careers in drumming

Being only 15 I still have my life ahead of me and as a drummer I would love to know what jobs are out there for our kind :)
I know you can always get gigs with band(s) but is that enough to make a living? other than drum teaching Im completely anaware of drum careers and how to get them. Can you do univercity courses dedicated to drumming and such?
Please help introduce me to the drummers lifestyle :D
 
there is alot of options.
There is places like the Drummers Collective for a university type education. Similar ones in the uk as well.
Like you said there is teaching jobs, studio/session jobs, Cruise ships jobs.
Big productions like Cirque Du Soleil or Broadway shows. Covers bands and similar things.

You can make a living off it, Most players i know teach as kind of a day job or steady income but mainly work towards tours and session jobs.

Regardless of you what choose it is tough to make a living off music but it can be don.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It's like alot of things in the arts. You have to develop a niche for yourself and fill it. Photographers are having to do this now more than ever since alot of their work doesn't really go to print anymore. The internet revolution has turned alot of things upside down. Making CDs hoping to sell has been killed by the iTunes store, but it opens alot of doors to people wishing to create music to get out there without record company support. So yes, things can be done, but you must study the market and be able to fill what that market wants. Easier said than done, though.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
For education in college I'd recommend getting a major in something more useful long term, and maybe minoring in music. There are many ways to study music and become accomplished outside of studying it in college. Plus, it seems to me that music degrees are nearly worthless as credentials to get you anywhere in the music world. You sound good or you don't, you get results teaching or you don't, having a piece of paper doesn't really get you much of any pull.
 

bigd

Silver Member
There are options out there. You need to play more then the drumset to have a chance to make a living though. Can you play mallets, timpani, snare drum, hand percussion? Making a living only playing drumset is going to be really hard. As for the uslessness of a college degree in music that's nonsense. You can't get a job teaching at a school here in the states without one. If you're going to teach why not get a degree and get a real paycheck and benefits. You also can't audition for symphonies without a degree. Good luck getting an audition for Broadway without a degree also. NYU offers a summer seminar on how to work in Broadway type settings. A degree opens up alot of doors. I graduated music school with a couple of guys who are now in the industry working for Yamaha, Warner and one is a top guy in Innovative Percussion. Sure there are a lot of people with music degrees who don't make a living but there are also a lot who have. Find a real college/university music program and look into it.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
For education in college I'd recommend getting a major in something more useful long term, and maybe minoring in music. There are many ways to study music and become accomplished outside of studying it in college. Plus, it seems to me that music degrees are nearly worthless as credentials to get you anywhere in the music world. You sound good or you don't, you get results teaching or you don't, having a piece of paper doesn't really get you much of any pull.
For the most part I agree with this. But everytime I go off on this tangent, I come across as some bitter old guy angry with the education scene, so I try not to go there. It's hard to give this advice and have someone actually listen because all their lives they've been programmed that going to school is a good thing, and here I am, presenting an alien idea to people who are not ready to make that leap of faith that there's a different way to get where you want to go. It's hard for the inexperienced.

It'd be really cool if I could gather up all those people who got music performance degrees and filed a class action lawsuit against all the Universities who sold them the piece of paper and demand their money back for not getting a job as a music performer, eh?
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
You need to play more then the drumset to have a chance to make a living though. Can you play mallets, timpani, snare drum, hand percussion? Making a living only playing drumset is going to be really hard. As for the uslessness of a college degree in music that's nonsense. You can't get a job teaching at a school here in the states without one. If you're going to teach why not get a degree and get a real paycheck and benefits.
The initial poster said "other than teaching" so my comment regards that. If you want to teach then of course a degree in the full scope of percussion is an extremely good thing to have.
 
For the most part I agree with this. But everytime I go off on this tangent, I come across as some bitter old guy angry with the education scene, so I try not to go there. It's hard to give this advice and have someone actually listen because all their lives they've been programmed that going to school is a good thing, and here I am, presenting an alien idea to people who are not ready to make that leap of faith that there's a different way to get where you want to go. It's hard for the inexperienced.

