of CDs and such at gigs as well as using online distribution (CDBay, iTunes, etc.) are also resources. She's willing to take a broad range of gigs large and small. She travels to New York and other places several times a year for performances- much larger markets than hereabouts.

    Basically she has created multiple small revenue streams- none of them pay great, but put together she earns as much as she did at her former day job.

  11. #60

    User Info Menu

    Thanks for the mention by Steve above, yes, I make a full time living as a jazz guitarist and I am fully and even overbooked. The "secret" is that at the center of all the sessions, sideman and wedding gigs I have developed a solo guitar ability. Walk into any establishment/cafe/restaurant/cocktail event with a guitar and a tiny amp, entertain the patrons as background music and collect money nightly. If anyone wants further advice/ideas/introduction into the style, feel free to email me jake.reichbart@gmail.com. You can easily find my videos on YouTube. Thanks, Jake

  12. #61

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by BGulecki313
    I'm a sophomore majoring in Jazz Studies, and I don't want to fall back on a day job when I graduate. Ideally, I'd like to get gigs and teach private lessons right off the bat. I know some people who just gig and teach lessons, and they're able to afford decent one bedroom apartments. But I know other people who have day jobs in offices or banks, and only get one gig a week. I live in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, and it's a great scene for Jazz.
    Buy Hal Crook's book, "Ready, Aim, Improvise!" Besides being a book that all of us should own, it has a priceless section on music/jazz as a career.









    Well, did you order it yet?!?!

  13. #62

    User Info Menu

    Stop by The Earle sometime when I play, I play 5-10 gigs a week in Ann Arbor and SE Michigan.

  14. #63

    User Info Menu

    I think you have to be a really good player, be versatile, be able to play other type of gigs as well, and have a professional attitude. Nothing wrong with teaching on the side, beats playing lousy music. Also the musicians profession is a networking profession, no networking no profession

  15. #64

    User Info Menu

    Something that hasn’t really been mentioned yet is indie writing and recording. Back in my misspent (?) youth the indie scene was in full swing in London. A comparatively modestly selling album distributed through an indie label could keep a 5 piece band in income for 2-4 years.

    Indie is kind of interesting because you can make of it what you want. Jazz-inflected, punk-inflected, rock, folk etc. Indie didn't happen because of the big record companies, it started because of musicians getting bored with the way big record companies did business, and figuring out how to do things themselves.


    About Jake Reichbart,I believe he has two world records

    • the longest running residency in the world
    • and the largest number of solo guitar performances on youtube


    not an easy act to follow!

  16. #65

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup
    Something that hasn’t really been mentioned yet is indie writing and recording. Back in my misspent (?) youth the indie scene was in full swing in London. A comparatively modestly selling album distributed through an indie label could keep a 5 piece band in income for 2-4 years.
    I don't think anyone makes this kind of money off records anymore. I cannot think of a single band I know of that has generated that kind of income off recordings.

    I dunno, maybe "indie" carries a different connotation in Britain? In the US, in the 90s, it used to be slang for "independent record label", the prime examples being Merge Records, Sub Pop, Alternative Tentacles, and SST. A bit later, maybe late-ish 90s, people started calling certain bands that were on these labels "indie rock": in my neck of the woods at the time (north carolina in the states), bands like Superchunk, Archers Of Loaf, Sleater Kinney, Pavement, etc were part of this.

    It used to be that you could make some good money off records, but I don't think this is the case any longer. Very few people are actually paying for CDs or LPs or any other kind of recording media today.

  17. #66

    User Info Menu

    Hi pcsanwald

    yes you're right, the indie scene is well past in the UK too, just like the jazz scene. Which comes back to my main point that the business of being a musician is harder than it ever was and getting harder all the time.

    Re indie, in the UK it grew out of the Punk scene. The best known label was Rough Trade which started in 1978 in London, but there were many other indpendent labels all over the country. RT had loads of bands including the Smiths, the Fall, Stiff Little Fingers, and US bands too. There was a lot of spill over of musicians between indie and Punk - the Clash, PIL and on and on. The early 80's was really hot. There were gigs all over London virtually every night, from pubs to major venues.

