serious help needed with a career in music

danbo

Junior Member
this thread should be in its own section called long serious questions.general discussion just doesnt cut it.
OK.here goes.
This is a big one.

Serious answers only please :)

I thought about asking a few little questions but decided that as i've been reading these forums for quite a long while now, and I respect a lot of the thought and honesty that seems to go into your answers I thought i'd lay it all on the line.

I've been playing for 14 years and live for drumming.I teach 3 days a week, study and observe and transcribe and create ideas every day, i've written so many beats and licks down im thinking of making several books.i'm in 3 bands, and although this all sounds good, 1 band is a once a week covers band in a local boozer, 1 in an original band with my bro that gigged for 9 years locally and got /are getting nowhere slowly.1band that plays very infrequently in poland ( thhat i joined a year ago) that is basically breaking even and and "has potential".
Im making a living in the loosest sense,living at home,got beer money and saving a little, but i want to really make a serious career in drumming/music and dont know how to start.

THE PROBLEMS:
1.i'm VERY happy.i have an easy life (basically working 3 days a week)doing what i enjoy doing and can just about afford to buy and do most reasonable things i want to.im seriously lacking the inspiration to change! ( :eek:) )
1.a.i love my family and have a close circle of friends that i dont think i could move away from (from a small norhtern england village neer Sheffield to london-for example)for a career-im not really what you call a work oriented ambitious person.im a musician!! ;)

2 I live at home and have a girlfriend who wants us to live together1 big inspiration to change..I cant see me getting a mortgage with a 3 day teaching career and renting seems like money in the bin .

3 although i really do consider myself a very competent drummer, i am far from happy with my abilities, particularly i'm sloppy and not as clean as i used to be when i was drumming every day for a couple of years at college, partly to do with....

4 I dont have access to an accoustic kit.This seems ridiculous but i live in a semi detatched with angry neighbours, no garage, no local practice room for every day use, no choice.i practice on a decent electric kit but when thats ALL youve got you begin to loathe the same characterless sounds.thats not the sound that made me love drumming. i practice 3 times a week ish on the kit and im always on a practice pad.

5 I dont rellly have a fall back plan.im 26, was always going to be a mainstream teacher ,good a-levels but decided against university for a more musical life.

Heres where you come in (if you stuck with the life story)

How do I actually go about making a decent living out of music?
Id like to do studio work but know nothing and no-one to ask about it,i read music well but have never "read music" for a gig.
Id like to be in a real working band (???) but arent seeking fame and fortune particularly,maybe a little fortune.

wouldnt mind doing something prcussive but what?where?

What work is there for an accomplished (ish)drummer who is stuck in a very comfortable rut but looking for more out of life.

What drumming related jobs are there that are accessible

how do you get a gig thats a regular earner.

how did all you PRO drummers do IT?

am i already a PRO,just an unsuccessful one?

is there anything wrong with staying at home having an easy life but doing nothing of importance and contributing zilch to society/drumming?

so thats it.sort my life out for me drummerworld forumites!

cheers for any serious comments guys.

Danbo.
 

mcbike

Silver Member
It sounds like you are halfway there already. I think you are already a pro if all you do for a living is play drums.

The biggest step you can make towards your goals (pro drummer) is to start hanging out and associating with professional musicians. If you are playing in bands that aren't making money, those need to go on the back burner, and focus on gigs that pay. You need to seek out professionals in your area and ask them tons of questions, learn from them. If you are cool about it they will appreciate your genuine interest and this will help in networking.

Take a look at your goals and decide what you need to do to get there. If you want to make money as a player you need to be gigging 3-4 nights a week. If you want to make money as a teacher there is no reason you can't make enough to get bye teaching 3 days a week. Over in the states its not uncommon to charge $25 for a half hour lesson and you could easily teach 20 students (only 10 hours of teaching). that is $500 a week. if you play on top of that your making a pretty good living.

I have no experience with studio gigs, but it seems like if you want to be a studio player you pretty much have to move to a town like nashville or los angeles, and even then its a big jump to go from were you are at to a full time studio pro.

I'm not going to downplay the importance of practice, but if you are capable keeping good time and playing for the song you can have a career as a drummer. it's all the other things like musicianship, being dependable, being excited about playing, being easy to get along with, acting professional... these are the things that make the difference.