It'd be really cool if I could gather up all those people who got music performance degrees and filed a class action lawsuit against all the Universities who sold them the piece of paper and demand their money back for not getting a job as a music performer, eh?
I completely agree, having graduated college does not mean you are a good musician.
 
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vorsybl

Guest
Seems it's getting harder and harder. Check out the session drummer thread. Work is sparce for even the top level players.
I can't believe that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually when I hear a new song, there are drums in it. For there to be drums in it, there has to be a drummer playing. Also many musicians have been telling me lately that a drummer is one of the core components of the entire band, acting as a kind of metronome for the others to fall back on and as a pulse. So, if this is true then, work shouldn't be hard for a top level player that knows how to "fill in" the necessary gaps adequately as BoEnder alluded to
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I can't believe that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually when I hear a new song, there are drums in it. For there to be drums in it, there has to be a drummer playing. Also many musicians have been telling me lately that a drummer is one of the core components of the entire band, acting as a kind of metronome for the others to fall back on and as a pulse. So, if this is true then, work shouldn't be hard for a top level player that knows how to "fill in" the necessary gaps adequately as BoEnder alluded to
Computer programming can replicate about 90% of what is 'necessary' for a lot of records. Sometimes it's done so well, it can sound like a human.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
For the most part I agree with this. But everytime I go off on this tangent, I come across as some bitter old guy angry with the education scene, so I try not to go there. It's hard to give this advice and have someone actually listen because all their lives they've been programmed that going to school is a good thing, and here I am, presenting an alien idea to people who are not ready to make that leap of faith that there's a different way to get where you want to go. It's hard for the inexperienced.

It'd be really cool if I could gather up all those people who got music performance degrees and filed a class action lawsuit against all the Universities who sold them the piece of paper and demand their money back for not getting a job as a music performer, eh?
Heh...

Yeah, out of all the people I went to PIT with, I know of one person from my class who has a career as a performer. One was teaching full time on a private basis. The rest, as far as I know, all ended up with rather normal day jobs.

Anyhow, I would never tell anyone it can't be done, because I know several people who do make a full time career playing and teaching. A few looked like they were just never going to "make it" but lucked at after years and years of paying dues and landed some nice name gigs.

But to be fair, I do think it's worth mentioning that making a full time career in music is very difficult, even for very accomplished players.

The recent issue of DRUM! magazine is devoted to this fact. And even in a recent issue of Medern Drummer, Josh Freese is pretty frank that even as one of the hottest names in drumming, he's not sure about the stability of his career.

A lot of known drummers have side careers, be it owning and running a recording studio, tending bar, running a drum shop, or doing something that nothing to do with music (see Derek and his snake business).
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
But to be fair, I do think it's worth mentioning that making a full time career in music is very difficult, even for very accomplished players.

The recent issue of DRUM! magazine is devoted to this fact. And even in a recent issue of Medern Drummer, Josh Freese is pretty frank that even as one of the hottest names in drumming, he's not sure about the stability of his career.

A lot of known drummers have side careers, be it owning and running a recording studio, tending bar, running a drum shop, or doing something that nothing to do with music (see Derek and his snake business).
^^ All this. Which is why if you're going to take the long view, and frankly, the most practical view, your tuition dollars are probably going to be much better spent on your "Plan B" than on something you're going to do and acquire some expertise at anyway so you don't end up waiting tables when your Plan A falls through.

Getting a degree in something that has a paycheck at the other end will allow you to continue your musical pursuits without sacrificing everything else you may value in life (family, mortgage, vacations, etc) because you'll be too broke to afford any of it.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
^^
Getting a degree in something that has a paycheck at the other end will allow you to continue your musical pursuits without sacrificing everything else you may value in life (family, mortgage, vacations, etc) because you'll be too broke to afford any of it.
This the way to do it. It's not the only way, but it sure is more comfortable than stressing out because you don't have enough gigs.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
You also can't audition for symphonies without a degree.
A "degree" is not anywhere near to being close to what is required to even show up for an audition for a percussionist position with a symphony orchestra.