    One of the reasons that records sales have died is internet piracy of course. I think McLaughlin said in a recent interiew that his record sales are 10% of what they were - ie down 90%!

    A lot of that piracy happens through youtube doesn't it. So I guess the links to youtube on this forum just fuel the problem?

  18. #67

    User Info Menu

    First time poster here, I came across this thread searching for something else and felt compelled to reply.

    I've been a professional guitarist in a major US city (the "second" city ) for nearly 20 years. Here is what I have learned, summed up as briefly as possible.

    To "make it" as a professional musician, one of the following MUST occur in your life:

    1) You have a trust fund. Hush Hush! Most folks that have this arrangement are very secretive about it, because it diminishes their credibility as an "artist" almost instantly. But.... get some people drunk enough and they'll tell you all their business. You'd be surprised how many "gigging" musicians have a trust fund or get a monthly allowance (in the thousands) from Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa.

    2) Your wife has a killer job. This would be the most common solution. Most of the "cats" I know that "just play" have a wife toiling away at some 40 hour (or more) a week job earning $70k or more a year. This affords them their days to rehearse, hang out, practice, record shop, etc... and then they are free to gig every night and contribute what they can to the family finances.

    3) You have a sweet teaching gig. The golden goose. Yes, this is akin to a day job. But if you're lucky enough to score one of the now incredibly rare full-time tenure track University positions that's actually located in or near a city that has a legitimate jazz scene, not Fargo or outer Mongolia, you have basically won the lottery. The fact here is that most colleges and universities are trending towards the adjunct model. This is very affordable for them as they don't have to pay ANY kind of benefits. While the hourly wage is substantially better than just teaching random private lessons, adjunct work is a means-to-an-end of sorts. There is no possibility for upward mobility in this new adjunct scenario.

    4) You must be exceptionally, talented. Like top .01% talented. Then you can tour the world and support yourself just playing "jazz". You MUST, in fact, tour the WORLD because the money is overseas. You might be careful what you wish for here, because 9-10 months or more of every year will be spent on the road. Mostly sitting in airports, on tarmacs, in customs, etc. So how does this model work if you have a family back home?

    I have close friends that are in each one of these categories. Each one has it's ups and downs. For me personally, it has been a mixed bag. I have ONLY ever done music related things, including a TON of gigging but I have also always taught in some capacity. I have never been able to see myself outside of the world of music. I am happiest when I'm living life "inside the arc" of music. Listening to it, playing it, talking about it, discovering it with curiosity, teaching it, reading about it, etc.

    Follow your truth and you'll find a way! Good luck!
    Last edited by 1958Wes; 02-15-2018 at 03:32 PM.

  19. #68

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958Wes
    First time poster here, I came across this thread searching for something else and felt compelled to reply.

    I've been a professional guitarist in a major US city (the "second" city ) for nearly 20 years. Here is what I have learned, summed up as briefly as possible.

    To "make it" as a professional musician, one of the following MUST occur in your life:

    1) You have a trust fund. Hush Hush! Most folks that have this arrangement are very secretive about it, because it diminishes their credibility as an "artist" almost instantly. But.... get some people drunk enough and they'll tell you all their business. You'd be surprised how many "gigging" musicians have a trust fund or get a monthly allowance (in the thousands) from Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa.

    2) Your wife has a killer job. This would be the most common solution. Most of the "cats" I know that "just play" have a wife toiling away at some 40 hour (or more) a week job earning $70k or more a year. This affords them their days to rehearse, hang out, practice, record shop, etc... and then they are free to gig every night and contribute what they can to the family finances.

    3) You have a sweet teaching gig. The golden goose. Yes, this is akin to a day job. But if you're lucky enough to score one of the now incredibly rare full-time tenure track University positions that is not located in or near a city that has an actual jazz scene, not outer Mongolia, you have basically won the lottery. The fact here is that most colleges and universities are trending towards the adjunct model. This is very affordable for them as they don't have to pay ANY kind of benefits. While the hourly wage is substantially better than just teaching random private lessons, adjunct work is a means-to-an-end of sorts. There is no possibility for upward mobility in this new adjunct scenario.

