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Life as a Musician!?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Squnk, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Squnk


    Oct 20, 2002
    Hey All! I am still learning bass and can only play a few songs and I am 17. I don't have much of experence on bass and kindda older than most people when they start learning bass but I know I want a future with Music, I just want to know what is it like beeing a Musician and is it a good chose?:bassist:
  2. Good if you can get it and are willing to work your ass off.(and somehow manage to get dental and health insurance to boot)
    Don't worry too much about starting late, I started not much earlier than you. Practice is the great equalizer.

    P.S.: Welcome to talkbass :)
  3. Dang, I started at 41, you have me beat by a few days!
  4. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Music related.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    IME, it chooses you, you don't choose it.

    I say that because I did the corporate thing for quite a few years but life always led back to the music.

    2 Major Reco's

    1. Get all the formal education in music you can, while you can. I regret not having done so all the time.

    2. Get used to eating Ramen packs as your single meal of the day. :rolleyes:
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    There are many paths to being a professional. Some pay well, some don't. I like the one's that pay well.:cool: But remember, the better they pay, the harder the competition for those jobs. So, as has been said:

    1. Get as much training as possilbe.
    2. Learn to read music - that means as well as you read english.
    3. Learn as many styles as possible.
    4. Be open to all the possibilities.

    And if you can do something else that you enjoy that will make you more money, think about that as well. I play as a full time job, because I don't have a choice. If I were to have a desk job, I would die a little every day. As it is, I get paid to practice, perform and play with some of the best musicians around.

  7. How often do you have to play? I mean obviously you don't just drive to a practice space and play from 9:00-5:00 five days a week. I've always wondered about that.
  8. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    I'll have to agree that music chooses you rather than the other way around. I've found being a musician to be both very rewarding and at the same time extremely frustrating. It's been a blessing and a curse. It's what I think about most, what I spend the most time (and money) pursuing and what has thus far yieded the smallest amounts of money in return. IMO its fine to pursue music as a hobby but go to college and get a degree so you'll be able to get a job that can actually pay the bills. Besides you'll need a ton 'o money for all the crap you'll undoubtedly wanna buy :)

    A couple of years ago I was at a gig and the drummer in one of the other bands had a hand written sign on his bass drum that read "Quit Music Now". I thought it was hilarious. When I look back on all the gear I've spent money on and the countless hours I've spent practicing, rehearsing and gigging I can honestly say that I pretty much agree with that cat. If I could go back and do it all over again....:confused:

    A blessing and a curse. One of God's cruel little tricks.

    ....so when are you getting yer new bass?;)

    P.S. I finally caved in about 4 years ago and finished school. I still play and jam with a lot of different people but it's nice to have a day gig and to be able to play without worrying about how much the gig pays.
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Well, yes and no. Some of us do get to drive to work and practice / rehearse five days a week. But that's not generally the case. We all have additional things to take care of, from issuing instruments and performance uniforms, to booking gigs (my job), making sure we take care of things that the AF says we have to.... in short everything that needs to happen so we can go out and play gigs. I also supervise a drummer and a piano player in all things Air Force.

    We do an average of 8-10 gigs a week, with more sometimes. Now that doesn't mean I do that many - there are many components to an active duty AF band. But I was out on the road for about the past month (week in / week out stuff), and so was my wife's component (the rock band).

    Mil bands are not for everybody, but after almost 16 years (!), I've found them incredibly rewarding.
  10. Hey Squnk, when you say you want a future... are you interested in touring, recording, original music, cover music, playing local clubs, ...? Just curious.

  11. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    ...ah yes, living in the limelight...'tiss the universal dream ya know...You got some great replies from some great players - I don't have much to add except that I think everybody with big dreams should be reminded of these classic pieces of advise: Stay in school and don't quit your day job. (until your big break) I do hope you make it as big as you wanna be and accomplish all of your goals, but I think we'd being doing you a disservice not to keep you grounded in reality.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    DEAD DUCK WAH - actually, sounds a bit like my day - between 2 and 7 hours of rehearsal, all the other stuff fits in around it. And I never said it was perfect, just rewarding - and hey, the pay ain't bad.
  13. Amethska


    Jan 27, 2003
    NJ, USA
    Professional pan-handling! :bassist:

  14. I played full-time for 5 years, doing 3 to 8 gigs a week. Then I realised that I did'nt want to be driving a ****ebox car for the rest of my life, always hustling for gigs, seldom able to afford new strings etc, etc. So now I work in a music store, and still do 2 to 4 gigs a week. I drive a great car, I can afford any gear I want, and I can turn down gigs that dont appeal to me.
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Like RICKENBASSER said, generally, it chooses you. I do it because I'd hate doing anything else. Right now I teach music classes at two Universities in town, teach about 16 private students (1 hour lessons each week), and play about 180 gigs a year....which means 55-65 hour weeks when school's in and gigs are jumping, more like 35-45 hour weeks in the summer.

