Teacher by day, bass player by night?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MicG, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. First of all, i'm sorry if this thread doesn't belong in this forum but i'm just curious...Anyone here a teacher AND in a band?

    I'm in my fifth year of college to become a teacher; i'm within a year of getting my degree. Tonight I had to do something that really sucked...I had to turn down an offer to join a signed, established orig. alt/rock group :bawl:

    I'm already in an alt/ rock cover band that my buddy and i helped establish and its going good, but I had always thought about what it would be like to play in an orig. band in larger venues in Detroit like St. Andrews hall, The emerald, the shelter, etc. This would have been it...But all these years of work, money for tuition-possibly jeopardized by a "dream" of playing in group like that, I couldnt do it.

    Somebody please slap me out of it...:scowl:
  2. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I did the "teacher by day, bassist by night" on and off for a long time. I would usually have one or two gigs during the week and Friday and Saturday nights. Rough life.....

    I don't know what age or subject you are training for, but I taught junior high and high school. I had tons of grading, lesson plans, and preparation, not to mention being exhausted at the end of the day from the stress of teaching. Facing a classroom of devious 14-year-olds on three hours of sleep was not fun. I managed it for a while, but it got to be too much, so I quit my teaching job (twice) to play more (about 150-160 gigs a year).

    It was a case of "the grass is always greener" for me. I missed my buddies and playing regularly when teaching, but enjoyed the regular paychecks, mental stimulation, and the idea that I was helping kids. When playing full-time, it was great for a while, but I hated having to scrounge to pay the rent. I also took gigs playing music I didn't care about, and music became more like a job to me.

    When trying to do both, I often felt I was being mediocre at two jobs, without being able to give my all to either.

    I eventually decided (helped along by the birth of my daughter) that having a full-time teaching job and playing on weekends was the best fit for me. I have been working at a university for the last 8 years, and for half of that time I played a Wednesday night gig, along with some weekend work. Now, I'm only gigging about once a month.

    So, it is possible, but hard. I wish you the best of luck! We need more good teachers.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    America hates teachers.
  4. Thanks Monkey,

    Good to hear from someone in the same field, yea i'm actually going for lower elementary level certification-and I enjoy workin' with that age group, its just music is still such a big part of my life you know? i mean- i'm 24, single, almost certified and graduated...yet I still seem to want more. I'm trying to learn to be happy with what i've got with my current band and not overload myself with other projects resulting in commitment issues that might waste peoples time (at least thats what i told the band). Gotta say though...I almost said yes.
  5. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    America needs dedicated teachers more than bass players.

    You have a band you enjoy and your almost done with schooling for a career (I take it) that you enjoy. unfortunatly, a full time job and the road don't really mix.
    I've posted elsewhere That I just became a librarian. I'm keeping one full time band, well a few days a week, but all my sub work has been cancelled.
    While not actually a teacher,my position at the local community college feels like I'm an extension of the teacher.
    and i'm finding more rewarding than playing in front of a packed house.

  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    There are parts of the country that are more teacher-friendly than others. In the area where I live, people go out of their way to support the schools. While teachers don't get rich, there are many perks of the job, and better job security than most other occupations.
  7. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    MicG, you should feel good about your upcoming career. I am a third generation teacher, and it is great feeling to know that you have made an impact on young people. I taught fourth grade for two years, and found younger students to be a lot of fun.

    I think of my career as a musician like this.... For thousands of years, music has been an intimate part of the human experience. Prior to about one hundred years ago, a person had to be in the same room as a musician to experience music. Today, through technology, we have instant access to all kind of music at the touch of a button. The tradition of people experiencing music directly is being lost, I think.

    I know I will never be a "rock star", but I also know that I touch people through my music. I carry on a tradition of playing live music that goes back to our ancient ancestors, whose music was never recorded, but had an immediate emotional impact on the people who experienced it. When I play live, the vibrations I create are gone in an instant, but the effects live on. I will never be famous, but I can make a positive impact on society during the week, and still crank out the low end on the weekends!

    Sorry for the long and philosophical post!
  8. Sting was a teacher at one point and he made a comment about the similarity between teachers and rock stars: they both entertain delinquents for about an hour. :D
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've taught HS on and off for the past 15 years or so. Last year I taught full time, played in a cover band, 2 original bands, and did some sub work. I was completely fried, but strangely enough wrote more that I have in years. I think it was an outlet. Bought myself a whole lot of neat gear too. It's doable, but I was kicking real hard to stay afloat and would have sunk if I continued.