    4) You must be exceptionally, talented. Like top .01% talented. Then you can tour the world and support yourself just playing "jazz". You MUST, in fact, tour the WORLD because the money is overseas. You might be careful what you wish for here, because 9-10 months or more of every year will be spent on the road. Mostly sitting in airports, on tarmacs, in customs, etc. So how does this model work if you have a family back home?

    I have close friends that are in each one of these categories. Each one has it's ups and downs. For me personally, it has been a mixed bag. I have ONLY ever done music related things, including a TON of gigging but I have also always taught in some capacity. I have never been able to see myself outside of the world of music. I am happiest when I'm living life "inside the arc" of music. Listening to it, playing it, talking about it, discovering it with curiosity, teaching it, reading about it, etc.

    Follow your truth and you'll find a way! Good luck!
    Oh cmon, if ya wanna be anonymous, might as well tell da truth. 'mixed bag' .. You got a wife with a killer job, don't ya!?

  20. #69

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Oh cmon, if ya wanna be anonymous, might as well tell da truth. 'mixed bag' .. You got a wife with a killer job, don't ya!?
    I wish! My wife works in social services... if we depended on her income alone (after taxes and insurance) we'd be at the poverty line, or below.

    My mixed bag has been:

    1) Teaching: a lot of this. Slowly working my way up the ladder to better teaching gigs over the last two decades.
    2) Playing Saturday nights in various wedding bands. Again, working my way slowly up this ladder to better bands with better pay, better band leaders and better musicians.
    3) Taking every. single. gig. I got called for. This would include regular gigs with "jazz" "singers" that are sorely lacking in the fundamentals of music. Oh, and I worked my way - slowly - up the ladder to working with better and better and eventually world-class singers.
    4) Doing recording work, copy work, transcribing and charting out tunes for $50 a piece.
    5) Playing "jazz" gigs. I put this one last because while it is the most important artisticly, it is without a doubt the least important financially. I've done more than my fair share of $20 gigs, $15 gigs, free gigs. And then the occasionally "properly breaded" jazz gig where you play real music for a real audience and get paid real money. These are few and far between.

    I wanted to post my experience to help the o.p. of this thread. I wish I would have had a forum like this with some real-world perspective 20+ years ago. I went to "jazz" school - for a bachelors and then 8 years later to get my masters. There was very little talk about what was on the other side of jazz academia. Talking about the true realities of making a living as a musician in music school can be counter productive to the core ethos of the "jazz performance" educational system. They want you to believe that the music business is vital and viable because the university construct depends on student enrollment to survive. I feel, in many ways, that I was sold a false bill of goods in music school, but that is another post for another thread.

    More than anything, I encourage my students at the College / University level that wish to have careers in music to become as musically diverse as possible. Yes, you can focus on jazz but also learn how to play many different styles effectively. Learn Pro-Tools or Logic and start working on home recording and/or electronic music. Get really good at playing behind singers. Learn how to play solo. The list goes on and on!

  21. #70

    User Info Menu

    Maybe he is 4) top .01% talented and is 1) keeping his trust fun for retirement. That is my guess.

  22. #71

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    Maybe he is 4) top .01% talented and is 1) keeping his trust fun for retirement. That is my guess.
    Hey! I never said that I "made it" in this business....!!! The OP wanted to know how to "make it work" without a day job. These are my honest observations from real world experience in a city with a big music scene, these are generalized of course, and not including the option #5 which is scraping by at the poverty line and living month to month with little or no savings. In the past, we were on unemployment and medicaid for a long stretch. My wife works in social service. Neither of us come from money. My personal "mixed bag" has largely consisted of years of gigs and years of teaching... earning better employment and opportunities the "old fashioned" way.

  23. #72

    User Info Menu

    • Be an extrovert. A so-so guitarist with excellent BS skills is generally more successful than the introverted genius.
    • Learn to play a 2nd instrument well (and I mean well), either bass or keyboards or both.
    • Learn to sing

  24. #73

    User Info Menu

    Business is the primary skill, music is just the product you hustle.

  25. #74

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    • Be an extrovert. A so-so guitarist with excellent BS skills is generally more successful than the introverted genius.
    • Learn to play a 2nd instrument well (and I mean well), either bass or keyboards or both.
    • Learn to sing
    Well, I dunno about that... How did you get to that statement?

