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  #1  
Old 07-14-2012, 03:52 AM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Hi everyone... I'm planning on making drumming my career, and was wondering if anyone would be willing to share experiences or advice depending on what you did/ are doing with your drumming.

Last edited by lindsayannemusic; 11-30-2012 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:09 AM
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caddywumpus caddywumpus is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

2 bits of advice to start you off:

1. DIVERSIFY! Be open to as many jobs as you possibly can! Teach some, do some studio sessions, play some live gigs, tour, write a book or make a DVD, etc. Also, when it comes to drumming itself, diversifying works to your advantage as well. Learn as many styles of music as possible. Do you do anything else that people might relate to drummers? Hand drums? Percussion? Classical percussion? Do you write charts? Do you know how to run a PA? There are MANY facets to making it as a musician/drummer. Be as varied and qualified as you can be when you start getting the calls.

2. NETWORK! Get out there and meet people. I'm not talking about Facebook or e-mailing...MEET people! Let people know who you are and what you do. The more people that know you're available, the more possible calls you'll get. Also, be as courteous and as enjoyable to be around as possible...if you show up to a gig after having a bad day, and act grumpy while setting up, you just might turn off the person who hired you, and reputation spreads like wildfire. People talk. Make sure they have nothing but good things to say about you. And, to piggy-back on this thought, most times people hire you because they like you. Either they like your style, or even if you're not the best player, if you're fun to be around and dependable, you'll get the calls.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:39 AM
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con struct con struct is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

First off, you need to be a good drummer. That's the product you're selling. And when I say good I mean jumping-right-in-and-playing-astoundingly-great good.

Okay. Then, spend every minute of your waking life, when you're not playing astoundingly great, hanging around the scene you want to get into. Take any gig you can get and play astoundingly great, be a pro, and always keep your ear to the ground, meet people, go to bars and parties where producers and musicians are to be found, remember names, always be there and eventually people will start talking about you.

I can't stress enough the importance of remembering names. And you're going to need a little pad of paper to write down telephone numbers. Or maybe these days people just punch them into their phones. Either way, get phone numbers and make sure that everyone has yours.

Don't expect to sleep much. You're embarking on a lifestyle that keeps going 24 hours a day, where there's nothing else but music and the people who play it and produce it and pay you for playing it. You have to stay at it.

You're young, am I right? That's good, you're young and strong and able to get through it. But are you ready to give up comfort and routine and regular meals? Are you ready to essentially embrace chaos as a lifestyle, chaos with you in the middle working it all so can pay the rent?

If the answer is yes, then you're ready to embark upon the life of a professional musician.
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Last edited by con struct; 07-14-2012 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:54 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

yes this is what I do for a living


you must....

...be prepared for most if not all musical situations

...be prepared to sacrifice time...time with family, friends, significant others etc.

...be prepared to struggle

...be available...ALWAYS!

...be a social buttefrly....show your face at A LOT of musical events....meet anyone and everyone

...be recognizable and memorable ...trust me...it does not hurt to stand out just a little bit .

...be a positive pleasant person.....it goes a long long way

...the only thing more important than who you know...is who knows you!

have fun my friend

you are talented and will do well

stay humble and always moving forward

you are a good player who will only keep getting better

Last edited by Anthony Amodeo; 07-14-2012 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:06 AM
Drum Mum Drum Mum is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I'm not a professional drummer, so I've nothing to add to the great advice already given, but I do think that anyone who pursues such a precarious career as music also has a great deal of courage and faith in oneseIf. I saw your video and was very impressed! You showed off several styles very well, and I think you have a great deal to offer. I wish you the best of luck with your career! Full speed ahead!
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Judging from the smile on your face as you play the drums, you will do well. It's obviously a great source of pleasure for you. Don't ever lose that. That's so infectious, people will love you for that aspect alone. Just play great drums, you already have a genuine, obvious love for playing the instrument.... you're gonna knock it out of the park.

I'm skipping the questions because I believe that basically have to custom craft your own career as best you can, in a way that fits your own particular situation. You have to figure it out for yourself. How much energy you put into it is up to you. Everyone's path through the jungle to the waterfall is a little different, you have to hack your own way, no one is going to do it for you. You have great energy, so don't listen to any naysayers.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post

If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?

What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?

Did you go to school for drumming?

