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Being A Musician Great Hobby Lousy Career Discuss
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: making a living in jazz Reply with quote

If you have the reading/rhythm/solo chops, are drug-free, and aren't a pain in the ass--i.e., you can get along with everybody--you CAN make a living in music. I have many friends who have been doing it for years, and my son was a full-time musician for the last six years.

The catch: you have to gravitate to where the market is, both geographically, but especially in terms of musical tastes. You cannot be a full-time practitioner of seventh century pipe music in a barn in the Badlands of the Dakotas--no appreciable audience.

I live in rural America and love the jazz of the 1950s-1970s. There is _some_ audience, but I have to be VERY thoughtful and adaptable in order to gig with any frequency.

When jazz moved to the club scene in the 50s, the economics of the art form forced most musicians into other situations in order to make a living. Tremendous talents like the list you show above worked some cheesy TV show bands in order to put bread on the table. Backing up Merv Griffin was not the blast that backing up Sarah Vaughan was.

I wish I could say I have never played the "Electric Slide" in order to stay on the gigging circuit. However, the people who will politely listen to "Footprints" at a society gig will, at some point, request a clunker like that.

Just some random thoughts...
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jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 968
Location: SanAntonio , Tx

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with all you said there. I'm one of the lucky ones to have played full time for many years. I've also played the "Slide". Ha! We call it car payment music. We also figure that after playing some really sweet gigs, then you have to play a dues gig. Keeps you humble.
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