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  1. #26

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    As for me, my approach is - if it is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly! (And for me, music and guitar have unique intrinsic value - so definitely “worth it “.)

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    I have always been a professional musician, either full time or to supplement my income from other (music-related) things. Last year I had 2 gigs. I have to admit that I enjoyed not having the pressure to perform at a high level. I played more at home and learned stuff that I’ll never use on a gig.
    The income from music these days isn’t enough to really matter. I only want to play with good musicians, and there’s less of them still gigging. So I’ve been turning down work for the first time I’m my life and am looking forward to being an amateur!

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    With very rare exception, the level of pay available to jazz guitarists does not represent a living wage.
    "Jazz bassist: Someone who puts a $15,000 instrument in a $1,500 car and drives 150 miles for a $15 gig."

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry View Post
    "Jazz bassist: Someone who puts a $15,000 instrument in a $1,500 car and drives 150 miles for a $15 gig."

    Post of the day!
    Play live . . . Marinero

    P.S.
    My friend, PZ, former bassist for the Chicago Lyric Opera sold his unnamed Hungarian, late19th Century Bass(one of many he owned) for 68K . . . 20 years ago. M

  6. #30

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    Having gone through undergrad music school then to business school, it’s funny how the motivation changes when you actually have a fair shot at using your learning for something that offers a reasonable chance of a decent living.

    but maybe becoming a professional musician is just like being a successful entrepreneur- both require an irrational level of self confidence

  7. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by BWV View Post
    Having gone through undergrad music school then to business school, it’s funny how the motivation changes when you actually have a fair shot at using your learning for something that offers a reasonable chance of a decent living.

    but maybe becoming a professional musician is just like being a successful entrepreneur- both require an irrational level of self confidence
    But one requires a viable business plan. The other requires a basic and willful misunderstanding of math.

    (hmm.. that sounded a little snarky. Didn't mean it that way.)
    Last edited by Spook410; 06-19-2021 at 05:24 AM.

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV View Post
    Having gone through undergrad music school then to business school, it’s funny how the motivation changes when you actually have a fair shot at using your learning for something that offers a reasonable chance of a decent living.

    but maybe becoming a professional musician is just like being a successful entrepreneur- both require an irrational level of self confidence
    The first nails in the lid on either coffin are inexperience and overconfidence. The next ones are impatience and undercapitalization, and the closers are ego and inability to compromise. Some combination of these kills about 20% of new business ventures in their first year and 50% in the first 5. Although I have no data to back it up, my observation over 5+ decades suggests that musical careers are among them if you consider the continuing need for regular employment entirely outside of music or a related pursuit as an indicator of incomplete success.

    One of the most valuable things I learned when I got my MBA many years ago was that you need a sustainable competitive advantage to succeed in any market. For musicians, that means knowing what current and future needs drive your potential “customers” to buy your services and being able to fulfill those needs either better than your competitors or (if you’re “only” equally as good) at lower total cost and/or with higher return to them. It means learning enough about your market to know what’s selling, so you can deliver what sells. Trying to sell what you make (i.e. play) is rarely as successful as learning to make / play what will sell.

    Too many musicians have so much self confidence that they assume they can sell whatever they want to play, however they want to play it, wherever they want to be. With no relevant market data (eg how many venues there are for your style / genre / abilities where you are, how many other guitar players are competing for them, how busy they are, how much they’re making for it, and whether things are getting better or worse for them), they have little beyond that self confidence except hope - and hope is a lousy business plan.

    The one thing not emphasized enough in most business school curricula is that true long term success in any endeavor takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Most entrepreneurs do it on somebody else’s money by convincing their lenders / investors with a sound and realistic business plan. Most of us do it on somebody else’s money by having a day gig that’s not related in any way to music. If you want to build a successful career as a musician, take your business education very seriously and don’t let blind hope, self confidence, or ego short circuit sound planning. We have to keep one more ball in the air than most entrepreneurs - we also have to develop and continually improve our musical performance excellence.

    Keep this old joke in mind - it’s much more than a joke: “Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”

    ”Practice!”

  9. #33
    How do you make a million bucks in the music business? Start out with two million.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    With very rare exception, the level of pay available to jazz guitarists does not represent a living wage. Making us all amateurs. Level of play is probably a better definition. As vague as that is.
    Yes, maybe it would be nice if there was a set hierarchy of levels with which to rate a musician.
    Ten distinct levels. Everyone would know where they stand and be motivated in a step fashion to improve their lot. Then they could claim, 'Oh, by the way... I'm a TEN!'

