View Full Version : Session Musician
12-28-2002, 03:10 PM
I'm thinking of getting into a career in music, and I've got my sites set on being a session musician, or working in a studio at least. I've still got a few years ahead of me to decide. Anyone out there know about this career, or better yet, actually do this and can tell me a bit about it? Thanx.
12-28-2002, 05:51 PM
you have to know a lot of different styles. and a good helping of music theory couldn't hurt. overall there's probably more of a demand for a good rhythm musician rather than a lead guitarist. as for getting the job itself, i have no idea but would be interested to know.
12-28-2002, 06:28 PM
I'm working on the theory part now. And I've been told about being diverse lots of times. Thats something all of my music teachers always stressed.
12-30-2002, 04:08 PM
Besides working on your personal musical skills, if you want to succeed in your career, social skills are very important as wel, get to know the right people. Cause in a lot of case that sadly is more important today.
12-30-2002, 10:11 PM
Always be prepared by having the proper tools. Have several guitars and amps, direct boxes etc...for different types of music and carry other instruments like banjo, mandolin, bass etc... just in case they want a specific sound or another musician doesn't show up.. (if you double up on more than one instrument you get paid twice too)
You've gotta be able to take handwritten music with scribbled out changes and be able to read it cold.
You also have to have a good ear for improvising... (sometimes a part will just have a line through it that says 'guitar solo... country style'.) Be able to follow a conductor, and be willing to swallow your pride if you don't like a part but everybody else says 'that sounds great'
A lot of the business is word of mouth too so on your way up in the business, you've gotta be business savvy as well as be a salesman. Make sure you never screw anybody out of a job or act like a dick, cause fer sure the word will get around and those who've been around a few years will quickly spread the news through the grapevine. (pay your dues)
Lastly, if you don't live in a major city, ferget it.
You've gotta be right where the action is and be ready to get to the next gig day or night, or 'right now'.
12-31-2002, 10:22 AM
12-31-2002, 04:01 PM
Everything Schmange said, get to know the people who will be booking you !
12-31-2002, 04:36 PM
Awesome responses. Thanks everybody! :)
01-17-2003, 10:06 AM
that sounds like a great job. i've considered becoming a session musician as a job myself. i'd rather have my own band or play in a band myself. i'd like to do session work and i could do it if i picked up a lot more theory but i think i'd like the band setting more.
what would you do to get that job though? who would you talk to? a broad question i guess but i'm just curious.
01-17-2003, 05:01 PM
If yer patient, I'm gonna be posting some Life Saving devices for both the student and profession studio musician.
Basically gained from years of being not only a studio music but working on the other side of the console and observing the blunders that beginning studio musicians make.
Just off the top of my head....
Step #1: Lock yourself in a room for a weeek and strip your guitar down to its essentials. Find out what strings are the best for you playing style, adjust the action on your guitar to complement your style and abilities, adjust your pickups, adjust the intonation and pickups...clean it... etc etc....
Next on the list, do the same with your other equipment, your pedals, amp, cables and other equipment.
Then check the room you're playing in for ground hums, bad cables, speaker rattles or amps that make rattling noises....
ie, go nuts in a soundproof environment and make your equipment sound as good as it can get......
01-18-2003, 10:13 AM
Cool. On a rather interesting note, I learned just week that egg cartons are the cheapest way to soundproof a small room. Pretty neat.
01-18-2003, 10:19 AM
how would you soundproof it? i'm interested in doing that too.
01-18-2003, 10:21 AM
Get those bigs crates(about 1 foot square, 1 egg high :) made of the same stuff a regular egg carton is) and glue them to your walls.
01-22-2003, 07:57 AM
amen to what schmange posted. plus: be prepared to spend a stressed, not too well payed life (unless you sessionfor real great act - and even then they´ll try to pay just the minimum). You will have to play stuff that you would normally never listen to. If you say "that is crap" then the answer will be "next guitarrist please".
Plus: in a world full of synthetic music where allmost everything is put together by pre-recorded loops and licks it is pretty hard to get into it and make a living out of it. it is possible, but very hard.
You have to be a businessmen and you have to sell yourself (same thing goes if you have a band and want to be successfull). The sad thing about this is, that most studio stuff that will get you some money is basically crappy music - i know alot of studiomusicians that are not happy about their job - and it is a job - nothing more, nothing less.