    First, you can't really choose. By the time you are an adult looking for work, you are already who you are. I'm more on introverted side myself, and I'm always amazed how in America being loud, outspoken, and overtly friendly are often considered good traits. Not to me though. So for some being extroverted means faking it, which is a bad thing. Being natural and comfortable is more important, no?

    Then it might work in a short run, but eventually people get tired of mediocrity, no matter how good at BS you are. So introverted genius will get the spot in the end anyway.

    So I'd rather substitute it with Don't Be A Jerk, Be Nice To People. Now that's the important rule in getting work! And it's a good rule to follow in general

  26. #75

    User Info Menu

    The bands I worked with and knew all had management. Trying to mix creative skills with management skills is hell imho. But then I've only played with creative bands.

    Why would anyone want to put a university commitment and all of the thousands of hours of practice into playing weddings and funerals for a pittance?

    It really doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't it be more satisfying to do a degree in something else and earn a lot more more money in a secure career?
    Last edited by sunnysideup; 02-17-2018 at 04:30 AM.

  27. #76

    User Info Menu

    Yeh I don’t think introverts choose to be introverts.

    As a bit of a loudmouth myself it’s taken me a long time to appreciate where introverts are coming from, since they can seem haughty or unfriendly at first.

    So many great musicians are introverts, though, it’s an essential skill to get on with them!

  28. #77

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Well, I dunno about that... How did you get to that statement?

    First, you can't really choose. By the time you are an adult looking for work, you are already who you are. I'm more on introverted side myself, and I'm always amazed how in America being loud, outspoken, and overtly friendly are often considered good traits. Not to me though. So for some being extroverted means faking it, which is a bad thing. Being natural and comfortable is more important, no?

    Then it might work in a short run, but eventually people get tired of mediocrity, no matter how good at BS you are. So introverted genius will get the spot in the end anyway.

    So I'd rather substitute it with Don't Be A Jerk, Be Nice To People. Now that's the important rule in getting work! And it's a good rule to follow in general
    My comment 'be an extrovert' was tongue in cheek. What I was trying to imply was that if you tend to be introverted, it's important to be aware of it and make sure you develop good interpersonal skills.

    You're right. You can't choose. But that isn't an excuse for "Hey, this is who I am, take it or leave it." Unless perhaps you're Mick Goodrick or Keith Jarrett. (No crack on those guys, I love them.) I love spending entire weekends alone practicing, but it wasn't good for my wallet.

    It depends on what the OP is going for. If he's going to teach and play a few quiet jazz gigs that's one thing. If he finds himself having to play weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, anniversaries, then either he or the guy running the band better have his Ryan Seacrest skills together.

    Perhaps your experience has been different, but this has been my experience. Maybe you've been luckier than me.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    As a bit of a loudmouth myself it’s taken me a long time to appreciate where introverts are coming from, since they can seem haughty or unfriendly at first.

    Congratulations. I haven't got that far with extroverts.
    Last edited by Dana; 02-17-2018 at 10:22 AM.

  29. #78

    User Info Menu

    The issue isn't really about being loudmouths or not.

    Can "jazz" musicians support a"normal" life with a house, apartment, car, family.

    In London they can't, and anyone who who says they can is lying.

    Unless they are subsidised by their parents, or the state (ie the tax payers in real jobs).

  30. #79

    User Info Menu

    The OP didn't actually ask how to make a living as a jazz musician. He said he was studying jazz in college and wanted to know how full time musicians make a living.

    You can't make a living as a jazz musician here either. But you can make a living if you're creative. For most it's a combination of teaching and gigs (jazz, corporate, parties, etc)

  31. #80

    User Info Menu

    Dana you're right. We've gone well off the OP's original question - many times.

    Personally I considered developing a new thread based on this, but the xenophobes would never have contributed to it. Much easier to coat-tail on a US neophyte.

    Also, the OP possibly has learnt a lot about asking the relevant questions rather than getting easy answers.

    Ouch, was that patronising - hope not.

  32. #81

    User Info Menu

    Still, there are numerous people on the forum claiming to be professional musicians.

    Some of them are. Some of them are just lying.