Where do you guys get this stuff?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
A "degree" is not anywhere near to being close to what is required to even show up for an audition for a percussionist position with a symphony orchestra.

Where do you guys get this stuff?
Agreed. Years ago when there was a magazine called Modern Percussionist, they did an article on Chris Lamb, who just got the job as percussionist/music librarian for the Boston Symphony (if I recall correctly). They published the list of excerpts he had to be able to play to tape so they could hear him before they asked him to come audition and it wasn't easy stuff either. The man is a master at just about everything the symphony orchestra calls for (there's only four percussionists, by the way), AND he had to be the orchestra's music librarian too (a huge administrative task having done some of that myself for Disney). So even after going through all the tapes, I think Chris said there were a number of people who got to actually audition, and in the end, they chose him.

The bigger thing I realized was, "how many orchestras actually have openings on a regular basis?" None. Alot of those guys are there for life. The Disneyland Band is like this too - somebody has to retire or die before there's a spot open, and usually the spot may never be open because there's so many people subbing already that they know who'll get the full time spot next anyway. It's tough out there, be prepared for that.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I can't believe that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but usually when I hear a new song, there are drums in it. For there to be drums in it, there has to be a drummer playing. Also many musicians have been telling me lately that a drummer is one of the core components of the entire band, acting as a kind of metronome for the others to fall back on and as a pulse. So, if this is true then, work shouldn't be hard for a top level player that knows how to "fill in" the necessary gaps adequately as BoEnder alluded to
You don't have to believe it. It's cool. I don't think you're thinking big enough though. The music industry is actually very small when you compare it to the amount of people who listen to and consume music. Think about it in these terms: you're one of the better drum players in your, say, high school or college. Now multiply that by how many schools are out there, and you'll count several thousand "better drum players" on top of the possibly hundreds of thousands mediocre ones in your school.

Count how many new songs come out on the radio in a month, maybe 10-20 songs (and maybe 18 of them are pretty forgettable). Put that ratio up against the thousands of "better drum players" alone trying to be on those songs and the odds are against you before you even get out of the starting gate. And you must realize, those people making the songs already have their favorite drummers or drum programming software, so the ratio gets even more depressing.

I'm like everyone else. I won't say it can't be done, because obviously some people are doing it. But sometimes I know I play great because my life is not dependent on how much money I make by playing. I had a different vibe when my only income was made from drumming, and alot of times I didn't enjoy what I was playing which is like a negative feedback loop on your life. You start hating alot of things and you become so jaded about the business. Once my income was made by something else, I was able to enjoy playing and was actually able to say NO to gigs I knew were not worth my time or mental health! It was definitely the better path for me, and it shows in my attitude. So much so, I was given another pro gig that could last at least three years. I just count my blessings all the time.
 
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vorsybl

Guest
You don't have to believe it. It's cool. I don't think you're thinking big enough though. The music industry is actually very small when you compare it to the amount of people who listen to and consume music. Think about it in these terms: you're one of the better drum players in your, say, high school or college. Now multiply that by how many schools are out there, and you'll count several thousand "better drum players" on top of the possibly hundreds of thousands mediocre ones in your school.

Count how many new songs come out on the radio in a month, maybe 10-20 songs (and maybe 18 of them are pretty forgettable). Put that ratio up against the thousands of "better drum players" alone trying to be on those songs and the odds are against you before you even get out of the starting gate. And you must realize, those people making the songs already have their favorite drummers or drum programming software, so the ratio gets even more depressing.

