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Is studying music for a career a wise choice?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ugly Cassanova, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. Ok, I came to the conclusion that i'd like to study music when I get out of High School. And i'd like to make a living out of playing music, or something along those lines.

    Now from some of you older folks who have maybe tried this, is this a wise choice? Do you have any ideas that would make my road a lot easier or anything along those lines?

    Right now is the point where I make the main decision of what classes I want to take to tell me what I want to be in life.

    Thanks in advanced.
  2. Being a professional musician is a very difficult life. It is especially difficult when you are a sideman. The money in the business goes to the star of the show (the one singing the songs). They make money from selling CDs and keep the bulk of the money that the show pays. Sure, they have to pay musicians well to keep good ones, but the split is not and cannot be equal. That is how it works, at least in much of the music world. If you are in a band it may be a little bit different but think about this. The Rolling Stones no longer have Bill Wyman. Does that mean the Stones are no longer? That wiil only happen when Jagger and Richard are gone. Go into music for a career if you cannot do otherwise. Be wise and acquire a skill that will make you a living if it does not work out. Best of luck with your choice.
  3. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Id say the best jobs in music are 'Journalist' and 'Recording'. Owning your own studio would be pretty cool. I think it would be 'recording' or 'Live recording' or studio something...
  4. I'm not a profesional musician nor a music student, but I think I can tell you something that MAYBE many will agree..

    You have to focus on an objective as a beggining musician.. what are your goals as a pro. and why.. While some musicians say that they have the best job in the world, some others will say that the music bussiness is very hard and most graduated musicians barely earn enough for living.
    Both sides are true, but if they don't help you making up your mind, you must take in count that eventough learning music and how to play a musical instrument, is a prime tool (not always necesary) in the music bussines, there are still a big bunch of important things you won't learn just studing music. And some of them are the key of success.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    On the other hand, you could end up like Nathan East ... if you're really, really, really, REALLY good. He has a bachelor's degree in music from University of California, San Diego.
  6. hey Ugly Cass, Funkize is right, the studio is the place to be if you want a career in music. so much more fun, so much more work, so much more CASH :D

    or even being a live sound guy is better. well, IMHO anyway. if you're interested, check out this site, it's for a place called the School of Audio Engineering. i'm currently studying there, at the Adelaide, South Australia campus.

    good place, good people.

    enjoy, and good luck planning the rest of your life!

  7. What classes did you need to be able to take recording in school?
  8. oneoftheway


    Nov 27, 2002
    Im studying music when i leave high school, But to back myself up im doing a teaching degree so i can teach music. I would really love to do that. I would play music even if i got no money but sooooo... I dunno really. Studio would be good but i dont think i would love it, it would be too much like work. Teaching or playing music would be like getting money for nothing. I wouldnt see it as work at all!
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think only you can make this choice - as people have said it can be a very hard option and is notoriously "unreliable" as a money-making career (unless you're in the Armed Forces) .

    All the people I've met who have made a career of music knew they couldn't do anything else - they had to do music and didn't want to do anything else and were prepared to put in the effort required, no matter what.

    If you're doubtful - then it's probably best to have some sort of back-up plan and an alternative career path. Anyway - loads of people I knew who did other academic stuff at college, were in bands and had plenty of time to explore music....
  10. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Everyone I know who's done it has had a tough go of it financially. Still, they are happy with it - in the long run, that's what matters.

    My advice would be to learn another trade as well, just so you have something to fall back on if you have a dry spell (which WILL happen).

    AFAIK, the best way to make money in music (ignoring blind luck in "getting noticed") is teaching. This, however, requires time and effort in building up your student base and letting word of mouth leak out about you. Of course, you have to really enjoy teaching and be good at it in order for that to work.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    How many years do you have left in HS? Are you in the school's band program already? If not GET INTO IT. Talk to the band director about music as a career.

    If you want to be a pro, you should definitely go to school for music if you can afford to. Don't listen to people who say schooling makes your music soulless. If you want to make a living at music the more you know about it and the more versatile you are (being able to not only play, but sing, compose, arrange, etc.) the better off you'll be.
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Yep, that is utter utter cr~p. If you want to be a pro for any period of time you gotta know your stuff. Unless you get discovered in a band of course, but that aint gonna happen!


    I'm not a pro muiscian in any shape or form, but I play with several and know some well, as friends, rather than just band mates.

    I'm currently playing with some who are high in profile bands or working with high profile musicians, one guy doing shows and playing in the forces for a regular wage, some who teach at schools and privately, some do small sessions on a local basis. Anything to keep the debt collectors away basically!!

    So I guess there's a million ways to make a living as a musician, but put it this way, many of thse guys earn a fraction of what I earn.

    To qualify that statement, I'm not at all money motivated, by which I mean that my job pays for me to live a comfortable life as an amateur musician!
    I have no professional qualifications (so I cant earn that much) and I'm not career minded - I'm a born blagger bascially ;)

    Another thing, there ae many many very talented musicians out there who are out of work.
    There are also many people who study music at degree level who never use their skills or knowledge! I was talking to a woman at work who plays jazz and blues piano (and completed a music degree) but never plays with other people cause she finds it too stressful since her studing. Which is a real shame imo.

    I guess what I'm saying is that, if you want to study music you should go for it 110%. If you're even vaguely driven by money - some people are and that's fair enough - it's probably a poor career choice!
  13. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Inactive

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    No it is not a wise choice.

  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    If you have a realistic plan, and know all of the options (ways to make a living as a musician), and you can't imagine doing anthing else with your life, it's a great choice.

    I make a great wage, but as with everything, there are compromises to make.
  15. Cass, i dunno about in the States, but in Australia the only prereq was that i be older than 17 years of age at the start of the course! woo hoo!

    check the website, as i said before, but there are only 3 SAE colleges in the US: New York, Miami and Nashville.
    i have to say, that judging from the pics on the websire, the Miami and Nashville campuses look like the better of the three, but New York is still up there with the best studios that i've ever been in!

    again, good luck with your search, feel free to ask any more questions, i'd be more than happy to answer them! be sure to keep us posted :D

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