Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

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TromboneSam
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Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by TromboneSam » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:14 am

Do you guys have day jobs that aren't musical? What made you want to/decide to get it? I realize many people say that you can't make a living playing music, but for the last two years, I've been able to get by paying the rent and feeding myself solely through music. I've been hearing a lot though about some friends making obscene amounts of money doing desk jobs during the day, and it just has me thinking.

When it comes down to brass tacks, how much money it takes to support yourself depends on how you want to live (ie. what kind of house you want to live in, car you want to drive, family/kids, how well you can suppress your trombone collecting addiction, etc.) in my humble opinion. If you like flashy things, you need to be making a lot of money. If you don't mind living more simply, then living solely from musical income seems more do-able.

What are your thoughts? Have any of you started a day job early in your career and left when your musical career became more stable?

Most importantly, do you have any advice for young musicians trying to make a living through music?
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:37 am

It depends on where you live. Large metropolitan areas tend to have more opportunities for musicians to make money making music. Still, day jobs can be a blessing. I've found in my experience that it really helps to try to find a day job that has a consistent schedule. Jobs that involve last-minute schedule changes like electricians don't mix with music well.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by sacfxdx » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:57 pm

You also need to think about retirement and healthcare. Healthcare can be very expensive and having savings to fall back on if needed can be quite comforting. I went into the IT industry 40 years ago. I played in High school and now that I will retire in a year I have been playing again. You are correct. It's all about personal preference.

I do not regret my decision. I just wish I had continued playing while working my day job the last 40 years.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 pm

Your post reads like 95% of the people on this site are full time musicians who are on the fence about making more money doing a desk job. I'd wager that your view is quite skewed.

I'd be surprised if it was even 10% who are full time musicians.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by TromboneSam » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:15 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:37 am
It depends on where you live. Large metropolitan areas tend to have more opportunities for musicians to make money making music.
I totally agree. I can't imagine Madison, Wisconsin has the same musical opportunities as NYC, or even Philly.
sacfxdx wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:57 pm
You also need to think about retirement and healthcare. Healthcare can be very expensive and having savings to fall back on if needed can be quite comforting. I went into the IT industry 40 years ago. I played in High school and now that I will retire in a year I have been playing again. You are correct. It's all about personal preference.

I do not regret my decision. I just wish I had continued playing while working my day job the last 40 years.
I agree but didn't even think about that. I suppose I'm fortunate to play with an army band in the national guard (part-time gig), so healthcare is taken care of, as well as retirement, provided I do 13 more years.
harrisonreed wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 pm
Your post reads like 95% of the people on this site are full time musicians who are on the fence about making more money doing a desk job. I'd wager that your view is quite skewed.

I'd be surprised if it was even 10% who are full time musicians.
Perhaps the writing makes it seem that way, and I'm sorry. I'm very much aware that probably most musicians have day jobs that aren't related to music. Maybe the last few questions I asked could have been phrased more like "Did your music ever get to a point where you didn't need a day job anymore to pay the bills?" and "Do you think it's possible for a young musician to make a living solely through music, why or why not?"

I'd also be curious to know what your day jobs are.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Mikebmiller » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:16 pm

harrisonreed wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 pm
Your post reads like 95% of the people on this site are full time musicians who are on the fence about making more money doing a desk job. I'd wager that your view is quite skewed.

I'd be surprised if it was even 10% who are full time musicians.
What he said. I work on computers for a living and blow a trombone for fun and occasional extra cash. A big year for me is making $3,000 playing trombone. Of course, where I live, you could play every paying trombone gig in the entire county and make under ten grand a year. I'm not counting teaching in that. Then again, if I lived in a bigger area, there would be more players fighting for the gigs, so I might not do any better.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by hyperbolica » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:49 pm

I was able to live as a musician for 4 years. I was miserable playing dreary music that had less and less value the more I played it. I think the last straw was "Eye of the Tiger" for the 50th time. I realized that I would never be able to make a living doing what I wanted to do musically. So I hopped off that train, and got on a different one. One where I could make a living doing something productive I enjoyed and still be able to play the music I wanted to play. One where I could afford to buy a trombone, a car, a house. That was one of the better decisions I've made. I love music again, and haven't played "Eye of the Tiger" since.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by BGuttman » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:51 pm

I had a friend who was a superb clarinettist and went pro. He was also pretty smart, but even though he had a lot of opportunities in New York City and played them all he didn't make as good a living as his father, who was a skilled tradesman.