What was your best learning experience/did you go to school for music?
Hi Lindsay,

I'm not gonna get too deep about this because it is supposed to be different for everyone. But I recall when I was your age drumming is all I wanted to do and would do anything to be able to do it. And not to be negative about it, but alot of things have changed how I've felt about my drumming, anyway.

Yes, I went to school for music, but I also was gigging and had some jobs before I got to college, so that changed my approach in school. I've been lucky in meeting older players and having them sorta take me under their wings while I was younger, and I was at least smart enough to "shut up and learn something". You learn alot about the dynamics of people and how to get along because you are definitely trying to network and become a trusted friend so they will in turn call you when they need a drummer as opposed to calling someone else. That's just how it has worked out for me. My phone would not ring with people calling out of the blue, it rang when I made friends, that's probably the important aspect of all of this. I learned that playing on the bandstand is a relatively short time spent together as opposed to riding on the bus to the gig, or eating with these people on the road, or spending time in alot of rehearsals before going out to play. So if your people skills are negligible, that's something important.

But I don't think I played as well when my entire income was made from music. As I got older with rent to pay, and then needing health insurance so I can go to the doctor when I needed to, and then all the other insurances you need to exist - car insurance, apartment/house insurance...etc.,...I found I was getting so stressed out having to make money to keep all the fundamental needs happening that I think my playing suffered. So I pulled slightly back and slowed down playing, and managed to become something else altogether, I became an audio engineer with Disneyland and that's my full-time job. The fact that they let me do other drumming things while I have this regular job is total icing on the cake and I love it.

Now, I can actually say 'no' to gigs that don't feel right and those that do get me, they get me happy and willing to give them 100%. So I don't think being a musician affected me in a negative way - being the musician in the beginning allowed me to get into what I do today. So sometimes you gotta follow the path just to find yourself on another one, so try not to do it with blinders on. Focus on what you want, but decide for yourself what you're willing to live with. In my current gig with Disney, I get to hang out with all the 20-somethings (like when I was in their shoes) and I definitely couldn't live like that anymore - I like having my own house with a wife, cars, vacations, and semi-regular hours. I can't live on mac n cheese with four other guys in an apartment always hustling for the next gig, but some would call it paying you dues. I don't think I did that when I was 20.....
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:31 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?

For several years, music was not my main source of income, and I even maintained a separate career while recording and touring (using vacation time and leave of absence.) Let's put it this way, there's nothing like a regular paycheck. Don't be afraid to go make money to pay the rent, feed your music habit, and feed you. It's not going to detract from your musical pursuits, and actually makes playing after-hours more important and satisfying.

What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?

Understand that there's no career path for becoming a pro, except possibly becoming a teacher. You can only do so much to promote employment, and the lucky breaks come when and where they do. If you're not in the right place at the right time, you may never get a big break. But it's also possible to make a decent living doing corporate gigs, weddings, etc. You may not become a star, but that wasn't the question.

As mentioned, networking is key. It's not who you know... it's who knows you. get your name and reputation out there, but NOT until you're ready to work. Having someone hear you if you're still learning just leaves them with the impression that someday you'll be good. It does you no good now. Play with other musicians and hone your musicality skills. You can be an average drummer with great musical sensibilities, and work all the time. Don't strive to be a great drummer, strive to be a great musician. Most of the successful, visible drummers are great musicians, not necessarily great drummers.

Did you go to school for drumming? What was your best learning experience/did you go to school for music?

No school per se, just private lessons for about 5 or 6 years. Schools are fine, but a 'diploma' means little in the real world. Don't sign up thinking it's a stepping stone to a career... by itself, it's not.

Best learning experience has been keeping my ears open. I still do it. I listen to what successful drummers do, and I do that.

Bermuda
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  #9  
Old 07-14-2012, 09:42 AM
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The Black Page Dude The Black Page Dude is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Hey Lindsay!

Great solo. If you want to make a living playing music the only thing I know for sure that works is by taking the word "no" out of your vocabulary.