    I love the life, although it can be a frustrating pain in the @$$ at times. I also had to pay some serious dues to get even this far, and at my age I wouldn't want to pay those same dues again. But if you really love music to the point where every other possible job seems like spiritual suicide, you can find a way.
  16. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Question for all of you who have lead the "double life" for awhile: do you tour? If so, how do you get it to jive with the day job?

    A lot of people who are looking for bassists around here are looking for people who can tour... and as a result I've had to turn down several offers, since I work a rigid 9-5 in my other life.

    Can it be done?
  17. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    DURRL hits it right on the button for me here.

    [begin vent]

    From a young age I made a pact to myself I would do what I love for a living. I'm almost 25 and have not achieved that yet (and I've been playing bass for about 3 years). Since my senior year in high school (in which I graduated with around a 99.5 average and Honors Society....though it's a little-known secret that I almost dropped out mid-year :eek: ) I've been working nothing but dead-end cashier day jobs. At the moment, I've actually been out of work for almost 2 years. When I'm working, I die a little everyday. I never feel so low and like a failure when I take a look around and say "this is my life". Everyday I'd come home and have to cry.

    Before I took about the bass (and guitar) I wrote poetry. I knew poetry couldn't pay, especially not the type that I was writing. I earned a whole dollar from the few years I've been published (wow! :D). It seems everything I have an interest in outside of music (like philosophy and spirituality...) doesn't pay. The only thing I'd want to go to school for is music.

    It just seems like I'm trapped sometimes, like all I'm good for is to hover over a register (aching back and legs and all), so I feel a desperate need (not just a want) to make a life for myself as a musician and to do whatever I can to achieve that.

    [/end vent]

    I think it's very important to follow your dreams. Life throws a lot of poop in your way, but you have to get through it.

    And you have to take responsibility for your dreams.
  18. Squnk


    Oct 20, 2002
    Thanks all of you for you advice and help, I have not lived yet and can't even play bass yet but somethings pulls me to music, I have questioned it and I have thought of other careers but still music beats my heart, no matter what kind of mood I am in or what I have done or what happen Music always holds that meaning to me. I write poery, I draw, I enjoy history, spiritality, and philosophy and on ocassion enjoy math and science, and everyday I question if I want to be a musician, if music is my calling or not, but Music gives me meaning and I know I want to be apart of that. I am lazy(it took me two years to get off my butt to attempt bass) and I am at odds if I should play bass or guitar all the time but my dream is music in any way I can. I am not sure if I am a creative person or a mathmatic personor a logic person but music beats my heart and has always beat my heart, so if a musician is what I am written to be than that is what I will become and If not, I will have know that I will have tryed no matter what people say, even if I don't go to college or become a millionare I know I won't be less of a person and I will know I tried. When I am retiered with grandchildren I know I will be happy!So, Thnk all of you for your help and advice and thank you stephanie for the quote "And you have to take responsibility for your dreams." I wll forever remember it.
    "So, Thank you for this time,
    Thank you for this gift,
    But as time goes on what will I be?
    What I have and always will be, ME!"
  19. Monkey


    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I struggled for years trying to decide whether to pursue music full-time. I finally decided that I was happier having a "real" job and playing on the side. I have an education and many interests, and I found playing night after night in bars, clubs, and festivals left me wanting more. I played a lot of gigs, but had to constantly hustle for money. After a couple of years, it started to seem like a real job. I had to play gigs I didn't want and music I didn't really like.

    Now I earn a decent living, and I can afford to play when I want. I also can now afford a house with a basement workshop, and now I love building basses and guitars. I'm happier now, even though I can't go on tour or play every night.
  20. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    You're very welcome Squnk (I only hope that I'm practicing what I preach! LOL :D). And your entire post shows your passion.

    Follow that passion wherever it leads. :)

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