    No professional musician would spend all day on this forum would they.

    Unless they're desperately hunting for inexperienced buyers of "educational services".

  33. #82

    User Info Menu

    Can "jazz" musicians support a"normal" life with a house, apartment, car, family.

    In London they can't, and anyone who who says they can is lying.
    i wouldn't put it in such absolute terms, i have a bunch of friends both in London and NYC that make a living playing music, many of them don't even teach at all. A few play only jazz gigs.

    Here is one in London (the sax player), -- with Nigel Price on guitar!


  34. #83

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Reichbart
    Thanks for the mention by Steve above, yes, I make a full time living as a jazz guitarist and I am fully and even overbooked. The "secret" is that at the center of all the sessions, sideman and wedding gigs I have developed a solo guitar ability. Walk into any establishment/cafe/restaurant/cocktail event with a guitar and a tiny amp, entertain the patrons as background music and collect money nightly. If anyone wants further advice/ideas/introduction into the style, feel free to email me jake.reichbart@gmail.com. You can easily find my videos on YouTube. Thanks, Jake
    Possibly the only response in the whole thread to the actual OP. Not that I haven’t reading all the other responses!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  35. #84

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    i wouldn't put it in such absolute terms, i have a bunch of friends both in London and NYC that make a living playing music, many of them don't even teach at all. A few play only jazz gigs.

    Here is one in London (the sax player), -- with Nigel Price on guitar!

    Nice!

    I know and have worked with both Vas and Nigel. Hardworking dudes, organised, terrific players and vibey.... you need it all, a lot of skillsets.

    Haven’t seen Vas for ages..... live on the other side of london now...

  36. #85

    User Info Menu

    I think it’s getting harder though. Wouldn’t like to be in debt from college still.... in the UK higher education used to be free.... in fact my first couple of years they GAVE me money...

    Seems very unfair on the young uns

  37. #86

    User Info Menu

    There's more to life than music. Get out and see the world when you're young. You'd be surprised how much easier it gets to play guitar when you're older if you just keep playing.

  38. #87

    User Info Menu

    So true Stevebol.

    But here's another twist. It is possible to travel as a musician - tours.

    That's one of the things I enjoyed most about it.

  39. #88

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup
    So true Stevebol.

    But here's another twist. It is possible to travel as a musician - tours.

    That's one of the things I enjoyed most about it.
    DIY tours?

    The Musician’s Guide To Touring Japan (and other Countries) | grassrootsy

    Japanese musicians claim club owners were throwing too much money at foreign bands. Probably true. I don't know where it stands now but they did clamp down fairly recently.
    no situation is perfect. I did a residency in the stone age but those are long gone. They were seedy. These days you can go with a band or go alone.
    There are other places in that region like Hong Kong, Singapore..

    I'd like to go back and just be a tourist.

  40. #89

    User Info Menu

    That's a new one on me Steve.

    I never toured in the far East, but in Europe and the US.

    The tours were organized by a collaboration of record label managers, band managers, and local tour managers.

    Most of the logistics would be handled by the tour managers because of their local knowledge of venues and accommodation and transportation and stuff like that.

    I guess most workaday jazz pros or semi-pros wouldn’t have those luxuries. And doing it all yourself really wouldn’t be possible in most situations. For all sorts of reasons, not least of all there are several languages involved in European tours.

    It often seemed to me that their were several languages involved in the US too, even within the English-speaking community! That's a joke, don't take offence :-)

  41. #90

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958Wes

    2) Your wife has a killer job. This would be the most common solution. Most of the "cats" I know that "just play" have a wife toiling away at some 40 hour (or more) a week job earning $70k or more a year. This affords them their days to rehearse, hang out, practice, record shop, etc... and then they are free to gig every night and contribute what they can to the family finances.

    4) You must be exceptionally, talented. Like top .01% talented. Then you can tour the world and support yourself just playing "jazz". You MUST, in fact, tour the WORLD because the money is overseas. You might be careful what you wish for here, because 9-10 months or more of every year will be spent on the road. Mostly sitting in airports, on tarmacs, in customs, etc. So how does this model work if you have a family back home?
    This is a really excellent and accurate post. I have an acquaintance who's a famous jazz pianist, works with a well known singer that tours all over the world. One day I was talking with his wife, and I asked where he was, and she said he was flying to Indonesia to play TWO GIGS, and then coming back. something like 20 hours of flying each way for two gigs. This is probably an extreme example but this stuff does happen, all our favorite full-time top-shelf jazz musicians spend a significant amount of their lives in airports, planes and cars.