Rock on!
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  #10  
Old 07-14-2012, 11:29 AM
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mikeyhanson mikeyhanson is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?
I'm a career drummer. I don't do any other work outside of giving a few lessons. It wasn't always like that. I used to work as well, but then I got to a point where I was able to play to a successful level where I could tour once a year [or so] and it would be enough to pay the bills.
The road getting there was another story. I never thought success was a given, but I also had different levels of "success" that I would apply to my situations. I still think that way. It gives me goals. It's almost like a checklist for taking over the world, one little step at a time:
[in sweeping generalities that worked for me:]
good band, check
successful gigs, check
put out a record, check
tour to support that record, check
do it all over again, check check check

I have to tell you that I consider myself completely lucky. I was contacted for my current band because my old band was opening for them. It never would have happened had they not had the opportunity to see me play a month of straight shows to make that decision. A month after the tour I had the job.
I've always made myself available, and I've come to be known a bit as a replacement drummer in my little part of the world. This has it's advantages and disadvantages. I've replaced some pretty good friends. It was never a personal thing, but was always a sticky thing. So even the positives can have little negatives attached.

Positively, if it wasn't for music, I wouldn't have toured, which meant I wouldn't have met my wife. I moved all the way around the world for her. I never would have been able to do that if I didn't keep my head down and push myself to succeed. I've met a lot of people, have played some pretty great shows, and am overall very satisfied and would do it again. I ask myself a question, which may be a little weird for you to try and process, but for me, it's not. I'm almost 49.
I ask myself this, "If I knew at 15 years old what I know now about my life and how my musical path would go, would I be willing to go through it all over again?"
Yes.

There are negatives, but I don't want to frighten you my own personal negative experiences. Everybody's experiences are different. Just be prepared for negative experiences to occasionally happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?
Don't let criticism get you down. Learn from it. Be a musical sponge. Learn not only the hows, but the whys. Like Bermuda said, be a great musician, not just a great drummer. Learn why the bass player does what he does, and why that's important to you. Be the kind of person that people not only love to play with, but that tell others how much they love playing with you.
Get to know everybody and make sure they know you. Stay active. Avoid common pitfalls like putting all your eggs in one musical basket, turning down opportunities that may occur, attempting new and unusual things.
Know and understand your planned path. What I mean by that is, if you want to be a jazz drummer, know how that works. Talk to jazz drummers, learn and understand what they do to get to where they are. Find out the importance of every aspect of it. Same if you want to be a rock/country/funk/whatever contemporary drummer. If it means getting into a band, be prepared for what that may bring. Other personalities, planned paths and myriad problems can get in the way of what you're trying to accomplish. Try to have as much control of your destiny as you can. Be a force.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
Did you go to school for drumming?
I had lessons when I was very young. My divorced mom raised me on a limited salary, so lessons weren't an option until I could afford them myself, which was many years later. It didn't matter, because I was so fanatical about drumming, that I didn't stop playing. I played all day to the radio with headphones. The minute I could talk all my high school buddies into getting equipment and forming a band, I did just that.
I talked to a guy I respected one day. He said that if I can't read music I'll never find success. I was young and easily influenced, and in a bit of a panic, I sat myself down and read and read and read music until I was able to learn it. There are faster ways, but this was the dirt poor method. It worked. I bought the books. I've never been in a situation where I've been handed sheet music to read, but if I ever am, I'm ready for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
What was your best learning experience/did you go to school for music?
My best learning experiences come from the studio. I learn so much there and find that I really love it. Each time I've been I take home information. I try to get in as often as I can, even if it means doing things that are out of my comfort zone.
I didn't go to music school. I took a jazz improv class after high school that was really challenging and out of my zone. I had no plans to be a jazz drummer, but I sure wanted to know how they did it. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
I've learned that as time changes, the more and more difficult it is going to be for people to have financial success at making music. It used to be [in my case], make a record, then you have to tour to support it so it'll sell and you can make another one. Now it's different: make a cd/record/media-of-the-week, go on tour and hope that you can sell them direct at shows to recoup studio/production costs.

When I was a kid/teenager, I was that kid that was hanging out every day in the music store, looking at stuff, talking to the guys, listening to the stories. Now, places like Drummerworld are the new meeting place. I wish there was something like this earlier. There is a lot to learn here. People's experiences dictate their opinions. To be able to read, see and hear that all in one spot is pretty freakin incredible.

