Playing for a living?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Chick-N-Picker, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. Chick-N-Picker

    Chick-N-Picker Friend of Leo's

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    Does anybody on here play for a living? It doesn't have to be a lot of money. I would consider $300-500 a week playing for living haha. Of course that's my dream. I don't have to make much money playing just enough to get by. I'm not in a band and I live in an area where music is almost not existence. I'm 20 and I won't to play in a country band so bad. I lived in Nashville during the summer of 2013 and it changed my life and all I want to do is go back because it felt like home. I feel like I'm good enough to play in a steady band, I wish I could put into words this feeling. It would too much time to type it all.

    I also feel like I'm 20/21 and I'm running out of time and that I won't to start playing in a band as soon as I can. I won't to be 70 and look back and say "been playing since I was 13 and been playing in a band since 21"

    Haha once again I know I'm crazy.
     
  2. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    No, but it can be done that is my goal. Finding serious people is the difficult part and some people would rather work a steady job as it provides more income and that's fine. But if you are truly passionate about music and want that to be your only job then do it . People that play for corporate and weddings make quite a bit of money at a time if you can do that then you'll make a decent living . Bar gigs can pay the bills if you don't have a lot of members having to split it 5 different ways.
     
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  3. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Friend of Leo's

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    "I feel like I'm good enough to play in a steady band, I wish I could put into words this feeling. It would too much time to type it all."

    Put it into song, that's how some of the best music was ever written. If you really want to be a musician you will become one. Keep at it!

    “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchill
     
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  4. teleaboutit

    teleaboutit Tele-Meister

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    I make that much, although I do still attend another job... I would totally encourage your goal, and I know how it looks from the other side- the first step, getting up onstage regularly, seems to be the hardest.
    The best concrete advice I can give you is to frequent the best live music and bar band scenes in your town. If you don't have any in your town, then in the nearest major town. Work to make friends and connections among the gigging musicians. You won't realize how eager older musicians are to help you out until they start passing you invites, and eventually gigs.
    The second piece of advice is obvious but often overlooked. Can you play enough songs to hold down a 4-hour bar gig? To do it solo acoustic? When you have to lead a band you've never played with before? Can you fit repertoire to different rooms and audiences (working-class rock or commercial country as well as more "hip" vibes?)?
    IMO, learning songs- all the way through- and how to sing them should be the single most important goal in the practice routine of any aspiring working musician. With the drive and the love for music, you'll get there- that's your leg up. Good luck!
     
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  5. GuitarPlayerFL

    GuitarPlayerFL TDPRI Member

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    Learn to sing and to be able to play solo gigs...acoustic guitar playing crowd pleasers.
    Do the band thing on the side in conjunction with the solo thing. I know guys who play solo and can do it. I don't have the balls to put it on the line. At my age I want a steady paycheck and medical benefits.
     
  6. Zillinois

    Zillinois Friend of Leo's

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    be prepared to hustle your ass for the rest of your life, if you want to "make a living at it". I have several friends that do, and they teach lessons, and are super competitive about gigs, especially ones that pay well.
     
  7. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    Hustling isn't a bad thing as long as it's your passion.. I believe in following your passion . You only go through this life once so make it count !
     
  8. oldtelefart

    oldtelefart Tele-Meister

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    Cover bands, solo/duo cover gigs, teaching, saved me from getting a real job for 38 years.
    My most highly developed skill is having a happy comfortable life on very little money.
     
  9. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    My guitar teacher was an amazing jazz player. Larry Coryell studied with him, as well as all the Coryell wannabes like me from the same town. Our teacher played banjo at a pizza place in the 60s. I asked him how he liked it. He gave me a detailed response of what kind and amount of explosives he would use on the banjo, and where to place it. Clearly, he had thought this through.

    Another time, I asked him what people he knew thought of his career in music. He told me that his brother-in-law had recently asked him if he was still "doing that music thing," or words to that effect. In other words, people in his extended family did not respect what he was doing.

    Steve Swallow is a New York jazz bass player who has played with the greats all over the world. He once gave a talk, where he said that at the height of the Gary Burton 4tet fame, he held down a Monday night gig at a Holiday Inn in a Dixieland band.

    Now in my 60s, I am extremely grateful for having had a life-long career in music. I never take that for granted. Every day, I work toward achieving some goal, creating new music, etc. When I became a professor at age 43, my level of income, etc. changed dramatically. Even so, I have never had a vacation, other than conferences and festivals, as well as family visits. I've never owned a new car, I've been to one professional sports game (go Cubbies), and have not paid more than $40 for a meal. Many emergencies would send me thousands of dollars in debt that would take years to climb out of. I've been employed for 46 consecutive years, with only a single week of being unemployed. I knew at 14 that I wouldn't be able to have children, given my career plans.

    But enough about me. Can you sight read?
     
