Drums...as a profession.

joshvibert

Senior Member
Like all of you I'm sure (after all, we're on a drum forum) I love drums. I love playing them, and I love working on them. I've lived in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area my entire life and have always dreamed of moving to Nashville and either being a studio musician or, better yet, playing/touring with a country act. I suppose I ruled myself out of that career path when I chose to go to Georgia Tech and study operations management instead of going to a music school. Don't get me wrong, I have a great job with a great company with great benefits. I love my wife and our little son, who was born last December. Still, the desire burns within. As far as playing, I play every Sunday for my home church and fill-in here and there for other churches. Once or twice a year I'll get called to play out with an artist through some friend of a friend contacts, and those usually involve a little bit of money and are fun. I did play out regularly with an original band in high school and then did some wedding gigs with a jazz combo in college.

I suppose this is really a personal struggle and question, but how does one go about becoming a "professional drummer" either in a studio capacity or live? The next question is, what about being someone's drum tech? I'm what some call a "gear queer" and enjoy working on drums as much as or more than I enjoy playing them. I read a year or so ago that Atlanta was becoming the "new Nashville" for country artists with folks like Sugarland and Zach Brown being Atlanta-based.

How does one go about getting recognized to do local live and studio work? Is it even possible to gradually break into part-time, or will I have to quit my job and move my family under a bridge for awhile?

Again, I realize we all probably have some of these desires. Maybe some success stories from those that have "made it?"
 

PDL

Senior Member
Dude it's as simple as this. The quickest way is to drop everything in your life, job, house, family etc and dedicate your life to drumming and networking. Get on tour with a band and then network and move into drum tech. Or dedicate to playing with a working band. Anything else just makes it harder, yeah maybe you can crack being a pro while you have a job, family, house, bills etc BUT it will be harder than dedicating yourself to it. Yeah people will post that they've done it while working but for every one of those post there will be 100 who had to work shit job and 100% dedication. There's no magic formula other than hardwotk and dedication and a massive slice of luck plus networking. To network you are going to have to get out there and play every night, a family and career job makes that hard. Sorry but life is about choices.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
There are numerous threads on this subject floating around here somewhere.

Here are a few:
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97225&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57059&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76950&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66693&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64970&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64772&highlight=living

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56266&highlight=living

And many more exist.

In short, it comes down who knows you. Most gigs, sessions and such come from recommendations. Most people I know who are making a living playing spent as much time, if not more, networking as they do practicing.

With a family, that's tough. I know people who are playing for a living, but they only get by because they live minimalist lifestyles, or have rich parents/spouses, or other secondary sources of income.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
This is only a personal statement looking within.... I know I enjoy the instrument way too much to make it a profession. The music I play (jazz), very few people are willing to check it out and certainly not enough to make a living at it.

Way, way, way more important than any desire to be a full-time drummer of any magnitude is the burning desire to be home with my family. If I could drum from 8-5:00 each day, then perhaps but it's not likely to ever happen. I have a personal need to be home with them nightly.

Before I got married, I did make a living at it though playing and teaching. I'd never be willing to go back. Like my Dad (who was also a drummer) used to tell me, "If you don't mind the store, someone else will do it for you".....

I'll step aside and let those that have found a way to do it chime in.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Many threads on this topic.

I know I'm repeating myself when I say that there's not a career path to being a pro musician. You can do all of the right things like networking, and practicing, and maintaining a good web presence, but in the end, it's being in the right place at the right time that will get things rolling or take one to the next level. Unfortunately, we never know where or when that is.

Also, having a day job does not interfere with pursuing music, unless we let it, I suppose.

But one thing is for sure, don't ever stop dreaming and wanting and trying, or it's guaranteed that you won't move forward.

Bermuda
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Like others said, it is possible to juggle both work and a musical career, I did it to some extent, but playing music then became more like a job that needed supplement from my day job to pay not only my living expenses, but my musical career also. To top it off, I started to lose a desire in playing music. I didn't really like traveling all day to set up, play for an hour, tear down, crash at a hotel (more expenses), in the van, or at someones house on the floor. I basically decided I enjoyed going home at night and having a normal life more than my pursuit of music. Not being in a band, I now appreciate drumming and music to its full extent again.
 
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