    Also there are tons of well known jazz musicians whose spouses have good gigs (doctors, lawyers, etc). This is kind of the only way to raise a family in a major metropolitan area like NYC. Not that everyone stays in NYC, plenty of people move out of town to an area with a lower cost of living once they are established. Bill Frisell moved to Seattle, Steve Coleman has lived in Allentown, PA for like at least 20 years, etc. I think Kevin Eubanks also lived in Allentown for a while.

  42. #91

    User Info Menu

    Survival in NYC (where I live) is a complex puzzle to be solved for many and it is not only musicians
    for whom having a partner with a second income is an essential component.

  43. #92

    User Info Menu

    Very true bako. So why chose a career that stacks the odds even further against you?

    Take the simple issue of loans - will a bank make a loan for a house or car to a jazz musician?

    Well yes if you're George Benson (who I'm sure doesn't need the loan anyway). But not 99% of jazz musicians. Not just because their income is too low, but because it's too unstable.

  44. #93

    User Info Menu

    Depends what you mean by "making a living".

    Playing supermakets, weddings and funerals is just going to make pocket money. Which is fine if you're living in public housing or off mum and dad's beneficence, or a partner's income.

    But it's naive in the extreme to think that a workaday jazz pro or semi-pro is going to be self-supporting in anything like a real sense in a city like New York or London.

    It's also irresponsible to give that BS to youngsters.

    By the way, I've made a living in music and worked as a musician in London and New York and numerous other cities and countries.

    And IT is eroding the musician's business faster than anything else is.

    A degree in IT will get 99% of graduates a house and car, a degree in music more like 1%.

    I hope your life options work out for you. Good luck.
    Last edited by sunnysideup; 02-20-2018 at 09:21 AM.

  45. #94

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup
    Depends what you mean by "making a living".

    Playing supermakets, weddings and funerals is just going to make pocket money. Which is fine if you're living in public housing or off mum and dad's beneficence, or a partner's income.

    But it's naive in the extreme to think that a workaday jazz pro or semi-pro is going to be self-supporting in anything like a real sense in a city like New York or London.

    It's also irresponsible to give that BS to youngsters.

    By the way, I've made a living in music and worked as a musician in London and New York and numerous other cities and countries.

    And IT is eroding the musician's business faster than anything else is.

    A degree in IT will get 99% of graduates a house and car, a degree in music more like 1%.

    I hope your life options work out for you. Good luck.
    It sure is.
    it is possible to start on Youtube and build some interest. Then you have to hit the road.
    Trying to make a living in jazz is no different than any other music. It may not be very popular but there's a network of support surrounding it.
    I don't have any words of wisdom for young musicians. I got where I wanted to be but the circumstances were unusual. As someone pointed out the money was overseas.
    Arranged marriages don't seem to be a thing in jazz but they are in R&B. I hit a roadblock.

    I don't know if music should be 'free' but a lot of people think it should be these days.

  46. #95

    User Info Menu

    Wasn't it 'free love' in the 60's? How did that work out in the long run?
    Now it's 'free music'.

    I'm not a child of the 60's but I believe in doing your own thing. I also believe love is all you need.

    OP, do you own thing.

  47. #96

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Unsubscribing from this BS, negative, counter-productive thread.

    Making music from anything creative is hitting a moving target. But, you know what? Technology is changing everything. Music is the thin end of the wedge. Your job will be replaced somewhere down the line. Unless you are a Silicon Valley tech mogul.

    9-5 is no longer a thing.

    You want to find out how people make a living in music? Ask musicians who are doing it. Ask Nigel Price. Ask Adam Neely. Or any of my friends and colleagues.

    There are a few people seeking to validate their own life options through argument. That's fine, but I'm not going to dignify it with the idea that it is some sort of sensible and helpful debate. They have no interest in finding out how or why, just perpetuating their own BS.