I was told I had some talent as a trombone player, but I also was pretty good at Math and Science. So I became a Chemical Engineer mainly because it let me eat better. I actually put the trombone in a closet for 20 years and didn't restart until I moved to New Hampshire. Playing opportunities for amateurs in New England are more common than in New York City.

I have a book of transcriptions of JJ Johnson solos and it includes a short biography. Seems that even JJ, who was at the top of the heap in Jazz Trombone, had a day job as a Drawing Inspector at Sperry Instruments for times when the gigs dried up.

It's a hard profession to make a living at. I know too many people who went to Conservatory and wound up doing something else to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. I have great admiration for those who won the few jobs that pay a living wage as a musician.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:14 pm

For me, I am a trombonist in the US Army, but that job comes with a ton of other tasks that are not music related. That is 100% not a complaint.

Very rewarding, a lot of music, but not like a full time musician's schedule would be. One day I am working on repairing weapons, another I am training humvee driving, and another I am processing paperwork that makes the army side of things run. But every day there is music.

So it feels like ... I dunno. I don't think a lot of day job are like that. I like it though. Most musicians that are full time probably feel like they have all kinss of other jobs though.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by SaigonSlide » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:04 pm

I am a family doctor. I realized very early on in college that playing the trombone the way I wanted was not going to pay for much. Certainly not nearly enough to have a family, to travel, or to live where I wanted. Because those things were important to me (and still are), I really sacrificed my playing in order to be able to do other things. And as mentioned above, I did not want to play Eye of the Tiger. Ever.

So, after another 8 years of school, and 10 or so years of doctoring, I got back to the bone as a 44yo. Now I have a family, live abroad, work until 3:30 most days, then play as much as I can.

I don't have the musical experiences that I had when I was younger, and I'm not surrounded by many musicians. But I can play my trombone a lot, and I play what I want. I also don't have to worry about life stuff as much as I probably would if I was trying to make a living playing. Who knows...
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by ghmerrill » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:46 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:51 pm
I know too many people who went to Conservatory and wound up doing something else to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
I had a good friend in high school who played 1st trombone and was a superb performer (while I was playing saxophone and being very mediocre). He was also, even in high school, a gifted composer. I lost touch with him after high school, but recently wondered whatever happened to him, and through the magic of the web (with some effort) found some details.

Out of high school he went to Eastman and picked up a performance degree in trombone and a degree in composing. Then he went into the graduate program at Cornell to continue with composing. I think he finished a Master's degree. At roughly that point he seems to have joined a construction company in central NY and became a construction foreman/supervisor -- a position from which he ultimately retired. Through the following decades after leaving school, he continued to compose and won several distinctive awards and had some sort of international performances of several of his pieces.

I mention this because I personally never knew anyone who was more talented and more capable a musician than this guy. But he didn't make a career out of being a "professional" musician.

On the other hand I know two other people (one a percussionist and one a bassoonist) who started out in theoretical physics, bailed out with Master's degrees in that, and became professional orchestral musicians (where they are still playing -- one in NC and one in Albany, NY).

It's something of a crap shoot and can depend very much not only on your talent and commitment, but on what you really want out of life and how you want to get it.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Kingfan » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:07 pm

I made it through two quarters as a performance major and realized I didn't have the right sum of talent and desire to make it as a pro musician. I got a liberal arts degree, but got no real job offers when I graduated so spent 2 years touring with a family big band. That was going nowhere and I ended up getting into insurance loss prevention/risk managment. That gave me a good enough living to retire at 61. I never stopped playing trombone for fun, though, and figure I've been at it for 51 years now. It was a great way to get away from my day job and meet great people. On the other hand, back in high school I was in a community college jazz band with a guy who went on to Ohio State and then Eastman and has made a decent living as a player, arranger, and clinician. Ever heard of John Fedchock? All that said, if I hadn't tried music as a major, I would probably have gone through life wondering if I could have made it as full time musician.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by shider » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:12 am