I work in studios too, but just for the fun of it and where i can decide what to play. i will build up my living on teaching guitar and maybe a rock-coverband for bikermeetings - but not on studio jobs. Sorry if this is not too encouraging.
Or you have good connections and someone will get you into that scene. Else be prepared for a long, stony way.
[Edited by Azrael on 01-22-2003 at 08:02 AM]
01-22-2003, 05:12 PM
Dont worry, I'm hard to discourage. I'm very intent on at least trying this career. At the very least, its an experience, ya know?
How about producing or engineering music? Always looked and sounded cool to me, but have any of you done this sort of thing, mixing music and stuff?
01-22-2003, 06:27 PM
If you can put up with really amateur teenage musicians wanting to stay up all night, drink beer and play everything really loud...
If you can handle weeks at a time without any sunlight...
If you can take hearing the same piece of crappy music so many times your ears want to bleed...
...then yeah, it's a perfect career choice.
01-22-2003, 06:40 PM
I dont understand how that differs from what I'm already doing.
Just kidding, except for the loud part.
01-24-2003, 08:09 AM
Josh man, I thnk you're about 16, right? Well im 15 and am trying to do almost the exact same thing as you, trying to get into the music buisness SOMEHOW, doing engineering, session work, teaching, anything!
And im gonna outline another point that people 'in the buisness' have told me, and that is that for session work, it is generally WHO you know, which is extremely lame, but the harsh reality.
Ive decided to do education in Music Technology, and then go from there into the wide world of music, gonna do an A level soon in it, and then hopefully a degree, which might eventually set me up with people and get a hell of a lot of experience.
To pass the time now, Im trying to get to know as many people as possible, im doing this through my teacher, as hes being kind enough to take me up to the studio he works at, and letting me see and meet people, and maybe play as well :)
Just wanna say to you man, dont give up with it, because im not gonna ;)
01-24-2003, 10:25 AM
Awesome! To our success!
Thanks to our music program at school, I do know/know of one or two promoters and artists around Sudbury (where I live) that I could qualify as a good connection. I think I'll continue my search for people who are good to know.
01-03-2004, 12:38 AM
Heres what a buddy of my brothers who did session work in the 70's told me this last monday...he said to keep your mouth shut and play what they want you to play cause you arnt doing your thing you are following their vision. He said to be a good guy, AND that there was another guitarist who was the number one guy there but he was a jerk and complaing and they told him to beat it and told my bros friend hes the new guy.
01-03-2004, 01:00 AM
... and another one bites the dust ...
01-03-2004, 12:07 PM
If I cant get a decent income from a band,them I'm gonna be a bartender.Well I'll still have bands and stuff,but mixing drinks and talking to chiks will be my day job.
Ive come to the conclusion the I'm too lazy to learn anything worthwhile like engineering,since I suck at math and would find no pleasure sitting in a corner soldering circuit boards or tapping away html and java for a living.
01-30-2004, 05:45 PM
just thought id jump in here and say hello since this is my first post...my name is paul and i live in malibu calif...im a guitarist...peace...PJS
02-08-2004, 11:46 AM
Paul, i want to move in with you, lol.
I have always wanted to live in Malibu. I plan on moving to CA at some point.
Welcome to the board :)
02-08-2004, 11:55 AM
I was a scence musician for bands at clubs when i was younger. Only did it a coupel times though, i was still in school at the time. I would skip school do do this,lol.
If someone in their band didnt show up, i would step in. It helped alot with my music reading, and my social skills. As far as getting along with people, and taking directions. it gave me some experince as well.
02-09-2004, 11:22 PM
Is it possible to be a part-time studio musician for the fun and experience?
02-10-2004, 05:04 AM
depends on your connections. if the owner or the producer is a friend of yours that might work. he might let you in for a few sessions just to give it a try. i love studiowork, because i learn soo much when i do it. its perfect ear training since i dont give a damn about the harmonic structre of the song i gotta record. i listen to it once and then two or 3 takes - thats it. best stuff cut together and its done.
02-13-2004, 05:19 PM
This is cool. The more I find out about this, the more I'm looking at doing it just to comtinue learning about music, rather than doing it as "the musical career" or whatever. In any case, it still sounds like fun.
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