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  1. #101

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    I tried being musician with a day job for some time. It's possible, but one needs a solid routine if having a day job, with minimum distractions during the evenings devoted to practising. Four hours of practising should be enough for any professional musician to keep a solid practise schedule. As a working musician, I do all kinds of stuff, arranging, all music styles, teaching, you name it, and I don't have time to do practising every day these days because of being out of school. I might have some hours but life in general takes place, even as a full time musician. One has to hustle gigs, prepare for lessons, and there's so many other things, cooking, chores, exercising etc. For me exercising is important. I don't have a chance to get a decent paying day job without a degree in another field, so for me it's really tough these days because of the pandemic. I worked like two weeks full time and got only 150 euros from a dead end job, being a booker who conveys customers to a insurance sales negotiator, so I quitted. I didn't have an hourly wage, only commission. I am next to being broke at the moment, and gigs are running low during these tough times. I hope I am able to get more students for next semester. I'll never give up, I know all this pandemic stuff is really messing up my mind in many ways. Well, my inner voice is telling me I should have studied something else. But I am stubborn enough to keep it up with being a full time musician.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #102

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    I started out very young as a guitar player in bands and studio....always just assumed it was my life.
    As a result of having lots of different guitars [I bought lots of stuff in the 70's , 80's, and 90's when I could get old Fender Strats for $150 etc.] I got into doing repairs and restoration instead of paying somebody else to do it. As the music gigs dwindled [thanks to the influx of "hobby players" and the internet] I found myself doing more work on other people's guitars so all of a sudden I had a new "Day Job". Of course due to all the virus stuff in the past months the work has dwindled down even further.
    Things are very bleak...... I guess my new day job is keeping a positive attitude!

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    To the extent that university is preparing you for a career and is not just a place to park 18-22 years olds without having their parents shoot them, offering a degree in "jazz guitar" seems down right immoral.
    There's a lot of solid truth in your post, which is why I "liked" it even though I can't buy into the premise of this statement. The fact that a particular career is not lucrative does not make it invalid. Society needs people who choose to study music, art, archeology, astronomy, education and other less-well-compensated fields.

    And to address the OP's question, I played and taught guitar full-time at various points in my life, but I have had a Silicon Valley day gig for quite a while now. The myriad positive aspects of this choice have already been laid out quite well elsewhere in this thread. In an interesting switch, though, full-time music saved me from bankruptcy after the dotcom crash. At that time I played a house band gig three nights a week and taught 20 private students at two music stores. But it was not enough to quite cover all my expenses or to make me happy to deal with drunks in the band and on the dance floor indefinitely; when I got a call for a good consulting gig, I took it.

    Folks I know who were still full-timers before COVID would play in multiple bands, write a column, teach privately, perhaps teach adjunct at a college, do pit band gigs, generally hustle HARD for every penny, play the occasional shit cover gig with terrible musicians cuz the $ are there, endure financial instability, and ... more often than not have a partner who has a day gig that provides medical insurance. The others would wind up as the beneficiaries of fundraisers held by all the working musicians in the area when some medical catastrophe threatened to bankrupt them. And then there's Pat Martino... and Kenny Burrell...

    So, OP, please do go for it if you want to, and enjoy all the REALLY fun times that you can have ONLY as a gigging musician :-), but know that it will be a financial challenge and do try to put away some savings when you can. Creating some sort of social media revenue stream might be the best path towards steady music income that there is today.
    Last edited by starjasmine; 09-09-2020 at 01:26 AM.

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by BGulecki313 View Post
    I said in my original post, by "day job" I mean working a job that isn't music related during the day, like being a mortgage officer or working at a bank. Teaching lessons is technically a day job, but it's music related and that's what I'm going to school for.
    I was asking if anybody else pays the rent by just teaching lessons during the day and getting gigs at night.
    In that case I guess I haven't had a day job in 50 years. Being retired now and looking back, if I wasn't on the road I always did repairs on steel guitars, guitars, etc. worked in music stores and taught (steel guitar mostly) but also 6 string guitar. I also bought and sold an incredible amount of guitars, amps, and sound equipment.
    I have to give credit to the AFM for teaching me that music is a business and not just an art form. I've always had health insurance. Raised a family, bought a house, cars etc. It can be done.

  6. #105

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    I did it kind of! But I'm 63 and grew up in the age where gigs were ple tiful 6 nights a week. You could also make extra income teaching and doing jingles and show work if you could read.
    But those days are gone, and replaced with tracks, loops etc. The technology changed it and like Wal-Mart it put the musicians,arrangers,etc out of work.

    It really became the singers/ entertainers and tracks. Sure kids still play for beer and and friends. But with rent and housing costing so much,and gigs still paying anywhere from $50 to 125 if you're really lucky. Good luck surving!

  7. #106

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    i'm also 63 and there was never a time I could play jazz 6 nights a week and make a living. If I wanted to play casuals and society gigs and hotel gigs there was a period I made a living playing back in the late '70s and '80s but that was playing horrible music with mediocre players.

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    i'm also 63 and there was never a time I could play jazz 6 nights a week and make a living. If I wanted to play casuals and society gigs and hotel gigs there was a period I made a living playing back in the late '70s and '80s but that was playing horrible music with mediocre players.
    Yeah, we are similar in age and I should qualify that my full-time gigging days were more about sneaking jazz standards in at casuals and wedding gigs than playing jazz full time. I love rock, funk and soul, too, so I wasn't spending those gigs hating life. I loved (and still love) playing for its own sake, and getting $1k per man for a 3 hour wedding gig did not make me unhappy in the least. Generally, the bands that could snag that kind of dough were composed of excellent musicians, and if the musicianship is there, I'm not wishing I could play Autumn Leaves with bad players instead of playing the Chaka version of Tunisia with a rhythm section that kicks ass.