Wonderful thread with interesting stories!
All of you above seem to be far ahead of me regarding life experience.. but I'd like to throw my story in too.
I'm only 25 years old, but this was my way of life so far:
After getting the highest school degree you can get in Germany i went into the metal-industry and did an apprenticeship to become an industrial mechanic. Directly after finishing that i went on to go to university and now i'm in the last few months of my studies to become a mechanical engineer.
The question if i want to become a professional musician was there at one point while i was still in school, but on one hand i was very lazy back then and didn't practice nearly enough to support that path and on the other hand I was looking at it this way: in southern Germany there is a lot of automotive companies (think Mercedes/BMW) and their suppliers, so getting a well paying job in this field is a lot easier (and more reliable) than having to leave my rural home town (which i didn't want to) to first get a degree in music and then finding an opportunity to create a living from that.
Where I live we have a the highest density of amateur musicians (organised in clubs) in all of Germany, so you have a lot of very talented guys who took the same path like me: working a well paying day job and enjoying music not as a job, but as a recreational hobby :)
The high density of really good amateurs creates a "market" that makes it even harder for professionals who want/have to earn a living wage playing music! The appreciation of their skills is not really high and most people (even the amateur musicians) cheap out when hiring a band :idk:
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by brtnats » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:28 am

I’m an elementary school music teacher with a PhD in musicology. So weird things do happen.

I love my day job, but I took it knowing that I’m not going to make as much money as other private-sector ventures I could do. Teaching is not a hard profession AFTER you’ve built the content-area skills, classroom management skills, interpersonal skills, tech skills, and curricular planning skill necessary to make it work. If I didn’t have advanced degrees I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I get to play music with kids aged 3-13 every day, and I get some dedicated practice time at work. I also get to spend a lot of thing thinking about basic musical processes, why they work or don’t work, and how I can apply that knowledge to my teaching. It’s extremely rewarding, but it took me 10 years to get to that point. I do community groups and a ska band on the side, and that keeps me pretty busy.

I think the biggest problem with playing as a career option isn’t just the lack of available jobs, but it’s the maturity necessary to make music at that high of a level, constantly, and not screwing it up. I wasn’t mature enough to do that at 22, either in my playing or my concepts. By the time a lot of players are at that point, they’d have starved to death without a non-playing job.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Mikebmiller » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:11 am

Kingfan wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:07 pm
Ever heard of John Fedchock?
Speaking of famous former colleagues, I was in college band with Kieth Lockhart for 2 years. I just remember him as a geeky looking skinny clarinet player.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Tarkus697 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:45 am

I've had a day job since I graduated college in '95. Always around software support/customer support/client relations but in across vastly different industries.

I didn't start playing trombone again regularly until I moved to Philadelphia 5 years ago, and that was at my wife's encouragement. Now, I'm coming up on 2 years playing with my wedding/events band. It puts "fun money" into my pocket (a decent amount of it) which frees up the $ from my current day job for rent/insurance/bills/savings.

I never wanted to pursue music on a full-time basis, so I'm comfy where I am with the weekend gigs and occasional subbing gigs for other projects.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:22 am

I’ve always had a day gig. I had opportunities to pursue a primarliy music-based career, but my priorities and motivation at the time led me to continue my day gig and play on the side.

About 7 years ago, I radically changed careers and became a drug and alcohol counselor. Many D&A counselors (I’m guessing 60% or more) work evenings doing intensive outpatient treatment, which is usually group therapy in the evenings, with paperwork during the late morning-late afternoons. Positions working during the day are fairly competitve within the industry. That pretty much cut me out of most musical groups right there.

A few months ago, I decided I needed to continue playing regularly and practicing regularly. I’m currently between jobs (long story), but I’m looking for jobs where I work during the day and leave my evenings free. I will probably take a cut in pay, but I’d rather be happier playing and have a little less money than have a little more more and be relatively unhappy and unfulfilled.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by JLivi » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:32 am

100% of everything I do is music. I make a decent living, but to be honest, if it wasn't for being married to someone without a day job, insurance would have killed me financially. Hopping on my wife's insurance plan was WAY cheaper than anything the marketplace could offer. With that help I've been able to max out my IRA for the last 4 years, buy a house, pay off most of my student loans (which is a killer to my generation), and recently have a child and not have any worry about finances.

