How can i be a professional musician? Am i too old to consider it? I play amateur bass guitar . I dont care what i make as long as its a consistent pay check. Ill do min wage. How do i become polished qnd get my skills up to snuff
Music is one of those careers like actors, painters, sculptors that I call "lottery jobs" since it literally is a lotto win if you can make money off of it. Additionally, scam artists abound even now (listen to "Have a cigar" by Pink Floyd for example)
I think the best way to deal with this uncertainty is to give yourself a time limit in which to prove yourself. Depending on your financial standing/backing, this time limit may be long or short, but it's important to have a limit to light a fire under your ass and make sure that you don't "fall down the rabbit hole" and wake up one day as 60 years old who's flat broke and eating cat food.
So, write it down: "In 2024 (or pick a year), I want to have been able to pay all of my bills with only music during that year. If I had to make money any other way or seek out any handouts, debt, etc., my music career will be only a hobby going forward."
Think of it this way. People really only have about 3 decades to make something of themselves (your 20s, 30s and 40s) and that is NOT a lot of time to begin and end a career. So dedicating too much of these ultra-productive years to a "lotto career" could actually destroy your financial well-being forever.
Just my 2 cents.
Not OP and I agree that it is a "lottery job" as you call it. Loads of them, mostly the creative fields but also now people who want to fight in the UFC & MMA and of course pro wrestlers for years and decades, and more recently everyone and their little brother wants to make video games or become a youtuber, etc. It's very much a feast or famine scenario where you're either the top 1% making millions or you're the bottom 99% barely scraping by.
Disagree that you you can only become a musician in your 20s and then retire by the time you're in your 40s. Some people will also take it a step beyond and say that you're fucked unless you're one of those chinese kids who's been playing the piano or violin since they were 4 years old.
>wake up one day as 60 years old who's flat broke and eating cat food The opposite isn't good either. There's loads of middle aged or somewhat elderly guys out there who are financially well off but are downright miserable because all they can do is daydream all their what-ifs and pretend in their imagination that they live an alternate universe life where they became rock stars instead of being investors or welders or whatever they became.
I'm really interested in music too, op, in fact my main instrument is bass guitar, also play guitar, but not as good as the bass. Living from the music is very hard, if you want to get paid you will have to play covers, in my opinion, covers are very boring, that's why i'm studiyng a carrer (international bussines) and keep the music as my main hobby, and eventually make an album to see what happens and if i don't succed as musician, well, at least i have a backup plan, i suggest you to have a backup plan, op
>Disagree that you you can only become a musician in your 20s
I think you may have missed my point - I never said anything about only doing it in your 20s. My main point was to limit your time exposure to the risk of the field. You can pursue these types of careers when you're any age and my advice more-or-less still applies.
Think about it like this: A lot of famous guitarists started playing in their teens, say 15 years old. They started playing in bands only a year or two later and began playing professionally about 2 years after that. It's entirely possible to do in a short amount of time IF (and this is a huge IF) you have the talent, the drive and the passion for it.
Also wanted to add: Just because I said "playing professionally" doesn't mean they could play music for a living, at least not for a while. 99% of famous musicians had day jobs to pay the bills before they became huge enough to live entirely off their music, and I'm talking about the lucky ones. So get ready to swallow your pride and get a job and get ready to have music take up all of your free time. And only if you get lucky do you get to quit your job.
As for joining an orchestra, just look for ads or ask local conservatories. I'm pretty sure you need formal training if you want to join an orchestra, though.
You didn't say how old you were, but no you're not too old to play music.
You can check local ads or whatever there's always some bands looking for a session musician. Learn to play as many styles as possible, the best way to kill your career is to stick to only one or two genres.
>orchestra Orchestra don't have bass players, they have upright bass or contrebass players but you need formal training for that
How do i get that formal training then? Some orchestras use bass guitar too. I did not start as a teen. Darn.
I have no backup plan because i cant really stand life. Theres no career hope for me
Im 21 with shitty unrelated degree
Old proverb: 'How do i make a million in the music business?' 'Start with two millions.'