I used to play in a bunch of different bands that had "potential" and "label interest", but that really doesn't mean anything. Once you start making a living playing music those people will always remember you, and if you did your job if they ever make it they will look for you and want you back when they can afford you.

as for all your drum ideas and your book no reason you can't self-publish that book. I bet you could sell a copy to each of your students, and maybe a bunch of people here on drummerworld. that is one more potential source of income.

good luck!
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Sorry, no such thing as a free lunch. You can't have it all. Look for audition opportunities with regular touring bands. This means working away a lot and probably playing stuff you don't especially like (cruise cabaret, tribute bands, etc). Try setting up & promoting your own tribute band. Go with a major European agency if you can get a good deal. I personally hate this current tribute band trend but it's a good money earner for a good act. This is the most accessible way to earn a regular living. If you want to earn money as a studio session guy you'll need to move to London or similar large city, be the very best in your genre and expose yourself to the right social circles. That's a tough one to achieve. There's a lot of seriously good players out there. All of these options can be backed up with earnings from lessons. One thing's for sure, you need to move away from your comfort zone.
 

SharkyBait911

Senior Member
Have you ever considered going to a drummers college ?

ACM, Drumtech and places like that are great ways of getting you into the musical world of working. My drum teacher knows loads of people like you and they have got into these kind of places and they have just developed there drumming and then made it into the drumming world ! It costs a bit to go but if you think of the long term it is well worth it !

good luck !
 

Polaris

Junior Member
Also, you might want to check out

Musicians Institute in Hollywood California

Berklee college of music in boston
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Sorry to sound hard, but in order to grow and develop as a musician, you gotta get outta your parents' house and into your own place; get out of your comfort zone. It sounds like the small village you are in is limiting your progress to develop and make a living doing what you love. The bigger the environment, the more chances you will have. If you do move out and away, give it your best attempt, work hard, be professional in your attitude and everything you do music-wise. If things don't work out, can you move back home to your comfort zone? Nobody will fault you for trying your best.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
THE PROBLEMS:
1.i'm VERY happy.i have an easy life (basically working 3 days a week)doing what i enjoy doing and can just about afford to buy and do most reasonable things i want to.im seriously lacking the inspiration to change! ( :eek:) )
lol, why is this listed as a problem? o_O

1.a.i love my family and have a close circle of friends that i dont think i could move away from (from a small norhtern england village neer Sheffield to london-for example)for a career-im not really what you call a work oriented ambitious person.im a musician!! ;)

2 I live at home and have a girlfriend who wants us to live together1 big inspiration to change..I cant see me getting a mortgage with a 3 day teaching career and renting seems like money in the bin .
is there anything wrong with staying at home having an easy life but doing nothing of importance and contributing zilch to society/drumming?
Ok, this is gonna be a little harsh but I mean well... GTFO OF YOUR PARENTS HOUSE!!
you're 26 man, damn. i love my family too but i had to go when i was 18. if it wasn't for the blind leap of faith I took at 18 with nothing to my name but my band, my truck, and my girlfriend I would never have learned as much about music as I have.(of course that is because my parents were religious freaks that wouldn't let me listen to anything but jesus music. wait, i'm getting off topic here, where was i?) i definitely wouldn't be where i am today had i stayed with the folks.

moving out and getting a place with the GF does not mean you have to get a mortgage. i'll leave it as that since i don't really know your whole situation.


3 although i really do consider myself a very competent drummer, i am far from happy with my abilities, particularly i'm sloppy and not as clean as i used to be when i was drumming every day for a couple of years at college, partly to do with....

4 I dont have access to an accoustic kit.This seems ridiculous but i live in a semi detatched with angry neighbours, no garage, no local practice room for every day use, no choice.i practice on a decent electric kit but when thats ALL youve got you begin to loathe the same characterless sounds.thats not the sound that made me love drumming. i practice 3 times a week ish on the kit and im always on a practice pad.
well, that is a serious problem. however, reference the comment above, you should definitely relocate to an area better suited to accepting your 'musicianship'. lol.