  10. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    I played full-time for a number of years, and was fortunate enough to see some success right around your age: record deal with a major label, and opening up for some big international acts. Then later I went to music school, and it all went downhill from there. :D I'm kidding about that, but I did see the tougher side of it. Played in a show band that lived on the road constantly, and then later played in a band that averaged 20~25 one-nighters a month. It can be a tough life.

    Have you seen the meme that says, "Musician: Someone who loads $5000 worth of gear into a $500 car to drive 100 miles for a $50 gig." ;) It's not far from the truth. But if music is what you want to do, you'll find a way to do it. Best of luck, CS
     
  11. Chick-N-Picker

    Chick-N-Picker Friend of Leo's

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    Man, all great advice from you guys. That is some of the same things my daddy told me two days before he died unexpectly last August at 48 from a heart attack.

    He told me that he knew I wanted to go to Nashville and maybe he didn't go when he was younger (he wanted to sing) was because maybe he wasn't good enough but that I was. Then two days later he died.
     
  12. hotpepper

    hotpepper Tele-Meister

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    Sorry about your dad.
    now start busting your but to do it. I decided on music at your age and 40yrs later I'm still doing it.
    So get going, the longer you wait the harder it is to get started.

    Oh one more thing, get outta hear and play me some tunes...peace
     
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  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Uh, yes, and I love it, too.
    BUT, notice the big but, it ain't easy, or for the faint of heart.
    Nothing else is nearly as satisfying.
    I've been doing it for 42 years.
    Am I rich and famous yet?
    Oh, OK, I'll just keep at it!
     
  14. BobbyB

    BobbyB Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow....I say follow your dream. You're young yet.
    Going pro is a whole new level just as in anything.
    Im a pretty good woodworker, but next to a master cabinet builder Im not even close.
    Be prepared to feel that way. Everyone starts somewhere so get at it.
    Play everywhere, promote yourself at every chance. Get along with others and always show up. Be there early no excuses.....go get em!!
     
  15. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I gave it a few years -- maybe five or six -- when it was the main thing I did for money. It's a hard life; I've said often that I'm lucky I wasn't a better player, because I'd still be chasing it. I'm also lucky that I have another form of self-expression that I love, and that I have had a fair amount of success at. I'm still playing, still loving it, still getting better, but I don't have to rely on playing to pay the rent. But if you ain't 21 yet and you've got the fire, go for it!
     
  16. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

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    I did 4 years from 1972-1976 playing clubs in NH and northeastern MA as a bassist/vocalist. Even had a union card. And for a while a crooked agent.

    First year I earned the equivalent of roughly $28000 in today's dollars.
    Final year: roughly $40000 in today's dollars.

    This was playing six to seven nights a week.

    I gave it up when the venues hiring live bands dried up and DJs severely undercut live music. When I left the band to enter the Army there were no local clubs that had live music more than four or five nights a week.

    Tough life--I went through six cars in four years. No health insurance.We lived week to week but paid our bills; we were lucky to have a few credit cards. For a few weeks my ex and I actually commuted to and from the club on a Schwinn tandem bike while we scraped up money for another vehicle. The music scene ended up wrecking our marriage.

    I feel lucky that I was able to do this for a living and was able to live a low budget rock musician lifestyle for a few years. It paid the bills better than working for just above minimum wage. People who know me today are surprised that I did music for a living way back when.

    I was about your age when I took the plunge. At that time nobody wanted to hire a longhaired college dropout.

    I wish you the best in your musical ventures.
     
  17. Tazz3

    Tazz3 Friend of Leo's

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    My friend plays for a liveing he is in 2 bands he gives guiatr and piano lessons
    And he plays with other bands he doe well,he is not super rich but he has a house.
    And he is haveing fun
     
  18. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like any professional business, its all about maximizing your revenues, keeping your expenses low, marketing, and having repeat customers.

    The music is the easy part. Good luck!
     
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  19. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a lot harder to do something you hate than something you love. And when you love something, you get better at it because you do it a lot. But it takes these things: faith, perseverance, and sacrifice. You gotta have the balls to do it and not take no for an answer.

    You have to add value to people's lives, because that will enable them to add value to yours. If it was easy, everybody would do it. You do what you gotta do to survive.

    One time I had to sell most of my gear for dirt cheap to pay rent just because a hurricane canceled a few gigs that would've paid my bills.

    No step for a stepper. You can replace things. Nothing can replace fulfillment knowing you went for something and freakin' did it.
     
  20. tele salivas

    tele salivas Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I was younger, the rewards for playing music were not something you could post in a bank account. It's wine women and song, lots of times in that order.
    Some of my fondest memories are particular days coming up with a new sound or part, and working it at full volume for hours, living with other guys, cooking beans and just looking out the window at the street action. Music becomes like a vapor that seeps through everything you do. You watch the world with songwriter eyes. The mission is everything.
     
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