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Qualifications to be a full time musician

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Coutts_is_god, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    I'm doing a career class project about what career you would want to do in the future. I picked to be a full time musician :D Anywho there is a question I need help with and this place is perfect for this question.

    It says "list qualification need to be a full time musician?"]

    So what qualification would be needed to be a full time/touring/session bass player.

    Thank you
  2. 1. Alcoholic
    2. Introverted
    3. Hate guitarists
    4. Hate vocalists
    5. Be "the man"

    I'm just kidding.. that is a good idea for a project though! :D
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Must consider Top Ramen to be fine cuisine.
  4. yeah.. forgot that one.. mac and cheese is for all the guys with "bling"
  5. {OE}


    Sep 23, 2004
    Connecticut, U.S.
    Well, if one wishes to be respected and employed I would say one must be open-minded, considerate, patient, optomistic and always on time. :D :bassist:
  6. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    1.take what you do as a job,a fun job but a job 2.be on time 3.have a open mind about music and people. 4.study different styles.5.learn to read music and music theory it only help's 6. a strong belife in self
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The only thing you need to be a full time musician is a full time gig. All the lovely qualifications listed by everyone here also hold true for somebody who has never been paid a penny in their life for making music.

    If it were me, I'd take the other route. About how being a musician (or any other career in the creative arts) is unlike any other career path out there. About how the majority of musicians, even those who are gigging regularly supplement their income through teaching, either privately or academically. About how musicians will, in addition to the amount of time they spend on personal practice, will get together to play for no money, to play for no audience (like in the drummer's basement) just for the sheer joy of participating in the collective endeavor of music making. About how musicians will spend tens of thousands of dollars on an education, tens of thousands of dollars on an instrument in order to get an orchestral position that pays maybe 30k a year.

    Plumbers don't get together on the weekend to work on pipes.
    Surgeons don't make time after work to cut up people for fun.
    Being a musician is unlike anything else.
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    In all seriousness, being able to play your instrument well is first on the list. Secondly, to be very open minded if you are a sideman as the majority of the time, your parts are written out and you may or may not dig 'em! Zero attitude unless it's your band and your bandmates don't wanna kick your ass most of the time because they hate you. Reliable equipment and transportation. The ability to read music is desired so if you can read, you have a leg up already. Adaptability! You never know when [2AM!!] or where [outdoors & 40 degrees, rainy] you may be asked to play, with or without PA support, monitors, etc. The ability to keep a 'happy face' on while onstage is important. You may be unhappy about something going on onstage but the audience does not need to know about it or your displeasure. Being ontime and reliable. Doing your homework and being able to play to your best abilities.
  9. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    In addition to DWBass' post, you may want to add a willingness to be flexible, not just with playing styles but with people. Don't forget the soft skills. Sometimes they can be more important than the hard skills, all things being equal (between players).

  10. Have tolerence for spending time away from home and making less money than most people as a trade for doing something you love.

    Have a professional attitude - have the right gear for the job, know the songs, be on time, etc.

    Networking skills are very important as well, and will help you get many gigs.

  11. whoa buddy... loosen your collar a little bit. This isn't a corporate session here. Yeah, every point you made was aboslutely correct. BTW i've made more than a penny playing music ;) and have no problems keepin it comin in. It's ok to enjoy it sometimes too, and remember that not only is being professional proper, but initially this was a hobby for all of us and it's ok to be happy about it... :p

    EDIT: whups.. just reread your post... dyslexia sucks.. good points Ed.
  12. Good points in there
    Although a qualification may help it is not neccessary to have to become a professional
    However what is important is how well you play your instrument and having good people skills
    As one famous bassplayer quoted
    Although you can chuck in sightreading as well :bassist:
  13. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    1. Take a vow of isolation & poverty
    (Expect no pats on the back financial or otherwise)

    2. Forget about family and children.
    (You have a career to manage....everything else comes in a distant 2nd.)

    3a. Develop a thick (very thick) skin
    3b. Develop a sense of humor so you can laugh off anything.

    4. Move to a city with enough going on musically to support you in some way. (macaroni & cheese + room rental)

    5. Maintain the musical chops (this means reading & tune memorizing not tapping) necessary to cover ANY gig that's out there. You NEED every gig you can get.

    6. Network like crazy and take sub jobs as much as possible as that helps get your name around.(For good or bad depending on performance.)

    7. Drink club soda on the job, not booze.

    8. Take a long hard look at #'s 1 & 2 and have a back up plan.

    9. Remember there is no shame in playing music part time and having a life.

    10. AND...If you REALLY want to do it nothing ANYONE says will keep you from it!!
  14. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    i don't nessesary think 1&2 are givins,using myself as a exsample i live in/near a large city chicago i don't have a day job,never have and i do ok,i have a child who is well provided for and a wonderful girlfriend.i do spend time on the road away from family and friend's but i have friend's how work 50-60-70 hr's a week and see less of their family's than i do.i think if you view being a musician as a job(notice i didn't say being a bass player)and plan for forward progress in life and your carear you will have a better chance at doing well

  15. 1: Play very well, all styles
    2: reliable, professional gear to get good versatile tones.
    3: Be flexible with good communication and open minded without an ego
    4: do fill in gigs without rehersals, follow charts ect.
    basically, the more live experience and knowledge you have, of as many styles as you can,the more work you can potentially get.
  16. mrsquawk


    Oct 31, 2004
    HAHA, that may be stereotypical but it's right on! http://www.tallchief.com/montage.jpg -- that image right there sums up your argument. I've had to step back and play guitar with this guy, my friend Thomas of 4 years. I'm probably more of a guitarist than a bassist, but I like the bass more, and I never could understand his attitude. Now I know he's not the only one! :D I designed that site listed above, and one of the quotes Thomas made me put up there was about RotoSound strings, "Used by all the baddest bassists, including me." LOL!