    Like plumbers and welders who's skills are rated by Practical Tests & Exams. But what would be the proper criteria for musical prowess? Colleges seem to know, but I've run into grads who had trouble with keys. modulations, voicings or chord progressions. It's all so subjective. College doesn't make one a pro.

    But it would probably not be feasible to use a Level System to determine the professional or amateur status of a musician. Playing for money or for free is not always consistent with Professional Status. Perhaps a '1' would be an amateur and a '10' would be a pro, but what would a 5 or 7 be?

    There could be 10 levels of sight reader. But could there be 10 levels of jazz guitarist? Rock guitarist? The Ten Levels Of Musicianship?

    There could be 10 levels of anything based on official assessment. But that amounts to little more than opinion and possible abuse. Get rated, today! Only $29.99!

    There could be levels of Musicians. They would be:
    Non-Reading Musician, Reading Musician, Stage Performer, Recording-Studio Performer, Teacher, Arranger, Composer, Band Leader, Conductor. But, I don't know the order. What would come before Non-Reading Musician? Practice Musician? Tyro? Learner? Apprentice?

    I'd rather be a reader than a non-reader. But there are a multitude of great guitarists who never read. There are also many gifted studio guitarists, but how creative are they?

    Well, I'm a Level 5 String Bender, but only a Level 3 Accompaniment Player. It sounds as goofy as one who claims to be a 'Lead Guitarist' or a 'Rhythm Guitarist'. Why not just claim to be Half A Guitarist?

    Perhaps we could borrow a grading system from the egg and vegetable world and become a Grade A Jazz Guitarist. But sometimes, even after getting paid, one may turn out to be a bad egg.

    Maybe there could be 'gunslinger' events at local venues to determine Top GP In Town...
    Decided by a panel headed by Simon Crowell...
    Or maybe an applause meter.

    Are Buskers professional? They appear to be paid...
    But are they professional musicians or professional buskers?

    Reading music is the great divider.
    There are really only two types of musicians in the public eye: readers and non-readers.
    (Perhaps Good & Bad are more common.)
    Anything else is decided by audition.
    But some auditions are suited to the player while others may be inappropriate.

    In the Big Band Era, you were not a musician at all unless you could read. And you were only professional musician if you made your living at it AND could sport a Union Card. With the advent of records and then non-touch dancing, thousands of musicians were replaced by three studio guys and salaries dropped to where it was no longer a viable career choice.
    A.I. marches on...

    Today, I think it's a moot point as to a musician's professional status. It's no longer a career. The 'stars' are really what one would call an 'entertainer'. Look at George Benson. Look at Jimi Hendrix. Bruce Springsteen... It's a rare guitarist that can headline: Metheney...

    In fact, that guy that owns the music store and sells you your guitar can get married, support his wife, have kids and save for their education, own insurance and have a retirement. A professional musician needs a side job at the deli to pay for his room.

    I conclude that Professional Guitarist is an anachronism. Join the ranks of the rank amateur and never look back. Start to eat again and have relationships. Retire comfortably with health insurance instead of looking forward to crowd-funding because you didn't 'make it' or your manager ran off with all your retirement dough.

    ...
    Last edited by StringNavigator; 06-22-2021 at 03:51 PM.

  11. #35
    There are levels of play on guitar.

    They are vague and a mix of ear training, improvisation, fluency, and reading. Not to mention hard knocks experience in a trade. It is a pedantic exercise to seek definition.

    Can't be reading. I read pretty well. So does the first chair flute player at your local high school.

    The market used to decide. Now it doesn't. So 'professional' doesn't mean as much as it once did. But it is still more than what amateurs are capable of and at some point the world of amateur music is transcended.

    And as a mark of the true amateur, I only aspire to the next level as a hobbyist would. I am gently propelled. Not compelled.

    Vini, Vidi, but then it was time for my nap.

  12. #36

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    I think we should model the system on Dragonball Z

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator View Post
    Perhaps we could borrow a grading system from the egg and vegetable world and become a Grade A Jazz Guitarist. But sometimes, even after getting paid, one may turn out to be a bad egg.
    The meat grading system may offer a more practical option. Ya got yer "prime", yer "choice", and yer "select". What could be better than a grading system based on chops?
    Being an Amateur Jazz Guitar Player-smiley_banging_head_on_wall2-gif

  14. #38
    Based on chops? Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.

  15. #39

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    This just keeps reminding me of that old joke - ( aka ' variations on a theme' )

    What's the difference between a drunk amateur guitar-player, and a drunk professional guitarist ?

    The amateurs don't have to go to the meetings.

    : )

  16. #40

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    Played last night with a sextet that I am in at a local retirement home. I’m an average guitarist at best - they keep inviting me back. I simply love playing, I always feel that I have the best seat in the house and that somehow I’m getting away with something.