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very important question on making it big

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by teenagebass69, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. Hey i just got a new bass...its a wish bass ill have pics posted soon but my main question is that I live in los angeles and i REALLY want to be a professional bassist. I want to go to California School of the Arts but what are the chances of me actually getting a steady job....what kind of careers can come out of going to a college and studying music...for example: how does the whole process work after the completion of music college? I want to make sure I have a steady pay but am not sure if its the right thing to do even though i really want to do this..help :bassist:
  2. I asked my teacher the exact same thing. He graduated the college I am going to (Grant Macewan) guitar program, and he is an amazing guitarist and bassist. I am currently in general arts though, not bass. He said, if you take the 'hardcore' music study, don't expect to be guaranteed a career in music. He has tons of friends who he went to school with who are working jobs that have nothing to do with music. So, in his words, "if you take it, take it for yourself, not to be guaranteed to be a professional musician".
  3. I find it rather funny how people at the age of 15 and 16 are making up their minds for careers already. I envy you, good luck.
  4. i gotta say, thats good to hear. i will be going to college within the next 2 years, and was highly considering going to the local university for bass. but i was unsure of how steady the cash would flow in, and how much. but i guess what it comes down to, is if you love what you are doing, then who cares about the money (though money can get you a whole lot of nice basses, lol).
  5. One thing that I will say right now. Get a job or some type of fallback because being a musician is not always a perminent income. Expect the unexpected.
  6. primesuspect


    Feb 11, 2004
    Detroit, MI
    Don't discount a career in lutherie either... Many luthiers have backgrounds in music.

    I'm one of those "follow your dreams" types. If you are committed enough and determined enough, you can have a career in music. Although as Mr. Quackquack says, expect the unexpected.

    Hey, at least you didn't say "I want to be a rock star" ;)
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Wrong forum - moved.
  8. This is something else I heard from my teacher, and he has seen many talented musicians come and go. You will probably come across 3 things: love of the music, the people you play with, and money. If you get 2 of the 3, you are sitting pretty.
  9. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    I've been thinking about this same sort of issue over the past few months, too. I'm currently a junior in HS, but I'm starting to look at what colleges/universities I'd like to apply to, and what I am interested in studying. I think what I may end up doing is trying to major in a computer-related field, while possibly working towards a minor in music. I think I'd have a better chance of eventually making a stable income working with computers, and I'd still be able to play bass in my free time. I don't know if I'd be able to survive as a full time musician. :p

    Plus, if I can find a well-paying job in a computer/tech field, I may be better prepared financially to deal with GAS than I would as a professional musician. ;)

    I still have ~3 years or so before I really have to decide what I want to major in. But hey, it helps to start thinking about it early, right?
  10. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Get a minor in music and major in something where you can make a good living, then do both.
  11. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    There's no reason to think that one cannot make it in the music business. A fallback job is fine, but one may then be afraid to risk the security of the "day job" they know for the supposed insecurity of a music "day job".

    I have been laid off or fired from "day jobs". In today's world, the music business is probably no less or more stable as any other profession.

    If you are going for a career in "music", it may not be your music that your career is predicated on. Whether that's good or not is up to you, the player. If you love to play music, especially many styles, then study, and work smart at it, and have a great career.
  12. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    from experience I agree 100%, I went to Berklee to be a rock star, needless to say I am no star in the rock world. BUT when I get home from work, put on my leather pants, teased big hair wig and my cowboy boots, and I fit the part.

    I am bold enough to say at the age of 25 I make a better living working my current job then if I was still in the music biz, teaching, clubing/weddings etc. Having a day job (jacket and tie for me) allows me to enjoy the freedom of buying my rock star wigs and pants... basses tooooooo :bassist: .

    ps- i dont have any wigs, but leather pants are a must :D
  13. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ

    I'd wait on the computer science field if I were you. The field is starting to fall apart here in the US with many jobs flowing overseas. I'll probably have my BS CS in December but I'll probably be stuck in my accounting position giving business rule requirements to the IT department for some time to come.

