7 and mike and other professionals

in one of your other posts you lament the dilemma of being a full time yet financially challenged musician. do you see this as being one of the downsides of what is otherwise a very rewarding way to spend your life, or are you now of the opinion that music is something that is bettter pursued as part of a balanced life that includes other ways to make money? (i gather scot fits in this category in some way).  

do people have any opinions  on this subject which may be of interest to younger players?
There are 13 comments, leave a comment.
i have many thoughts on this subject but i do not think they are neccesarily of interest.  and i do not know if i should share them.
for the most part i view myself as a pessimistic, miserable old man.
i was never willing to be a part time player. i was never happy with my abilities as a part time player and it did not fit with how my father brought me up to be the best at anything i under took.  you see the way my father brought me up from the earliest age i can remember, without piano specifically in mind, it was impossable for me to take up piano without the intention of leaving art tatum, mccoy tyner, and chick corea, clearly in the dust, wondering where the hell i came from.  a part time balanced pianist can never hope to achieve this.  i have never come close to even remotely acheiving (nor will, i know now) as a full time pianist.   i believe that being a jazz pianist and  
a piano teacher is noble life.  otherwise i do not know it as "rewarding as you say.  put i am happy within in mysef that i produce a product rather than profiting off the skills of someone else.  
   one view of how i approach this subject is this:  when i have students graduating from high school age, considering college and carreer.  i advise them not to consider music period.  if they ask why.  i tell them to only do it if they can absolutely not concieve of doing any thing else.  amongst the many reasons i give them is:
they will be out there competing for $50 dollar jobs against people like me who willing practice 24/7 and have been for 20- 30 years, people who never had families, couldnt hold on to wives, have children  
all because they dedicated themselves to this carreer at all costs.
i tell them ... you  have been studying with me... you know what i do,
you come to my gigs,  when you start trying to make a liveing be prepared to compete against me cause i'm still gonna be out there.
but basically my advise is to ignore me. i am admittidly a miserable old man ( yet one that is going to beat you out of a lot of gigs even when i twenty years from now).
all my life i've been the "class clown". i enjoy entertaining, i enjoy hanging out with the great musicians that i play with.

i have worked straight jobs and still found myself up to my neck in debt.  

given the choice between making $500 a week working at some crapola job that i hate or making approximately the same amount doing something that i usually like (sometimes love yet sometimes hate) i'll pick the latter.

the vast majority of people on this planet are just barely surviving (just like me). i've been in the ranks of the "working poor" for so long that i've simply accepted it as my lot.

also i might add that most people who are rich, make their money in unscrupulous ways. except (possibly) for those who had parents rich enough to send them to good schools.

better to be "poor but honest" rather than a rich thief.

well...life is what you make it and so is the music business.  decide what you want to do and do it.  i saw my dad making a living and raising four kids by playing and teaching music.  i knew when i was 5 years old that that's what i wanted to do.  i never had sites on the "big time".  although i would have loved it while i was younger, it was never a goal for me, so it didn't happen.  

when i was in my 20s, a friend of mine brought his friend, cheryl crow to see the band  i was playing in (i know, name dropper, but there's a point to it)  she said she was working on some demos because she wanted to make it big.  i remember thinking to myself, yeah, okay...good luck...

as you probably know she stayed focused and worked very hard to achieve her goal.  i think it was about 10 years later when i first heard "all i wanna do" on the radio, and i about jumped out of the car with joy!  she did it!  (and let me tell you, she doesn't really show off on her albums, but she can sing her ass off)

i guess the point is, i make a moderate living playing and teaching piano, i stay here in town and i'm raising three teenaged boys (and two doggies)  cheryl is probably making more money than she'll ever need.  my guess is you, could probably fall anywhere in there if you want to.

as far as a career just playing jazz?  i heard once that the hottest selling jazz albums sell on average about 8500 copies...ya ain't gonna make much doing that.  ya gotta play jazz because you love it.  if you want to make better money you're gonna have to be able to cover more ground.  i made most of my money playing weddings and bar mitzvahs.  i could make more on one of those gigs than  3 or 4 nights at some club.  

now that i'm in my forties, it would be nice to be looking at a nice nest egg, but it aint there. i was really into investing before i got married, but the offspring can really use up any "extra money"  i cashed in my investments to buy our first house and haven't really been able to save anything since...but if i'm doing what i love to do,  who cares?  the great part is my wife and i were home with our kids when they were young!  we worked whle they were sleeping...fabulous!