Don't be afraid to say hello to your heroes. That's how I met Louie Bellson at Disneyland. I got an hour of one-on-one time with the man, met him again over the years, and ultimately had a nice dinner with him one night before a show in S.F.. A dream come true and another thread entirely. I'd be willing to bet if you went to a Weird Al Yankovic show and walked up to Bermuda and said, "hi Bermuda, it's me, LindsayAnne from the Drummerworld forum," I'll bet you'd find him to be a downright pleasure to meet. How cool is that?!?! [Bermuda, I have a friend you might know, by the way, who was in a bunch of Al's older videos....Debbie, with the mohawk...small world].

....anyhow....hopefully more people will answer these questions, because I feel they're great ones, and every answer is going to be different and loaded with valuable information, as everyone's path is different.

If you'll forgive me for writing such a long response, I came down with an ear infection and had to cancel all my weekend jam session plans, so you guys get me hanging around here!! lol.
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  #11  
Old 07-14-2012, 11:57 AM
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Thaard Thaard is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

It's funny cause I recently saw an interview with the great Chris Coleman. He's one the best drummers I've ever seen and started at the age of 2 or something, and a real talent.
You would think he went straight to living off music? Nope! He had a lot of crappy work at Mickey D's and other burger-joints before he finally made his musical imprint and career.

I'm at this point working as an studio/audio-engineer/rigger, but I don't know how long it will last. The thing is that, whatever you do, if you still have the inner fire of wanting to play and make a living of it, you wont get dragged down by menial work(and you shouldn't feel down). And you get the money to buy more drums!

I'm trying to make a drumming career, but if that doesn't work, I will probably fall back on drum-teaching or sound mixing.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:26 PM
bruin21 bruin21 is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I have been playing all my life...as a very serious hobby. In order to pay for my very serious hobby, I am a PhD research scientist.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:32 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
2 bits of advice to start you off:

1. DIVERSIFY! Be open to as many jobs as you possibly can! Teach some, do some studio sessions, play some live gigs, tour, write a book or make a DVD, etc. Also, when it comes to drumming itself, diversifying works to your advantage as well. Learn as many styles of music as possible. Do you do anything else that people might relate to drummers? Hand drums? Percussion? Classical percussion? Do you write charts? Do you know how to run a PA? There are MANY facets to making it as a musician/drummer. Be as varied and qualified as you can be when you start getting the calls.

2. NETWORK! Get out there and meet people. I'm not talking about Facebook or e-mailing...MEET people! Let people know who you are and what you do. The more people that know you're available, the more possible calls you'll get. Also, be as courteous and as enjoyable to be around as possible...if you show up to a gig after having a bad day, and act grumpy while setting up, you just might turn off the person who hired you, and reputation spreads like wildfire. People talk. Make sure they have nothing but good things to say about you. And, to piggy-back on this thought, most times people hire you because they like you. Either they like your style, or even if you're not the best player, if you're fun to be around and dependable, you'll get the calls.


Thanks so much for the advice!! That was really helpful, and I agree with everything you've suggested. Thanks for taking the time to respond and share your ideas! It's interesting and very true how people really react not only to the music but also your social skills.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:33 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin21 View Post
I have been playing all my life...as a very serious hobby. In order to pay for my very serious hobby, I am a PhD research scientist.
Interesting. I also know a doctor who is a musician. Just wondering... Do you think about music in a very scientific way?
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:38 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyhanson View Post
I'm a career drummer. I don't do any other work outside of giving a few lessons. It wasn't always like that. I used to work as well, but then I got to a point where I was able to play to a successful level where I could tour once a year [or so] and it would be enough to pay the bills.
The road getting there was another story. I never thought success was a given, but I also had different levels of "success" that I would apply to my situations. I still think that way. It gives me goals. It's almost like a checklist for taking over the world, one little step at a time:
[in sweeping generalities that worked for me:]
good band, check
successful gigs, check
put out a record, check
tour to support that record, check
do it all over again, check check check

I have to tell you that I consider myself completely lucky. I was contacted for my current band because my old band was opening for them. It never would have happened had they not had the opportunity to see me play a month of straight shows to make that decision. A month after the tour I had the job.
I've always made myself available, and I've come to be known a bit as a replacement drummer in my little part of the world. This has it's advantages and disadvantages. I've replaced some pretty good friends. It was never a personal thing, but was always a sticky thing. So even the positives can have little negatives attached.

