View Full Version : Getting into the Music Industry
01-14-2002, 09:20 AM
I'm a young lad - 17. Music's been the strongest part of my life since I can remember. I live and will probably die for music! I feel about it with this kind of passion that I can hardly contain.
All I have ever wanted to do is go into music professionally. I dont know or have any idea of who to turn to. I'm not necessarily talking about artistry... I just want to be able to devote myself entirely to music, but really dont know where to turn!
Does anybody care to act as an Agony Aunt and give me some advice? Has anyone reading this been there? Is anyone there? I live in London, England. All I want is contacts. Please - help me out!
01-14-2002, 02:18 PM
Ok hear what I have to say...
If you want to work your butt off, and you think you've got what it takes, go for it. Here's some basics (it's not a MUST have, but it helps greatly nowadays)
Unless you (or your singer, or you girlfriend who plays the bass), look like a model you'll never be in a top 40 band. Just rely on clubs, or sessions. You can make good money, but it takes dedication to your craft. You are 17, and I know you have a lot. But sometimes with years, it wears off.
You need to have good music reading skills. You'll get some last minutes contracts where you'll have to learn 15 songs for the next day. That kind of contrats are the most lucrative ones.Of course, in the studio, it's a must have.
You must be a team player. If you think about your solo and your hotel room, you won't stay long in the business. Listen to what others have to say, try to see why they tell you so. However good you are, people don't give a damn. If someone hires you, it's to make his band/record/etc. sound good. And LOTS of other guys can do that. So rely on your social skills, not on how good you can play 'eruption' single handedly.
Give your Ego some vacations. When music is a hobby, you can say 'that sucks'. When you are a pro, you need to be able to play in the style you think is so lame and poor, and better than others...
Network. Go in jams, talk around you, play, play PLAY!!! When you play with someone, think about making HIM sound good. He'll call you back, if he's a real pro.
Here's a book that has taught me a LOT
Don't forget, playing music professionally is WAY better than any other job, for us musicians. But you have to treat it as a job, and not a hobby, otherwise, you'll finally stay in a day job...
01-14-2002, 04:58 PM
Thank you so much for that Lali. So I'm guessing you're a proffesional. Seriously - if you knew the amount I envy you, you'd blush... or die...
I'm ordering that book. I'll read it - hope it gives me a few tips. As you said - "Unless you look like a model, then you wont be in the top 40..." : You'll be glad to hear, that's not my kind of thing. I play music (as I said) because I love it. Playing manufactured crap that's generally not written by myself, and lacks my own influence would be even worse than a day job for me.
I'm just getting a band together. I'm kind of running the whole show - pushing everyone else into coming and doing band practises etc. It feels good because I created it, and I can see the enjoyment everyone else get out of it. I dont know - hopefully we'll be playing gigs sooner or later.
What type of music do you play? Where are you from?
01-14-2002, 05:15 PM
I have learnt to play lots of different music. I can pretty much do 'impressions' of any major guitarist. In sessions, that's why you're asked.
I enjoy most Jazz and blues, and pingerpicked acoustic.
I work around Marseille in France, and I teach music 20 hours a week to kids from kindergarten to 5th grade. I also teach guitar 5 hours every week to my more or less 10 students (depends on the period). I have just finished orchestrating and recording a Musical, that's going to be played before summer, I hope. I'm working actually with a kid's club to write their songs. (Kids songs about the jungle book).
I'm actually creating my company to help young musicians recording their demos to go and see the majors...
You can see that being a pro musician is not only about 'playing'. I do gigs when I'm asked to, and I go around to jam and keep some connection with the local scene. Everytime I get a paycheck, I am grateful that I have earned it thanks to the music I play or teach.
It is a very rewarding experience, and I am aware that very few musicians actually live ONLY thanks to music. That's why I take it very seriously. This book I told you about will maybe sound harsh and very "dreamless", but it was written by pros for future pros. You'll see what it takes to be a full-time musician, and you'll make your decision I hope, after that. Do not try being a pro if you think you'll be a star and win lots of money, and have girls, glory... It might be, but making just a 'career' in music is a possible way to go, if you are aware of what it takes.
01-15-2002, 04:08 AM
Thanks for all your advice.