To be fair, I live near Chicago so there's a lot work. Here's a list of things I do on a regular basis:

Teach private lessons at 4 different high school (25-30 students total)
Direct a developing jazz band at one of those high schools
Play in a wedding/jobbing band regularly (40-50 days/year)
Direct a college Pep Band
Free lance as a trombone player & writer/arranger

The biggest thing for me was the fact that I was able to beef up my teaching studio and play in a jobbing band regularly. Once I locked that down I was able to fill in the cracks around those 2 jobs.

And in case you cared, I received a Bachelors degree in Sound Recording and masters degree in Jazz Studies. I'm very fortunate to be in the position I'm in, but I busted my ass and lived below the poverty line from age 22-26 to get here. I try to live by the phrase, "lift as you climb" because if it wasn't for older cats helping me out I would've never climbed the mountain. Now it's my turn to try to help younger musicians.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by bimmerman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:38 am

I actually stopped playing post high school until my last year of grad school, due to burning out when younger. I was probably good enough at that time to study music in college, but I was so burnt out that I walked away from it to study engineering and dive headfirst into motorsports. I knew I was never going to be good enough to go pro or make a living at it.

Fast forward 7 years and to my penultimate year of grad school: I came to the realization that I was missing a creative outlet unrelated to my schooling, job, and technical interests (read: racecars). So, picked up my horn again, and after about a year of practicing and lessons I joined the university symphony/wind ensemble/jazz band. That was a ton of fun and felt like a nice victory lap.

Now, I work as an engineering consultant during the day, and practice when I can. Unfortunately job demands have severely hampered my ability to practice at sane hours of the evening, but I'm coping as best I can. I play to decompress from work and to engage a different part of my brain, either by myself or with community groups. That's enough for me!
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Gary » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:06 am

Professional musician all my adult life. There was a time, though, when it was financially prudent to supplement my income, but nothing approaching full-time work. Never thought about it before, but I guess I've only done that once and that was fun. I taught English in Germany. Very rewarding.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:16 am

I didn't actually answer the OP - so:

I've gone through a couple of career schedules so far.

My first was with the U.S. Army, which was a pretty great experience. I paid off my student loans and got to be stationed in Belgium for 3 years as part of my enlistment. That was a good decision, and I left after my first enlistment, having never really planned on staying in for a full 20 years.

After that, I ended up landing a gig as a controls engineer. I was a double-major music and computer science in school, and this was the first 'big' computer job I landed, which was at the time something I definitely wanted to try out. I found out that this job (and likely many other kinds of engineers that have to deal with emergencies) didn't mix well with the music career. It wasn't the content of the job at all - I did enjoy the creativity and problem solving in it a lot. But, the auto industry that I was working in (in general) has a fairly extreme work culture that expects pretty long hours and flexibility to respond to emergencies. I was one of the folks who might have to travel to a customer's factory to fix a machine when a problem popped up. I don't blame the companies I worked for at all - my managers worked with me very well to try to accommodate my musical schedule. It was just that chaotic content of the job itself and the general work culture across all companies that decided me to look in a different direction . . . so that's what I'm doing right now: looking around again. One thing that I lost while in that job was my local networking for gigs, which is something I'm concentrating on right now pretty hard. I am getting work around the Detroit area, and I don't think there's enough work to live on as a trombonist/composer, but I'm in a good position to test that theory, at least.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by dershem » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:42 am

Oh, yeah. While I was able to make a living as a musician in the 70's and late 80's (Separated by 10 years in the navy), it's very stressful unless you are at the pinnacle, and those gigs are harder to get. Touring and studio work are a very tight-knit crowd, and orchestral work even more so. Besides, it's stressful, and I want to enjoy what I play. So I gave up that life and now only make a few grand a year, but I enjoy it more.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Matt K » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:26 am

I'm a data engineer for a cancer research team. I do still teach lessons and gig pretty regularly but tech jobs in 2019 are really nice. I do a lot of work in my home office, in my pajamas. Script going to take 20 minutes to run? Great, my horn(s...) are sitting right next to my desk, 20 minute practice session!
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by sf105 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:08 am