    I choose to substitute teach because there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I was born a musician, not a teacher. I guess that's what we need to ask ourselves, although the answer isn't all that simple. Security is a great thing, and the majority of people go for it. I however know too many miserable old teachers for me to go that route. I think they're miserable though because they weren't teachers - they took the safe, or "responsible" way. I know some really happy teachers too. Wait. I'm lying...

    but I work in NYC. :) Ya know what? I'm gonna shut up now. Good luck with your decision. If a teacher is what you are in your heart, then I think you made the right choice.
  10. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    I'm a librarian at a small community college, so I know about delinquents.

    Andy, just kidding I love it here.
  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    You're probably making the right decision, and you know it. Finish your degree, and then reconsider. If you're destined for a career in music you'll have one. If not, you'll be able to feed, clothe and shelter yourself and you dependents.
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    My view is, that if you are good enough to get such an offer from a band, you will be good enough to get another offer in the future, so you don't have a lot to lose on the musical front from finishing your degree.

    OTOH if you give up the degree now, it's something that would be very hard to recover later on. Put in the time to finish what you have started and already paid for.
  13. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    If you chose to follow the music you will be self-employed. I am a self-employed consulting engineer. Sure it has its perks but it also has its drawbacks. I will be sixty next month. I pay over $600.00/mo for health insurance with a $2000.00 deductible. My recession hit last year with a down swing in the construction market. At the risk of being redundant, as the man said. "While teachers don't get rich, there are many perks of the job, and better job security than most other occupations."
  14. Soloshchenko


    Feb 2, 2009
    I'm an English and Music teacher in the UK teaching 11-16 year olds. Just joined a promising young local band with big ideas and aspirations. At 26 this is probably my last shot at making a career out of music full time but I'm just loving playing again. Especially given how talented this group of musicians are.

    Much as I enjoy teaching, if my band got signed I'd give up the day job in a second.
  15. It doesn't get any easier. I played in bands when I was at school/college, but basically had to stop playing as a) I wasn't that good (and didn't then know how to get better) and b) just didn't have the time.

    So I took a few years out to concentrate on my career (I'm a medical doctor), and I've started to play again. It's taking ages to get back even to where I was; try practicing/gigging with 3 kids and a full time job. Lots of people do it here, but I'm finding it hard.

    There's been discussions in the forums quite often about choices; choices that even professional players make to take the risk of playing original music, which might not pay for several years, against well paid but unfulfilling cover band/wedding work. Choices don't really ever stop. FWIW if music is really your thing, and you really want to make a go of it (and in all honesty it was always a sideline for me) and you don't want to have the "if only I had done...." sort of regret in the future why not just take some time off; after teaching college, or even during the course.

    As someone that isn't a teacher I imagine that teaching would be an ideal profession to combine with music playing, even if you weren't a music teacher. At my school there was always music equipment hanging around the music department, basically we could all go and have a go at it almost any time we liked. Obviously I tended to work on my chemistry, biology and physics more than many....
  16. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I've taught school for 31 years and have always done a music gig on the side. Of course I teach music and its a personal belief of mine that I should not be teaching something I can't (or won't) do myself. The hardest part came when the kids were young. During that time I was able to stop live performance and write charts and do studio work, so I was able to be more in control of schedule. The kids are grown now and so I'm back on stage with a couple of bands.

    It is a busy schedule/life, but you have to balance the stress of being busy with the mental health of doing the things you love. I couldn't ask kids to practice if I'm not doing it.... I couldn't encourage students to pursue music if I wasn't doing it also.
  17. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    why not??? I'm a FEDERAL EXECUTIVE, and run an entire field office and supervise 20 people and a dad, a husband and a mortgage-payer by day, and and a [email protected] rocker on the weekends.

    I won't even tell me employees I do it. I don't want them showing up. They wouldn't believe it.
  18. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I was in college to be a teacher, Industrial Arts Education. I left in 1983 right before student teaching, I had something like 120 credit hours amassed. I gave up my education to be a rock star, moved to Boston joined a band that was this close to the brass ring. we had tons of airplay on the major FM rock station, we were touring up and down the northeast coast. In the end it fell apart and I moved back home, got married and started a family. How I wish I finished my degree.
  19. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    History teacher by day, trying to get a new band started by night.
  20. TheXym


    Oct 19, 2006
    I've been a high school music teacher for 14 years, and done freelance on the side (lots of keys for the first few years after college, and I have a steady organist gig on Sunday mornings that pays decently for the last 11 years as well). I also play bass in the praise team at the church where I'm a member and do some gigging about once/2 months for the last couple of years, looking to do more now that my kids are a bit older.

    As others have said, to expect kids to practice when you're not doing it yourself is more than a bit hypocritical.
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