    See ya.
    Right on! It wasn't supposed to be a debate about a career choice in the first place. The OP just asked those who do make a living from music how they do it.

    It mostly turned into lecturing on why music shouldn't be your career. And some commenters don't even qualify for the job to begin with!

    If you hate the idea someone is actually living or preparing to live the life of a working musician, maybe you're not that happy with yours and maybe a bit jealous you don't have the guts? Otherwise why do you even bother?

    Let me tell you, the absolute majority of musician I know are the happiest human beings I ever met, even if they are poor as dirt. OTOH, I know more than a few who are miserable with all their good paying jobs and mortgages.

    Your choice is your choice, but just a reminder, the OP didn't seem to need your validation, just experience of those who are actually doing it.

  48. #97

    User Info Menu

    after all these years, Keith Jarrett 's words describe it pretty accurately for me. Something along the lines of "if you want to become a musician don't do it, cause it's a hard profession, but if you have to become a musician, it's the greatest job in the world"

  49. #98

    User Info Menu

    Money is no replacement for self-worth.

    Living frugally and simply is generally better for the planet and, often, for yourself.

    Professional musicianship is a calling, not a choice, especially in the non-commercial fields like jazz and classical music.

    Some posters here have had some bad experiences, and have become bitter and negative, while some are actually engaged in full-time performing and are making a "living" without sacrificing the time and focus needed for mastery of their instrument and style.

    Playing music for people is rewarding in many ways, and can be rewarding financially, but no drone day job will ever be as rewarding as playing music for people if you're really a musician, and no well-paying day job will allow you the time and focus to achieve your potential.

    Nobody gets out alive.

  50. #99

    User Info Menu

    I know a lot of highly skilled musicians who scrape by. Usually, it's a combination of gigs and teaching.

    The jazz musicians I know who can actually make a living at it are very few in number, mostly musical geniuses and even they teach. You can be an exceptional jazz guitarist and still not be good enough.

    I know some musicians who have made a middle class living with steady union work, e.g. road shows of Broadway productions, some of whom were previously successful in NYC.

    When I was a high school senior, I thought about being a pro musician. I didn't think I had a good enough ear. Decades later, I still think it.

  51. #100

    User Info Menu

    Hey,

    even though I did not read every single answer so far in this thread, I write my own short story as a working musician.

    I have to say, I like the english name "working musician", because this is, what I am and how I feel. I am neither a well known guitarist nor do I have my own great successfull band with many fans, I even would go so far to say, I'm not super good in any special music style.
    For me, playing the guitar is my passion. I started kind of early, learning classical guitar with 7 yrs, winning some competitions, soon adding (! not replace) the electric guitar, becoming in my school and home village "the guitarist", having my first bands (I just recently looked it up, with 14 years, I played about 1-2 gigs per week) playing more and more, earning some money, being asked by people in the audience if I could show them some things (that's how I started teaching).... So I just slipped into this whole scene.
    My roots are the british blues guitarists, but I always was open to everything. Up to today, I play, whatever is requiered, often jobs as as sub for different bands, no matter if it is blues or rock or funk or country or pop or musical or classic or jazz... With every job I learn something new. I am always well prepared for the next gig. Sometimes that means, that I have to practice a lot, sometimes I just show up (with my small duo "Gramm Art Project", we play e.g. mostly corporate events, jazzy tunes as backround music. But for fun, we started with "Silentmovie with livemusic", where we play live while showing old, german silentmovies (e.g. F.W. Murnau, L. Reiniger)). I have some students, they pay me directly when we meet each other, so if I'm on tour somewhere, I don't have to cancel stuff or find new dates for them. But being as musician is work. And it requires good organisation, you have to pay your tax, you have to talk to venues, manage all the different gigs and rehearsals for all those bands, you need to update your website, check your gear... and take care of your family (if you want to keep them)! Often I don't get too much sleep. It is nice to hang out with your music friends after the gig and drink some beers, but if there is a rehearsal the next morning, then you better be prepared and not too tired to concentrate. It is a job, a nice job, but being a musician requires much more than any university degree.
    Yeah. Maybe a little bit chaotic, but that's about my story .