    I see you have 3 years before college so that should be long enough to see what happens to the CS field.
  14. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I think it depends on what you want. I have friends who play music they hate, but they love the check. They play what they want in their free time.

    I have other friends who will go without because the only want to play what they want to play. (can you say ramon noodles and late rent?) While some others I know work a steady 9to5 because they want the stability that a lot of careers in music do not have. Some great players I know just don't like to travel. Most of them gig localy and teach privately or at colleges. They want to be close to their families, home, pension, health benefits and steady check. Many of them also play what they want in their free time.

    Other friends are record co/industry types who just love music. They either don't want to play or can't play for whatever reason.

    None of these choices are better than the other and by no means are these the only choices. I was just giving a some examples that I have noticed over the years.

    The best path is the one that makes you happiest.

    If you are happy eating ramon noodles rather than filet mignon so you can play what you want, then good for you. After a year of ramon noodles and PB&J sandwiches, I realized that was not the life for me. I vowed never to have to go through that again, I like my steak too much and I did not like the rodents in my aptartment who were after my ramon. But that is just me..... I don't have that in me ......or any ramon for almost ten years! So I am willing to play music that I might not like completely, because it is that check that allows me to play what I like in on my own time, pay the rent and relieve my GAS. I am just very thankful that I get to play any style of music at all.

    There is no set path in the biz. Unless you are going to be teaching, practicing music law, doing the books or some other technical specific job,not having a degree does not limit you as much as some other industries. Now I am by no means saying don't get a degree or that a degree is not worth it, but it might surprise you to know that two of my friends who are execs in the biz both have journalism degrees. One is VP at a major and he only has a two-year journalism degree from a community college here in NY. Another VP I knew at a major was Ivy-league. And yet another who is a president at a major used to be a club booker/promo guy! The music biz is funny that way.

    Sadly, it is often who you know and not what you know. But people will remember you if you are professional and easy to work with. Getting along is the deal-breaker in many playing situations. I have seen great players passed over for ok players because the ok player was alot of fun to work with. If you are an jerk, it will get around. Negative energy, stories and rumors travel at light-speed in the music business.

    Just think about your comfort/happiness level and where you would like be in relation to that. And don't be in a rush, take your time. There are alot of choices out there.

    In the end, all you really have is the music.

    Other posters: Treena(studio&gigging player) and Pacman(music in the military) would both have invaluable insight into your questions.

    (Ok, Ok, rant/self-righteous lecture over) A little scattered, but I think I got my point across??

  15. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    One year, actually. But thanks for the advice, I'll have to take a look at my other options.
  16. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    My English comprehension must be going downhill. You said you had 3 years to figure out what to major in. I took that as 3 years before college. My bad.
  17. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    -waiter/food service

    -gas station attendant

    -movie theator usher

    -dog walker

  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I knew I was going to make my living playing music when I was 11.

    Guess what? That's all I've ever done.
  19. I can connect with you, im starting first year university and im enrolled in Electronic Arts, the course is aimed at creating the most radical artists ever, the most radical artists ever...? Im guessing im going to have a life of hard-knocks and hard-boiled eggs. I hope that new and radical stuff is wanted... for example im in a band that is rythm based rock, its rock that you can jump around to without waiting for the melody to cut in and reck your highly developed neck breaking rythmicly dominated head bang. Im a little afraid I wont make it, I have the talent and the potential. I think the question we are all asking "IS IT LUCK, the way I play my bass for you, IS IT LUCK!!!" I love Claypool, im going to try to be as creative and explorative as him.

    Back to the point, are we gambling and betting on whether our sorry asses will make it in a world of chance. Do we need to bet half our dough on playing bass, but keep the other half (day job and unrelated education) just in case we lose? Can I make on my own or do I need to rely on a supernatural force called random selection? Its all so scary! Damn!
  20. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Music is like any other career avenue - you have to be good at what you do to make it work. For some, the title of 'musician' is an ode to slackness and minimal effort. Untrue. You have to be the best, and if you show little aptitude and passion from the outset, I would advise looking elsewhere for gainful, longterm employment.

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