If you throw a brick at any of the amateur orchestras in London, you'll probably hit someone in IT. I went through music college a couple of centuries ago and became very clear that I was neither in the right league nor committed enough. I followed my talents into software. Now my day job is a bit less intense than it used to be so I'm practicing and playing more, and I can afford some extra horns. Meanwhile, the 4 major London music colleges produce a batch of highly trained kids every year.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by paulyg » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:51 pm

Matt K wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:26 am
I'm a data engineer for a cancer research team. I do still teach lessons and gig pretty regularly but tech jobs in 2019 are really nice. I do a lot of work in my home office, in my pajamas. Script going to take 20 minutes to run? Great, my horn(s...) are sitting right next to my desk, 20 minute practice session!
>20 minutes to run script
:o
>data engineer
:mrgreen:

Great to see that my style of doing homework has a place in the economy!
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Mikebmiller » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:48 am

sf105 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:08 am
If you throw a brick at any of the amateur orchestras in London, you'll probably hit someone in IT.
When throwing said brick, please aim at the string section. :biggrin:
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Pre59 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:15 am

Apart from an UK army staff band contract (6 years) in my youth, and two short term part-time jobs, I've been a full time musician. (50+years.) But to do this I've had to jump through myriad hoops which includes having strong doubles; B,Gtr, D/Bass, sound recording and a little arranging, also background vocals..
In short, because the tbn can often be a "last in, first out" instrument you need to cover as many bases as possible, and be able to offer "solutions". In short be indispensable even if you're not a virtuoso performer.
Oh, and get some keyboard skills as well.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by torobone » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:35 am

Short answer: yes. I was introduced to computer science in my 3rd year of high school, which was the 2nd year that it was ever offered. I'm a 1st generation computer nerd, as other people in the field had transferred from other areas to work in IT. I also looked into geophysics as another area of study.

That said, I have played brass from age 13, and I expanded my playing through an army band,dance bands and local orchestras and studying at the local Conservatory. After completing my CS degree, I even interviewed to go into the faculty of music, but I realized that I liked computer science as much as music. Like geophysics, where I would be working in isolated places, I realized that music might be best kept as a beloved hobby. IT would better support the family I wanted to have.

Another aspect of music as a hobby is it allows me to enjoy everything I do and play. If a group or some people are not fun and the gig sucks, I'm free to play elsewhere. I have had some bad gigs and played with marginal groups, but never have I felt burned out as to take a long break from playing. I recently with a local orchestra where the people were not friendly nor were we well rehearsed for a concert; I won't go back.

A good friend stated this pretty well when he said he wants to play well enough to be welcome in any amateur setting. Like me, he is over 60 and he still takes lessons. While occasional honorariums are welcome, I don't need the money. It made me sad when a young pro on my one good paying gig ($400 for rehearsals and the gig) wanted my chair for his buddy. It was a bit of a kick, but it's sad if the work is that slow, and it is.

On another front, I subbed with a good orchestra last week. It's a high level amateur orchestra that can't seem to find regular trombones. The double bass player is a retired professional who told me an experience from a few years ago. A music studio called and offered him $200 for 2 hours to get a sample of him playing his 300 year old Italian bass. He took the gig realizing it was going to be one of his last gigs. If he didn't take the $200, somebody else would have.
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by GabeLangfur » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:12 am

When I finished grad school I wanted to stay in Boston. I had one regional orchestra contract and was starting to do freelance work, so I looked for a part-time day job. I got one in arts administration, which meant that my work was mostly task-based and I had the understanding of my boss about my need for flexibility in my schedule. It was always about half-time except for a couple of weeks a year. I won another regional orchestra job, and my freelance performing work increased more or less steadily.

Ten years later (with one brief interruption when I went back to school for a semester), I switched day jobs to working sales for the S. E. Shires company. Still about half-time most of the time, still working in music but in another capacity, still with flexibility in my schedule.

Five years later, right around when I turned 40, I was offered an teaching job in a small university music department and some touring with a brass ensemble. It became clear by looking at my calendar that it was time to step away from Shires, and I've been able to make my living from playing and teaching since then. I was very fortunate to be offered an adjunct position at Boston University, and when that got busy I gave up the other university.