i actually consider myself semi-retired now.  i teach a little over 50 students a week, mon-thurs.  i only take a couple of gigs a month.  the gigs have to pay a lot or be a lot of fun, otherwise, i stay home or go out to eat.  (of course i have a wife who makes about the same money as me)

i have four cars with a total combined value of about $6000 - ha! if one breaks down, i have three others (and no, i don't have a refrigerator on my front porch)  the point is,i don't make a lot, i don't spend a lot, i really don't need a lot - that's just me.  if you need lots of fancy things, you may want to do the balanced life thing you talked about...or shoot for the big time...you're only young for a very short time...

also, where you live has a lot to do with your success.  try talking to musicians  in your area and get the scoop...you may have to consider relocating...i'm fortunate to live in a city   where there seems to  always  a need for piano players...
this is an interesting thread.  so, has anyone here actually quit a day job to go play piano?  does it ever work?
obviously, i have.

well, let me ask a followup.  do you think that your attitude about music is different having gone into it from another career?  for instance, i certainly never majored in music in college and, in fact, i gave it up entirely for many years.  now, later in life, i've come back to music and find that my attitude about it is totally different than when i was younger.   i mean, i just totally dig it (the practicing, learning new stuff, playing gigs, the ups, and the downs) in a way that i never did when i was younger.  i sometimes wonder whether i would have the same attitude about it had i actually made music my initial career choice many years back.    it's something i think about a lot given the amount of time i've spent thinking about quitting my soulless day job to go play piano ;-).
now that i don't have to live by playing piano, it has become a lot more fun. i took an entire year off in 1995 because i got sick of it.

the beauty of my situation is that i still play all over the place- in fact, i play more than i did when i was hustling my ass off for gigs.

my current money maker is of course programming applications for the web, and all i have to do is get something done on time, and i can do it anywhere i can plug my laptop in.

so for me, i've hit the best of both worlds.  money worries are still there because i spend too much time on the piano and not enough time "working", but who cares? i enjoy life.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
my life has been impacted by music since the day i was born.  as i've said before, my dad is a musician.  although not a piano player, his life is dedicated to playing music the best he can, and entertaining others.  he struggled at times, but stuck with it because he loves it.  i think most of the money in music isn't in a clube playing a gig, but in the studio laying down music on someone's track.  you get to do what you love and paid a lot more to do so.  i'm just yound, and i don't know what it's like out there, but i have wotched literally my whole life, a musician going through everything you guys have gone through.  now he gets paid $500 a day in the studio doing what he loves.  so i think if music is what you want to  do stick with it, things will eventualy look up for you.
i'm a computer science major here at the university of minnesota.  i enjoy programming - not nearly as much as i like to play guitar or piano, but i do like it.  i could tolerate it as a day job, with music on the side.  if i ever "get a chance to make it big" i would drop any job in a heartbeat to play music for a living.  however, i understand that "making it" in music is a super long shot, so i have programming to back me up. - and i actually like it, too.  i have a lot of required classes here at the u, but whenever i have a slot in my schedule (usually only one class per semester after math, computer science, and foreign language every semester), i take a music class... i've taken world music, performace guitar, music theory, etc. and i want to keep learning.  music is my side gig, though i wish i could do it all day, every day.
if you want to you can do it.  there are many ways to make money in music.  you can hardly go anywhere without hearing music; shopping, elevators, telephone hold, commercials, movies, local news, cds, industrial presentations, weddings, fashion  shows, etc...and of course teaching.  people are getting paid to provide (write, play, record) that music.  you don't have to hit the big time to survive...if you're a jazz purists, that might  narrow things a bit...it boils down to personal choices
the maximum creation of an artist is to live from his/her own art.
dear scot and the rest

i really enjoy this site cause if i have had any problem with my playing....i usually come to this site for answers. anyway i am 33yrs going on 34....working on a day job and dong ocassional gigs in the night.......but  all i wanna do is get in the music field as a full time artist... me and my wife have been saving for the last 2 yrs so that i can get in a college to do a music production course....and i am gonna do it.......i feel my chances then would be better.....with my hectic life style right now...i still manage to put in 8 hours of practice time per week....i posted a question some threads back requesting information of music production courses in the us & cananda...and i am still looking around....berklee is too expansive for me....but that's my first choice....anyway hope to do some good music some day......hope my post is not too long......

p.s. can anyone help me regarding unversities / institutes offering music production & sound engginering courses...something on the lines like the berklee program?

you could check out that music institute in la. i've heard their recording engineer certificate program is really good. i know some great players in general hvae come out of that school:

If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
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