I'm like everyone else. I won't say it can't be done, because obviously some people are doing it. But sometimes I know I play great because my life is not dependent on how much money I make by playing. I had a different vibe when my only income was made from drumming, and alot of times I didn't enjoy what I was playing which is like a negative feedback loop on your life. You start hating alot of things and you become so jaded about the business. Once my income was made by something else, I was able to enjoy playing and was actually able to say NO to gigs I knew were not worth my time or mental health! It was definitely the better path for me, and it shows in my attitude. So much so, I was given another pro gig that could last at least three years. I just count my blessings all the time.
Yeah you're right dude, you do make it sound very depressing. I knew a kid I went to high school with who is now a successful actor who has met the girl from harry potter and other big name actors. The guy is 18 and has made millions of dollars in the past 4 years since high school. You're basically telling me that I'm always going to be under someone else and never successful at my trade. I'm going to have a degree in Psychology next year, but you make it sound like it's worth a piece of toilet paper to wipe it with. You're probably right, I'll probably never be able to make a living off drumming, and all this practicing and writing I'm doing and playing will never get anywhere, that it's essentially a waste of time because time is money. But you know what? It's my life, and I'll continue to waste it away trying to be a successful drummer, even in the midst of billions of drummers trying to do the same thing. Really what am I possibly going to do with a degree in psychology anyway? The future of my life depends on being good at at least one thing, otherwise I'll end up homeless You just stoke more cognizant effort into getting better, because yeah I am competing with billions of drummers, and apparently computer programs now too.

Computer programming can replicate about 90% of what is 'necessary' for a lot of records. Sometimes it's done so well, it can sound like a human.
I guess I'm going to end up homeless then, thanks for the heads up. But there is no difference between a live drum set and a stupid electronically created one
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yeah you're right dude, you do make it sound very depressing. I knew a kid I went to high school with who is now a successful actor who has met the girl from harry potter and other big name actors. The guy is 18 and has made millions of dollars in the past 4 years since high school. You're basically telling me that I'm always going to be under someone else and never successful at my trade. I'm going to have a degree in Psychology next year, but you make it sound like it's worth a piece of toilet paper to wipe it with. You're probably right, I'll probably never be able to make a living off drumming, and all this practicing and writing I'm doing and playing will never get anywhere, that it's essentially a waste of time because time is money. But you know what? It's my life, and I'll continue to waste it away trying to be a successful drummer, even in the midst of billions of drummers trying to do the same thing. Really what am I possibly going to do with a degree in psychology anyway? The future of my life depends on being good at at least one thing, otherwise I'll end up homeless You just stoke more cognizant effort into getting better, because yeah I am competing with billions of drummers, and apparently computer programs now too.



I guess I'm going to end up homeless then, thanks for the heads up. But there is no difference between a live drum set and a stupid electronically created one
Hey, don't get all "angry young man" about it. If you read the entire thread, I said it was going to sound like some alien idea compared to what you've programmed yourself to believe. You don't have to believe any of it. Just believe what you believe and go your own way. If I got a dollar for every time I heard your stereotypical response of "it's my life" and immediately getting disrespectful about what someone else is saying because you don't agree, I wouldn't have to work at all. I'm stating my opinion on what I've seen happen to me and to others. You go out there and make your own opinion and if it works, that's great, I'd still applaud your effort and congratulations will be in order. Sorry if what I said was depressing - and I never said a psychology degree was toilet paper. I think the concensus here is that a music performance degree is only as good as the player who has it.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Yeah you're right dude, you do make it sound very depressing. I knew a kid I went to high school with who is now a successful actor who has met the girl from harry potter and other big name actors. The guy is 18 and has made millions of dollars in the past 4 years since high school. You're basically telling me that I'm always going to be under someone else and never successful at my trade. I'm going to have a degree in Psychology next year, but you make it sound like it's worth a piece of toilet paper to wipe it with. You're probably right, I'll probably never be able to make a living off drumming, and all this practicing and writing I'm doing and playing will never get anywhere, that it's essentially a waste of time because time is money. But you know what? It's my life, and I'll continue to waste it away trying to be a successful drummer, even in the midst of billions of drummers trying to do the same thing. Really what am I possibly going to do with a degree in psychology anyway? The future of my life depends on being good at at least one thing, otherwise I'll end up homeless You just stoke more cognizant effort into getting better, because yeah I am competing with billions of drummers, and apparently computer programs now too.
Wow, if I'll ever going to see a psychologist about something, I hope it'll not be you, haha!!
 
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