Positively, if it wasn't for music, I wouldn't have toured, which meant I wouldn't have met my wife. I moved all the way around the world for her. I never would have been able to do that if I didn't keep my head down and push myself to succeed. I've met a lot of people, have played some pretty great shows, and am overall very satisfied and would do it again. I ask myself a question, which may be a little weird for you to try and process, but for me, it's not. I'm almost 49.
I ask myself this, "If I knew at 15 years old what I know now about my life and how my musical path would go, would I be willing to go through it all over again?"
Yes.

There are negatives, but I don't want to frighten you my own personal negative experiences. Everybody's experiences are different. Just be prepared for negative experiences to occasionally happen.



Don't let criticism get you down. Learn from it. Be a musical sponge. Learn not only the hows, but the whys. Like Bermuda said, be a great musician, not just a great drummer. Learn why the bass player does what he does, and why that's important to you. Be the kind of person that people not only love to play with, but that tell others how much they love playing with you.
Get to know everybody and make sure they know you. Stay active. Avoid common pitfalls like putting all your eggs in one musical basket, turning down opportunities that may occur, attempting new and unusual things.
Know and understand your planned path. What I mean by that is, if you want to be a jazz drummer, know how that works. Talk to jazz drummers, learn and understand what they do to get to where they are. Find out the importance of every aspect of it. Same if you want to be a rock/country/funk/whatever contemporary drummer. If it means getting into a band, be prepared for what that may bring. Other personalities, planned paths and myriad problems can get in the way of what you're trying to accomplish. Try to have as much control of your destiny as you can. Be a force.



I had lessons when I was very young. My divorced mom raised me on a limited salary, so lessons weren't an option until I could afford them myself, which was many years later. It didn't matter, because I was so fanatical about drumming, that I didn't stop playing. I played all day to the radio with headphones. The minute I could talk all my high school buddies into getting equipment and forming a band, I did just that.
I talked to a guy I respected one day. He said that if I can't read music I'll never find success. I was young and easily influenced, and in a bit of a panic, I sat myself down and read and read and read music until I was able to learn it. There are faster ways, but this was the dirt poor method. It worked. I bought the books. I've never been in a situation where I've been handed sheet music to read, but if I ever am, I'm ready for it.



My best learning experiences come from the studio. I learn so much there and find that I really love it. Each time I've been I take home information. I try to get in as often as I can, even if it means doing things that are out of my comfort zone.
I didn't go to music school. I took a jazz improv class after high school that was really challenging and out of my zone. I had no plans to be a jazz drummer, but I sure wanted to know how they did it. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
I've learned that as time changes, the more and more difficult it is going to be for people to have financial success at making music. It used to be [in my case], make a record, then you have to tour to support it so it'll sell and you can make another one. Now it's different: make a cd/record/media-of-the-week, go on tour and hope that you can sell them direct at shows to recoup studio/production costs.

When I was a kid/teenager, I was that kid that was hanging out every day in the music store, looking at stuff, talking to the guys, listening to the stories. Now, places like Drummerworld are the new meeting place. I wish there was something like this earlier. There is a lot to learn here. People's experiences dictate their opinions. To be able to read, see and hear that all in one spot is pretty freakin incredible.

Don't be afraid to say hello to your heroes. That's how I met Louie Bellson at Disneyland. I got an hour of one-on-one time with the man, met him again over the years, and ultimately had a nice dinner with him one night before a show in S.F.. A dream come true and another thread entirely. I'd be willing to bet if you went to a Weird Al Yankovic show and walked up to Bermuda and said, "hi Bermuda, it's me, LindsayAnne from the Drummerworld forum," I'll bet you'd find him to be a downright pleasure to meet. How cool is that?!?! [Bermuda, I have a friend you might know, by the way, who was in a bunch of Al's older videos....Debbie, with the mohawk...small world].

....anyhow....hopefully more people will answer these questions, because I feel they're great ones, and every answer is going to be different and loaded with valuable information, as everyone's path is different.