How do I actually go about making a decent living out of music?
Id like to do studio work but know nothing and no-one to ask about it,i read music well but have never "read music" for a gig.
Id like to be in a real working band (???) but arent seeking fame and fortune particularly,maybe a little fortune.
like the other posters have said, look into college. maybe not the american colleges listed because you don't want to go TOO far from home. I'm sure there are a few in the UK worth looking into.

how do you get a gig thats a regular earner.
well, first off take a good hard look at the bands you are in right now. you've admitted that they are basically going nowhere. put them on the back-burner. in this case by back-burner i mean quit all of them minus the one that makes the most money for you. then look into a more serious band that wants to get out of the local scene and play bigger venues. the chances you'll be the next big thing are slim to none, but there are ALOT of bands the make a great living doing what they do and have never achieved 'mainstream' success.

am i already a PRO,just an unsuccessful one?
i'd agree that yes you are already a pro. as far as your comment about contributing zilch to society, i'd have to disagree with that because you teach 3 days a week. i'll save you the 'helping young minds grow' speech, but that is a praise-worthy contribution in itself.


the long and skinny of it is this: if you want to get out of the rut you've found yourself in, you're going to have to give up a little of your 'easy' life. noone ever accomplished a thing without a little sacrifice. whether you decide to go to school or to get in a touring band, you really need to look at options away from the small town thing. you don't HAVE to go to London or anything, but something a little bigger than where you are currently. like i tell my soldiers: 'suck it up and drive on'. yeah you're gonna have to make a sacrifice eventually, accept it and keep going, it's not gonna suck forever. with your credentials i imagine you could get offers thrown at you if you put yourself out there. at the end of the day, it's all up to you!


i really had a much better way to say that all but i got a little side tracked and lost it. please don't take me the wrong way lol, i'm not being down on you or anything, i just prefer offering a realistic view of things. hope it helps!
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Dude, I am in the same situation.
I am the same age, I have the same job (Teaching 3 days a week), play in like 3 bands that sound a lot like yours, even the weekly bar gig, and have a serious girlfriend. Most of my family and friends are here were I live.

So you know what I am doing? Moving to Hollywood in a few weeks.

Why? Because as a musician there is nothing left for me in the city I live in. ALL the touring work I do each year is with groups who are from out of town, and there is little session work here for studio drummers. So I am packing up and going were I have more options. I already joined 1 band out in LA and did a gig with them a few months ago. They asked me to stay on full time and I said yes. Now I just need to line a few more things up for myself and I'll be all good.
 

DestinationDrumming

Senior Member
Dude you've answered you own question!

You don't want to work hard, You don't want to move to where the work is, You're happy to settle for second best (the bands), You don't want to leave your secure life with Mum and Dad, You don't want to risk losing your girl, You're not honest with yourself about your practice routine (if you practice regularly on an electric kit and are always on a practice pad why are your skills not developing let alone staying still? What about renting a room/garage).

Step 1: Ask yourself: Am I ready to work 7 days a week building my career and skills
Step 2: Ask yoursefl: Am I ready to give up my cosy little life and risk having to work hard to make a success of myself
Step 3: Ask yourself: Just how much do I want this?

All the ideas in the world won't help unless you have the motivation to carry them through. So you could move to London/Hollywood/New York but what's the point if your heart isn't really in it. By uploading this post you are asking the DW community to take responsibility for your life, your career, your practice.

If you want this you can do it in Sheffield! What the heck are you doing with the other 4 days in the week? Well start promoting your bands, take on more lessons to finance the promotion, start a band night at a local boozer so you begin to make connections, work your way up to bigger venues (not sure if the Lead Mill is still there?), look for bands out of your area that are looking for a drummer and are committed to work hard (maybe some of that will rub off on you), place an add in London Gumtree, look on 'join my band' for bands in other areas (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, London, Birmingham).

Oh and one final thing......Good luck!
 

Stoney

Senior Member
Unfortunately if you want a career in anything you'll have to take some risks somewhere down the line. No more so than music. Stands to reason that if you live in an area where there's more work it will greaten your chances of finding it. ie London.
I used to live in a cosy situation in York with my girlfriend at the time. We split up because I moved to London to go to Music School. She didn't want to come with me and it was heartbreaking but something I had to do.
Not saying the streets are paved with gold or anything but there are certainly more opportunities for a musician down here..
But yes, sounds like you're going to have to make some sacrifices somewhere if you want to pursue your career futher.

Also if even if you can't play an acoustic set it's important for you to get one ready to use should a session come up.
 
Top