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  1. #51

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    These days without my wife and this two income family I might not be able to do it. For me, when it was just me or when I was the primary income it's all about many irons in many fires. I have my own band(s), play multiple sideman gigs, teaching privately, teaching in colleges or institutions like prisons, music schools and clinics, studio work as a guitarist, as an engineer, sell CDs, get increasingly small BMI checks. Not one gave me enough money alone.

    But I've never wanted for money. I've gotten lazy the last couple of years so hustle level is low, to my wife's chagrin. But luckily we can afford me taking a little break. Having my own original bands and CDs has helped I think.

    So it's never been so much playing alone. But it's about taking responsibility for the whole picture. I'd shoot myself if I ONLY played music, even jazz. Life's too interesting. But I can't do anything OUTSIDE of music. And even at that every iron is jazz.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 10-14-2014 at 06:29 PM. Reason: typos

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  3. #52

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    My friend told me once:

    for the job only I can do they pay me very little
    for the job that quite a few people would do they pay more
    But most of all they pay the job that any idiot would do!
    What a world!

  4. #53

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    It's been long that I quit any professional activity with music, I play gigs sometimes (both jazz guitar and lutes) but not for money... if they pay it is ok, but I am not after it.... besides having daytime job I cannot take serious obligations for rehearsals so I consider it just that I am not payed...

    Sometimes I feel a bit sad about choice I did - especially when my daytime job takes much time and efforts - I cannot say I hate it, but it I can manage it also and especially when I pros, conservatory graduates, teachers who are actually lousy players and - but I did this choice becasue I felt at certain point that to earn money with music I will have to do things that I do not want to do and maybe often, and also maybe I will have to push and fight for something and I am not sure I won't to mess it up with music.

    I have friends who are pros of a very high level - and not once I heard from best of them that if they could they would have chosen some well-paid day-time job not to earn money with music.... they frankly say that they envy me that I do not have to mix music with money.

    I answer them: but when you work with your students, or lead some choires or small bands, or sit in an orchestra - you keep getting musical experience. How many times you had great musical discoveries because you just studied some piece of music with your students.

    Well... so it is only one life we can pick) and as Russian saying goes: the best place is where we are not)))

    But to comfort myself I keep in mind one succesful insuarance busisness manager who on his way on train back home from the office composed synphonies and turned out to be one the greates composers - Charles Ives...

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    my recommendation? Go back to school and get a degree in accounting. Playing jazz guitar is a hobby, not a career. Otherwise you will be eating beans for the rest of your life and spending your time telling others on forums like this about the "purity of jazz" and why they need to know every little thing before they can play jazz. Live short term but think long term.
    THE best guitarist I know got his accounting degree. He has won more guitar competitions (why did guitar become competitive, anyway?) than anyone in history. Even so, it is generally imperative to have a backup skill--like accounting.

    Nothing new about this. Mozart was a pauper. Bach spent considerable time in debtor's prison...etc.

  6. #55

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    I do software analysis. It pays well, and being a synthesist and avant garde composer often requires a job that brings in a consistant income.
    For music I do get paid to do avant garde and electronic music. There is a long history of female synthesist/composers doing stints in engineering and technology, this dates back to Daphne Oram and Laurie Spiegel.

    Jazz guitar is ultimately just a hobby, I try to learn enough for it to be personally useful in my compositions and improvizations, but ultimately I play it for myself as it is a good refrence point for practice. I may add a jazz progression for a piece, but I am just as likely, if not more likely, to use my archtop with a violin bow and a looping pedal for musique concrete. Again, I still primarily an avant garde musician, and identify as such, and that is what gets me gigs and an audience.
    Last edited by Ghostlady; 10-16-2014 at 01:46 AM.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostlady View Post
    but I am just as likely, if not more likely, to use my archtop with a violin bow and a looping for musique concrete. Again, I still primarily an avant garde musician, and identify as such, and that is what gets me gigs and an audience.
    I love it!

  8. #57

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    I may be one of the outliers here but I have a degree in history with a minor in economics and a masters in business administration and work as a business analyst at a gas and electric company and almost all my expenditures go to jazz.

  9. #58

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    Talk about payback! Years ago after graduating college with an English major, I stood at the crossroads - risk consuming years of my life trying to make it as a professional musician or take a 'safer' path to become a physician. Somewhat to my chagrin, I chose the latter, figuring it would be easier to raise a family and provide a road to financial security if not riches. As my Mother would say, I should have broken both my legs!

    I am in solo practice and that is being extinguished at the hands of government, health insurers, large hospitals, major pharmacy chains, Walmart and big business. Other changes in my 'line of work' include increasingly onerous unfunded mandates, reduced reimbursements, "meaningless use" EMRs.... the once noble profession of primary care docs is spiraling down the crapper. My advice - exercise, eat right, pick your parents carefully (genetics) and above all, don't get sick!