If you'll forgive me for writing such a long response, I came down with an ear infection and had to cancel all my weekend jam session plans, so you guys get me hanging around here!! lol.
No need to apologize! I want to thank you so much for the advice!! All that you listed was really helpful, and I've read and re-read what you've suggested... How you mentioned that you should meet your heros is a great tip. I really admire certain drummers and I write to my favorites in hopes of meeting them. Some of them I do, and it's well worth it. Being a musician takes a lot of determination and you clearly agree. You really opened my eyes to the fact that drumming/music is very different in current times than it was just 20 or 30 years ago. I found everything you said helpful in my questioning, and I hope you feel better!!
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:39 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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Originally Posted by The Black Page Dude View Post
Hey Lindsay!

Great solo. If you want to make a living playing music the only thing I know for sure that works is by taking the word "no" out of your vocabulary.

Rock on!
Very true! Thanks for the help.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:40 PM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
2 bits of advice to start you off:

1. DIVERSIFY! Be open to as many jobs as you possibly can! Teach some, do some studio sessions, play some live gigs, tour, write a book or make a DVD, etc. Also, when it comes to drumming itself, diversifying works to your advantage as well. Learn as many styles of music as possible. Do you do anything else that people might relate to drummers? Hand drums? Percussion? Classical percussion? Do you write charts? Do you know how to run a PA? There are MANY facets to making it as a musician/drummer. Be as varied and qualified as you can be when you start getting the calls.

2. NETWORK! Get out there and meet people. I'm not talking about Facebook or e-mailing...MEET people! Let people know who you are and what you do. The more people that know you're available, the more possible calls you'll get. Also, be as courteous and as enjoyable to be around as possible...if you show up to a gig after having a bad day, and act grumpy while setting up, you just might turn off the person who hired you, and reputation spreads like wildfire. People talk. Make sure they have nothing but good things to say about you. And, to piggy-back on this thought, most times people hire you because they like you. Either they like your style, or even if you're not the best player, if you're fun to be around and dependable, you'll get the calls.

I've heard a lot of what you're saying many times, and the way you describe it makes it even clearer. Thanks so much for responding, and I wish you all the best!
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

If you want to make it a career I suggest you learn to become a total percussionist not just a drumset player. Do you play mallet instruments? Do you play timpani? I know several professional percussionists. None of them just play one instrument and none of them make their living playing in bars with popular bands. Become the total package, get an education, love what you do.

Good luck!!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:16 AM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Hi Lindsay,

I'm not gonna get too deep about this because it is supposed to be different for everyone. But I recall when I was your age drumming is all I wanted to do and would do anything to be able to do it. And not to be negative about it, but alot of things have changed how I've felt about my drumming, anyway.

Yes, I went to school for music, but I also was gigging and had some jobs before I got to college, so that changed my approach in school. I've been lucky in meeting older players and having them sorta take me under their wings while I was younger, and I was at least smart enough to "shut up and learn something". You learn alot about the dynamics of people and how to get along because you are definitely trying to network and become a trusted friend so they will in turn call you when they need a drummer as opposed to calling someone else. That's just how it has worked out for me. My phone would not ring with people calling out of the blue, it rang when I made friends, that's probably the important aspect of all of this. I learned that playing on the bandstand is a relatively short time spent together as opposed to riding on the bus to the gig, or eating with these people on the road, or spending time in alot of rehearsals before going out to play. So if your people skills are negligible, that's something important.

But I don't think I played as well when my entire income was made from music. As I got older with rent to pay, and then needing health insurance so I can go to the doctor when I needed to, and then all the other insurances you need to exist - car insurance, apartment/house insurance...etc.,...I found I was getting so stressed out having to make money to keep all the fundamental needs happening that I think my playing suffered. So I pulled slightly back and slowed down playing, and managed to become something else altogether, I became an audio engineer with Disneyland and that's my full-time job. The fact that they let me do other drumming things while I have this regular job is total icing on the cake and I love it.

Now, I can actually say 'no' to gigs that don't feel right and those that do get me, they get me happy and willing to give them 100%. So I don't think being a musician affected me in a negative way - being the musician in the beginning allowed me to get into what I do today. So sometimes you gotta follow the path just to find yourself on another one, so try not to do it with blinders on. Focus on what you want, but decide for yourself what you're willing to live with. In my current gig with Disney, I get to hang out with all the 20-somethings (like when I was in their shoes) and I definitely couldn't live like that anymore - I like having my own house with a wife, cars, vacations, and semi-regular hours. I can't live on mac n cheese with four other guys in an apartment always hustling for the next gig, but some would call it paying you dues. I don't think I did that when I was 20.....
Your response was one of the best pieces of feedback I've received. I want to thank you for your contributions!! I really learned a lot just by reading this, and I will take all of it into consideration while trying to figure out what to do in my drumming career.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:17 AM
lindsayannemusic lindsayannemusic is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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Judging from the smile on your face as you play the drums, you will do well. It's obviously a great source of pleasure for you. Don't ever lose that. That's so infectious, people will love you for that aspect alone. Just play great drums, you already have a genuine, obvious love for playing the instrument.... you're gonna knock it out of the park.

