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Music's role in your life? Where to go?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by WyrmDL, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. WyrmDL


    Feb 15, 2008
    Hey TB,

    I, like many other people, am stuck in that stage. How should I tackle music in my life?

    ...or rather, how have you tackled music in your life?

    My parents are firm believers that you need money in order to be happy. There is a quote that says something along the lines of: "The difference between a musician and a large pizza, is, well, that a large pizza can feed a family of four."

    I'm young, I'm inexperienced, but I don't want to live a linear life. I desire to work to live, not to live to work. Am I being selfish here? Is this lazy?

    My dilemma is to go with a compromise or not. Do I live on life in the path of a normal career, with music as a side dish? Do I jump gloriously into the waves of music? If I pursue my other consideration, chiropractics (or whatever else I may decide on in the future), then I compromise with the time and effort I could use to study music in college. Chiropractic education is a total of about 8 years, so for me, its about out of the picture to get a degree in music first.

    Either I pursue the career life, and have music as a side, or ride the music and hope that the wave brings me fairly far.

    I'm young, I'm inexperienced, I'm stupid, and I'm self-centered. I would just like to ask the more experienced people here: what do you think? What did you choose? Are there factors here that I'm oblivious to?

    If it changes anything, I play multiple instruments, and am eager to expand. I am, however, inexperienced at most of the instruments that I play, and in music knowledge in general. To be short, I'm a novice in the field.

    Thanks TB, I appreciate it.
    TortillaChip520 likes this.
  2. anon65884001

    anon65884001 Guest

    Feb 1, 2009
    Same here,
    So i went to my school's career counseller to discuss about what i should do in the future
    I am actually proficient enough that all my music teachers (except for the very first one, and another one whom i had for two months) suggested me to major music because i can make a living out of it apparently...
    So according to jobfuture.com or something, their average wage is $20/h...19.5 to be exact...
    No offence to people who make less than average, but earning is as important as having fun
    And remember, not doing music as a career does not mean that you must stop playing whatever musical instrument you can play
    Also, let's be realistic here,
    I don't practice, but i still win awards individually and as a group
    I have gotten paid for playing as a guest musician
    I have gotten a scholarship for playing an instrument
    Comments on me playing is almost always positive
    But what if i can't get a job?
    Like what am i going to do?
    Music career is competitive and being good like me is never good enough
    You must be the best to survive and that playing music will not be fun if it is done that way (in my opinion)
    As always, i could be wrong
    So this is what i choose to do
    Chemical engineer or doctor
    And i may hate those jobs, but i'm going to hate music as my job too if i do music as my primary job as i do not practice enough
    So if i do music in my spare time, i still can enjoy it and make a decent living
    So i decided not to do music in university
    That is my plan...
  3. Dosed_Mind


    May 21, 2006
    For me(being at about the same place in my life as you seem to be), a career is the goal - a career in music is the dream. I do pretty well in school and would like to become an astronomer/astrophysicist, and i think that this is something i should be able to achieve.
    Becoming a rockstar is the (very)unsafe bet, but that certainly doesnt mean that i wont atleast try to make awesome music and "make it". So basically, whos to say the one thing leaves it the other? Obviously i have big respect for Brian May of Queen;)
    Considering a "working career" in music, i view this as not very sensible, as it seems that most people who get this sort of education turn out to become teachers who goes on to teach other people to become teachers etc. (any musically schooled people are welcome to correct me). And, as far as i've understood, becoming a session musician who makes a decent living is about as hard as making it in a band.
    In conclusion, im pro-safety nets, but that might just be my danish culture talking:p
  4. Do not give up on your dreams. And do not forget the main thing is to have fun. So many people tend to forget this. Even I have forgotten this. It took me a jam session with a band of brothers from my church to realize I had forgotten what fun it was. I had got hung up on the financial business of music and lost it's core meaning. That is the enjoyment of playing , the performing for others or with others, the sharing of knowledge. Sorry if I tend to run a bit long winded here. I say play music because you want to and play it the way you want to! Enjoy it.For what it is. Don't make it out to be anything more than it truly is. Words to grow by.

    Mic Nuggette' 2009

    of "Major G and the Gmen"
    "Pelvic Triangle"
  5. paul_wolfe


    Mar 8, 2009
    What Mic says is true.

    I make my living from music - primarily from MANAGING a band, rather than playing in it (though I do play from time to time).

    In the mid to late 90s I got to a stage where I decided I couldn't get any better and jsut gave up practicing. Only time I'd play was rehearsals, learning new tunes, or gigs.

    IN the early 2000s I started getting interested in playing again, though I had less time to do so as two kids entered the equation. But now that they're a bit bigger I have a bit more time to play and I'm now actively working on improving my playing again, teaching online and doing some gigs with the band from time to time - WHICH I'M REALLY ENJOYING AGAIN (apart from playing Brown Eyed Girl for the 2000th time).

    So the point is: if you want to pursue music as a career there are ways to do it. BUT. You'll probably lose some of the enjoyment element - (Some of the gigs I've done have involved 18 hour days, hundreds of miles of driving, little sleep etc - when you do it a couple of times a week, week in and week out, it gets to be like any job.).

    If you want to pursue music as a career treat it like a career - you wouldn't expect to graduate as a lawyer from Harvard without dedicating a serious amount of work would you? You've got to treat learning to be a musician the same and put those hours in. If you do that you'll put yourself in the top 15 or 20% purely on the basis that most people won't put that kind of work in - but you probably won't make the same amount of money as a Harvard lawyer.