I could probably have done it earlier if I had pursued teaching younger students, but I never enjoyed or felt I was well suited to that. I admire the people who are good at lighting a fire with elementary and middle school students, but I don't think I'm one of them.

I'm very grateful to the bosses at my day jobs for their flexibility and understanding; that was key to my being able to build a performing career while having the steady income of a day job.

Most of the musicians I work with have had day jobs at various points. My advice to my students is to cultivate an additional skill that you enjoy so you can have another source of income that gives you satisfaction. One of my colleagues, a fabulous trumpet player, is also a graphic designer who landed the contract doing all the print publications for the Boston Red Sox. She and her husband, a professional trombone player (who worked for several years in the MIT library system), are both very busy freelancers, her design work is done on her own schedule - no clocking in to an office - they live in a nice house in a great town, and they have three college-bound kids. She even has time to be an avid tennis player.

Higher ed administration is often a great way for musicians to have a day job. They often give good benefits even at half-time. My wife does this, and it's how we get our health insurance.
kbryson
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by kbryson » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:02 am

For health reasons I had to stop playing trombone right after completing my bachelor's in music. I had also studied music technology in school, and found a job doing music-tech kind of stuff full time. I did that for 4 years before deciding I had to try to make a go at full-time music work. It took another 3 years to get back into playing, and get my income stable enough to where I could quit the tech job.

The career I've managed to build for myself up to this point is mostly teaching private lessons, with about a third of my income coming from performing. Does that count as having a day job? I think some musicians would say so, especially with the number of students I teach! That being said San Jose has one of the most expensive home/rental markets in the country and the pay for gigs just hasn't kept up with that huge rise in cost of living out here. There are, however a lot of well educated, wealthy families here working in tech. This creates a big pool from which to draw students. I can't speak for those in S.F, Berkeley, or Oakland, but around San Jose all the musicians I know make the bulk of their money off of private lessons, or teaching music in school.

During the summer when my gig schedule picks up I will get a month or two to live off of *only* my performing, and it's super fun. Just not something I think is realistic to do all year long around here.

I still get called for the occasional contracted bit of tech work which is cool too. Always a good idea to keep your skills fresh!
imsevimse
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by imsevimse » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:36 am

Yes

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
My webbpage: https://sites.google.com/site/brazzmusic
Walleye
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Walleye » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:04 am

A very relevant question and a very interesting thread to read.

My undergraduate (UT) and masters (Yale) degrees were both in performance. Halfway thru my second year at Yale I was fortunate enough to get into the New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO). I played in several orchestras throughout the area and played in many different ensembles. I noticed after playing a couple of years in the NHSO that everyone in the orchestra, that was married, had a day job. That got me thinking about my future. I knew that if I was going to get a "day" job, that it couldn't be something repetitive like am office job. At about the same time I saw an intriguing commercial about flying for the Navy. I thought what can possibly go wrong so I took a leave of absence from the orchestra and reported to Aviation Office Candidate School.. 28 years later I retired as a Navy pilot. I wouldn't trade a minute of my Navy career, but unfortunately I didn't play at all during my time in the Navy.. Today I play purely for fun. Live for today and play as much music as you can, but plan for your future.
Jimprindle
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Re: Do/did you have a day job outside of music?

Post by Jimprindle » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:23 pm

After more than 50 years as pro musician/teacher I feel lucky to say I never had any other work. Retired now, lucky to have both an AFM pension and Soc Sec from my many years. I am not sure that is the future for younger pros than me, but I hope for that.

The only "day job" I ever had was slinging hay bales on farms. It was good work and the farmers I worked for did not mind me practicing behind the barn and driving after work to see big bands playing in the area. All that before I was 20. I feel fortunate that I could catch working life as a bass trombonist, free lance, contracted orchestras, studios, private instruction.

One thing I would advise, report all your income to IRS. Everything. My tax documents helped me buy a house, get Soc Sec, establish credit.

The other thing I would advise free lance players, pay cash for everything--cars, credit cards, house payments, all.

Except for about 10 years of mortgage payments, I have never paid interest payments to anyone in more than 50 years.
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