    So as the worth of my professional degree dwindles like sand through the hourglass, I am under major incentive to find some other line of work - not easy when you are just north of 60. So I may turn to music related sources of income - teaching, playing, begging....I'm sure the field is ripe. I think I could do better busking if the city governments didn't make it practically illegal.

    Jay

  10. #59

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    Jay, you have my sympathies. I have heard this complaint from other related MD's. It is not turning out the way it was planned. All I can say it "join the club". There are many of us who have multiple advanced degrees and are not where we thought we would be. As Dr. Evil says in the first Austin Powers movie "I didn't go through 8 years of medical school just to be called Mr. Evil". Just to put things in prospective, if you had skipped medical school and become a jazz musician instead, you would surely be making less than what you are making. Everything is relative.
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    What do you mean "the bait"? Either you make a living playing jazz or you ag't. I think that we owe it to kids spending their limited funds on a "career" that isn't a career to know what they are signing up for. I am trying to find out if ANYONE on this forum actually makes enough money just playing jazz to survive.

    If just one kid reads this and decides to get a degree in accounting or engineering or computer science or psychology instead of a degree in music then we have helped that one person, greatly. It is good to help people.
    I disagree and would encourage my Kids to get a degree in something that interests them. Twelve years ago I quit my English degree to do a full time music degree. I got the degree which enabled me to go on and do my teaching degree and then get a good job. I have since had a highly successful career and now manage music at my school. With my day job and playing six gigs a month I earn enough to give me and my kids an excellent life with regular holidays, nice house, cars etc. If I'd have continued with the English degree I would probably not have had the interest and enthusiasm to complete the degree and probably dropped out.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdearn View Post
    I disagree and would encourage my Kids to get a degree in something that interests them. Twelve years ago I quit my English degree to do a full time music degree. I got the degree which enabled me to go on and do my teaching degree and then get a good job. I have since had a highly successful career and now manage music at my school. With my day job and playing six gigs a month I earn enough to give me and my kids an excellent life with regular holidays, nice house, cars etc. If I'd have continued with the English degree I would probably not have had the interest and enthusiasm to complete the degree and probably dropped out.
    I agree 100%. I never got a degree. My family is very educated so it a was serious heartache for them when I decided, with eyes wide open, to drop out of school. I never looked back. Three years of college I just had no purpose. At the time I had no interest in getting an education degree for music and a performance in jazz guitar was virtually non-existent. No interest at all in classical guitar. Since I now teach a little in college having a degree would give me a little more job security and more money, but seriously, I'm more interested in playing and making music, not in teaching professionally. I'm stubborn. I like doing what I love doing and work very hard to get better at that. Some people aren't wired to think money beyond love. I'm not saying it's right but I'd have been MISERABLE having to do a job to make money and do music on the side. For me that never would have worked.

  13. #62

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    I don't know if I'll make any money at it but I'm going to open a jazz club in the US. I was planning on doing it in Japan but I would get no help from anyone on that. The US it is.
    Opening a club for live jazz is the stupidest idea in the history of music so I'm perfect for the job.

  14. #63

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    where in the US are you thinking? In Japan, as you know, jazz is very highly regarded. Less so, here....
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    where in the US are you thinking? In Japan, as you know, jazz is very highly regarded. Less so, here....
    Buffalo NY. I'm not thinking about doing it at this stage I'm doing it. I've narrowed down locations and I'm looking at property.
    I love to procrastinate but sometimes it's better to actually do something.

  16. #65

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    Wow, Buffalo (I am from NYC although I live in North Jersey these days). That's a pretty cool idea. I guess the rent is the big issue (at least it would be here in the NYC area). The other issue, and please don't take this wrong, is the lack of support for jazz. I go to two different jazz jams sometimes. One is at the Turning Point in Piermont, NY and the other is at the 76 House in Tappan NY. The 76 House is the oldest bar/rest in NY State. I haven't been to the Turning Point lately because my band practice's on that same night also in NY. I was to the 76 House last week (to see Sheryl Bailey) and the place was pretty empty.

    It is a noble idea. As long as you realize that getting people to come down is an issue, you are a step ahead of the game. How did you come up with the Japan idea? That has a better chance, possibly.
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdearn View Post
    I disagree and would encourage my Kids to get a degree in something that interests them.

    Even if it cost $120,000? Maybe it's time I moved to the UK.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Even if it cost $120,000? Maybe it's time I moved to the UK.
    Can you move to the UK? Maybe if you are Canadian. Is that an option? I'm just sayin' (as we say in NJ).
    Last edited by richb2; 10-23-2014 at 03:37 AM.
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?