    So it's a balance.

    Unless you absolutely HAVE TO PLAY MUSIC, and you can't do anything else. If that's the case you should just do it...because you won't be happy if you don't.

    Hope that makes sense. Sorry to be REALLY long winded.
  6. phall2112


    Dec 31, 2008
    Dont worry, Music is infectious. Even if you end up working at a bank or something boring. Music will find you once its in your blood. And in my case i think if i did it full time it would become "a job." I enjoy having the outlet. being at work and getting excited about rehearsal that night. But that just me :)
  7. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Your parents are right, to an extent, anyway. You don't need to be rich to be happy, but if you are starving to death, it's hard to find joy in life. If you find yourself in a position where you have to spend 60-80 hours a week at a crap job getting together enough scratch to pay your basic bills, you won't be playing much music.

    That said, you are at a point in life that you will not see again. You are young and full of energy, and the time that stretches out before you is virtually unlimited. Take advantage of it to chase more than one dream.
  8. WyrmDL


    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks everyone for your advice.

    I've thought about this day in and day out for a while, and yesterday I listened to a great motivational speaker talk about his life, which gave me a burning passion to do what I want to do.

    But now, I've slept on it, and I've got reassurance from all of you; I've decided to keep it on the side.

    Now my problem is...what career path am I going to follow....?

    Again though, I really appreciate your help everyone :)
  9. rfclef


    Jan 19, 2007
    Woodburn, Oregon
    Money is nice, but as long as I have enough to feed my kids, pay my rent, and put gas in my tank, I am good.

    I have a lot of friends who went the "performance" route in school, and when the gigs ain't there, try to get teaching jobs, but can't get certified without an Ed background. I have other friends who got the Education degree, but spend lots (or all) their time gigging.

    My point: If you can play, noone cares what your degree or background is, you will get hired. If the gigs are not there (happens from time to time), it will be nice to have something to fall back on.

    You can still play, gig, love the music while you study chiropracty (?), education, business, or whatever. And if the music career snatches you up, then you have not lost anything learning something else too. BEsides, if you become a rock star, would be good to have some business knowledge or you could fix your roadies' backs when they throw them out hauling your amps...
  10. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    That's not what I said. You can do both if you start early and work hard. If you want a role model, consider Tom Scholz of the band Boston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Scholz). Quoting the wiki page: "Prior to his musical career, Scholz received both a bachelor's degree (1969) and a master's degree (1970) in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for Polaroid as a senior product design engineer."
  11. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I wish I had been a better musician at the point when I had to choose what to do (late teens). Well, I became an engineer. At this point, after 5 years working as an engineer, I can't say I'm 100% satisfied with my choice, and I'm no top notch engineer either. Neither am I proficient enough in music to make a living out of it. In other words, I'm pretty stuck being an average engineer and average musician, with playing skills far from the skills my pro musician friends possess. When you're 30, you just don't learn things as easily as when you're a teen, and changing career to music is not really a choice anymore.

    There's a couple of good things with having a day job - a regular income, and the fact I have time for playing and teaching music in the evenings and weekends. I have seven guitar/bass students, but that's not private lessons and the money is hence not the best. I earn on them about the same money per month as on an average gig... The extra money I earn on music is nice of course, and I like the fact I don't need to rely on getting gigs and such in order to survive. So... I manage pretty well I guess. It's just the job itself don't really feel inspiring at the moment...
  12. Music if a monetary drain for me :p
  13. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    You are only 30? You aren't "stuck" with anything. I went back to school to get my EE degree when I was 33. I'm in my 50's now and I'm in the best band I've ever been in and my chops have never been better. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and push on; you've got a whole lot left to do.
  14. mightypog


    Apr 21, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    The beautiful thing is that you don't have to make this decision today. I didn't go to college until I was sure I knew what I wanted to major in. That took 10 years, in which I just did music and a bunch of crappy day jobs. When I knew for sure I wanted to be a journalist, too, that's when I went back to college. I still make jack for money, but I love what I do. Half my income is from music, and half from the writing. I say, take your time. College is a one-shot deal and expensive as hell, so no point in going until you have some idea how not to waste it on the wrong thing!

    Making a living in music is very hard. My drummer and my band leader both do it. It can be done. But it's really, really hard.
  15. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I made my living, such as it was, for a while in da music bidness. It became a job for me, and it was neither an aesthetically satisfying nor financially rewarding one, either. I went back to school and got a degree with which to earn my living and now I do music for the love of it. YMMV, but I've never regretted my decision. If nothing else, I can afford much better gear than I ever would have had I not gone the way I did. ;^)
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Once again, I have to pimp service bands. The US government is the single biggest employer of musicians. You make more than your civilian peers, and you don't have to hustle (you can if you want). You get pay, benefits and job stability. You also get to play with some of the best musicians around.

    It's worth thinking about, that's all I'm saying.
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    And if you lose your challenge for last chair, they put an M-14 in your hand... ;^)
  18. Yup, you can study music, travel the world, meet new and interesting people, and kill them.
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Say what you want (neither of the above two posts is true), but I make $60K a year (plus benefits) playing music. Anyone else that can say that here?




    That's what I thought.
  20. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Thanks for those words. :) It's only a huge decision to do to change career and start being a student again (which I would have to, in order to improve as a musician, and perhaps get some knowledge in teaching too, which I like to do). You don't give up a yearly salary of 40k€ very easily when you have house and car loans to pay off and are used to a certain living standard. It's a huge step to do, and I'm not ready to take it yet. If ever. Let's see...

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