Do it for fun or do something else.
But im not asking to make millions
Doesn't matter. The only way for you to get regular paychecks is to become teach playing bass guitar. Any gigs you may get to play over time are just bonuses.
I cant be a full time orchestra member? Or whatever the equivalent is of minimum wage a month
>How to get gud:
Practice regularly, practice a variety of music. Consistency is more important than bulk hours. Practice four times a week for an hour or two as opposed to once or twice a week for several hours all at once. Find people to play with.
>How to make money:
Sure fire thing is cover bands. Being in a good cover band is one of the most reliable and straight forward ways of making money as a musician. Otherwise make original music, perform locally, after a while start touring outside of where you live, promote, repeate, release music on sound cloud ect.
Some other things you could do which are a little less traditional are youtube videos and online tutorials.
Music major here, I'll throw in my two cents.
It's my understanding the most steady work in music is teaching, or some kind of studio job. Teaching at a school is a guaranteed salary. Teaching privately is fine, but the pay might not be as consistent.
I don't know much about studio work as a musician specifically, but I'd imagine it isn't super consistent and you have to be amazing at sight reading and performing. Becoming an audio engineer isn't a terrible idea though, you'd get to stay in the industry.
In terms of bands and such, you'd have to get good at networking and putting yourself and your band out there. Networking is important with any of these jobs, but I think it's more important in this. Things like cover bands and weddings bands typically are more consistent. Get good at multiple styles so that more people will be able to ask you for help in a gig. I only play one style of music right now and its really bit me in the ass because there's plenty of consistent gigs for jazz or blues in my area.
I don't know much about orchestras (I'm a classical guitar player), but I'm sure you're just paid for performances. And I'm also very sure that almost none of them do that exclusively. The few players I know from the city orchestra are music teachers at the local colleges or schools, and its probably safe to say that most of the players have day jobs.
I dont have any ability to be in a band and am not smary enough to be an audio engineer(and it isnt what i want to do)
How much do orchestra player make for performances
If you're not good enough to be in a band, you're not going to be good enough to be in an orchestra. My city's orchestra only meets up and rehearses 2-3 times then performs every few months, they don't get to meet regularly and rehearse like a band.
Did you say you play bass guitar? That's a lot harder to use in an orchestra, I can't think of any regularly performed pieces that use it. Maybe pick up the double bass and start taking lessons?
I like your spirit user. You really have your mind set on music and that determination will carry you for some time. But you have to broaden out a bit and be flexible, get all the gigs you can, even if it's something you don't initially like
Thanks. I will try to make myself more flexible and acquire skill. The reason I emphasize orchestra is because i think itd be incredible to play in a group like that. Also it seems to be the most reliable and formally recognized job for a musician , relative as that is.
Im wiling to pick up the upright. I wonder how difficult the skill transfer will be. Im not formally trained though i can read sheet music slowly and have a decent ear for music and improvisation. Im not sure how to get formal training in upright, I dont have too much money and i dont think i want to sit through a four year college again. Im determined because now that im an adult i realize this isnt a dream i can keep pushing away like i have been. Im genuinely not happy doing anything else.
Musician career is a meme
Step one is get an upright. They're pricey, so start saving. Then find a private teacher and get lessons. You're gonna have to learn to use a bow and learn things like left hand positions. If there's a community college nearby see if they have classes. It's cheaper and won't have all the obligations of a university. My local community college charges $45 per unit and there's a lot of people from the area that join ensembles simply because they enjoy it.
My community college has a stringed instrument teacher, and students start in the beginner class and maybe the beginning string orchestra, then they take private lessons at the school (which means one unit ($45) gets you a semester of lessons), and if you're good enough the teacher will let you into the community orchestra (seperate from the city orchestra, you don't get paid for this one). She also has instruments you can rent for the semester that you're in class, which would let you get started before you buy your own. So that might the easiest way for you to get into it.
Thank you. There are some cheaper used uprights i can get on craigslist so maybe i have the money now