I've left school (didn't suit me, and I could't be bothered,) and am doing my own thing at the mo - practise on av. 5 hours per day etc etc. I'm actually coming to France in 3 days to work for a few months on a vineyard just south of Bordeaux. I figured that being at 17 with no qualifications as backup might be a problem, so am focusing on languages just in case - 3 months hard work, should get some French into my head! Then I'm going to head off into Salamanca, in Spain, and study some Spanish there. Still - I've got no idea how I'm going to live without my beloved guitar?!
I thought that might be a wise choice, considering that music is (as I have heard) often a very unstable profession. Yes - you are extremely lucky to have a stable life, all down to music! It sounds like you appreciate it as well!
I find I dont really have distinguished tastes in guitar music, you know. If I HAD to match myself to one type of thing I'd say Blues, but still - I play as much as I can across the spectrum from Blues to Rock to Punk to Abstract wierd stuff and effects, to Satch, etc etc... I love it all. The only thing I've never mastered of course, is Jazz. That takes real skill... years of it. Not for me just yet I'm thinking ;)
01-15-2002, 11:23 AM
I may not be the best person to give such important advice but I had to say something.
Always be on the run, going from one place to another. Get a feeling of the road and the last minute change of plan. Because once you've tasted regular pay check and 9 to 5 job, you may loose your passion for the way of life of a musician.
I had dreams of being a musician but deep down I love my stable life. I still play music 15-20 hours a week but it's not the same. I've made a choice and I'am really happy, even if I still daydream about the stage.
I guess I only wanted to say that if you have a dream, follow it to the end. I don't have any regrets in life and so should you.
Good luck and take the time to update us on your situation between two gigs.
01-15-2002, 04:34 PM
there are much more than gigging in a musician's life!!!
It's as if you said that doctors only cured the flu!
One of the book's (I've told you) good thing is to tell where music is USED, not played... There are thousands of musicians worldwide that you've never heard about, but you might own or might have heard ten discs/video games/videos/DVD/commercial/radio jingles/telephone rings/ where they play, or have written! Keep that in mind!
01-15-2002, 05:44 PM
Come on Lalimace, I didn't meant it that way.
I'm perfectly aware of other musical functions. My cousin is a great drummer but he now makes his living out of music for radio advertisment and is part time working in a studio.
Gimme more credit than that.
01-15-2002, 06:01 PM
It's only because lots of people think that musician=tour=moving from home=unstable life.
01-15-2002, 06:07 PM
01-16-2002, 04:17 AM
Think how much cash the guy who made that Nokia ringtone made ;)
Guy's you're wicked. :D
01-16-2002, 09:58 AM
In france, the guy who has written the tune to the 8 o'clock news earns 200 dollars per airing. It's aired twice a night (start and stop of the show) Every day, he has a 400 dollars cash flow. Of course, he has written other shows tunes ha might have royalties for songs, or sessions. Well, it's a lot...
01-16-2002, 11:10 AM
I think it's a good way of getting a steady income so you can work on personnal projects.
In fact it's much the same as my old job, financial consultant. You get some good clients which brings steady income and this gives you the opportunity to work on other clients. Also gives you more piece of mind and less stress.
01-20-2002, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the tip about the book, Lalli.
01-21-2002, 01:29 PM
01-28-2002, 01:19 PM
right, I'm gonna ask someone in the know... Lalimacefolle: How exactly do you go about becomming a session musicain? I'm talking from recording like jingles for local tin pot radio stations to the more major stuff...
01-28-2002, 01:40 PM
I guess I'm not a good example, but here's how my history went...
I live in a big town were there's some studios used by the local scene and more and more groups that become successful. So there has been a lot of music industry coming down here to check it out. With this buzz, some guys finally started writing singles/jingles etc. (they live in my hometown) at this time I was going around clubs just to jam and I was recording some stuff I wrote for various schools, etc. One of the guys I was working with lend a tape to one of those writers, and he liked my playing, so now I work most of the times on the sessions he is involved with. I have decent music reading skills, and I can play pretty good, but a LOT of other guys in my town could just wipe the floor with my face, but since I'm a team player, I have a good nature, they didn't look somewhere else.
Then the more you work, the more you work, sounds stupid and simple, but it's the truth... It's a LOT about networking and public relations, and you make them through sessions. If you are the new hendrix but you're an asshole you will only do one session...
Then there's the classic stuff, the guy who went to berklee/GIT/University, applied to a gig, and got it... But I'm not of that kind!!
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