I'm skipping the questions because I believe that basically have to custom craft your own career as best you can, in a way that fits your own particular situation. You have to figure it out for yourself. How much energy you put into it is up to you. Everyone's path through the jungle to the waterfall is a little different, you have to hack your own way, no one is going to do it for you. You have great energy, so don't listen to any naysayers.

Your response was so kind and thoughtful. I too believe everyones situation is different, and I agree I love playing drums!
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I do have a daily job which keeps me very busy and committed.
It's my livelihood to take the bread & butter to home everyday. Playing The Drums is my core and passionate hobby, above all...Drums are truly an ode to joy for me!

...Interesting thread you brought up to surface! :)
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Great, great thread, awesome replies!!

I moved to NY on February, and I've been really lucky, somehow I'm able to pay my bills through playing and teaching. It's true that the first months were rough, but that's how it's supposed to be right?
Getting the job done, having a positive attitude and being lucky about meeting the right people and the right occasion are key factors I think.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Hi Lindsay,

There are some great responses on here that I've enjoyed reading quite a lot. You might also check out Derek Roddy's interview with Jonathan Mover in the latest "DrumHead" magazine where he tells his story of figuring out how to pursue his passions and also make a good living (Mover says some interesting things about this as well).

I'm not sure if my story would be helpful or not, but I'll give it a go anyway. ;-)

I did go to music school right after high school (though I didn't stay long enough to graduate) and I made a living from playing for several years. For me, the living wasn't great and I eventually decided to return to college and graduate school to pursue another of my passions. My experience has been similar to what Bo and Bermuda said--now that I'm not constantly hustling for gigs to pay the bills, I have the freedom to be a bit more picky, enjoy things a bit more and even play better (though the latter also comes from continual practice and listening). And in addition to a house, cars, health insurance, etc., I actually have more money for drums and cymbals. This is what's working for me but like Larry said, everyone makes it work in their own ways.

For example, my best friend who went to music school with me ended up staying and graduating and, through getting himself known before leaving (as Bermuda said, it's who knows you), had a relatively high-level gig lined up right away. Since then, his career has flourished and he enjoys the experience of making a living not only playing music but playing his music and other music that he is passionate about. So, there's another version of how this thing can work out for people.

Just remembered--you might also check out Zoro's book "The Big Gig" which is all about this very subject.

I wish you the best in your adventures! For me, shaping a life for myself that allows me to regularly engage with my passions has been extremely satisfying and I hope your journey is just as fulfilling!
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:18 PM
Talismanis Talismanis is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I'd love drumming to be my career, it's definitely a huge hobby for me. I'm young and currently unemployed, but I do a lot of school productions and odd jobs for free; very recently I did We Will Rock You (the Queen musical) and I helped my teacher do some samba drumming workshops at another school.

I don't mind doing this as I consider myself a student and it all helps me to learn not only the technical side of playing drums, but the 'lifestyle' side of getting things set up, learning how to educate others, interacting with people before/after/during a show .etc which are essential skills that any professional musician, drummer or otherwise, will find handy. Perhaps I'll want money if I ever make it professionally, haha.

I'm joining the British Army as a musician (yep, they have that in the army) at which point I'll be lucky enough to play a wide variety of music and percussion parts (orchestral, not just kit) for a regular salary and even a pension when/if I retire from the Army. I'm hoping to join a band based in London - there are around 20 bands I believe, all based in different areas of the UK, but the Guards and Household bands are based in London - because I know a lot of those people will do Army stuff in the mornings/day and then go do West End shows in the evening, which I think would be good for me. I suppose it's different for me than most as I won't have to be hunting around for gigs to pay the bills, but if I leave the Army at some point I'll want to continue drums for a living as a civilian.

So yeah, I'm an aspiring professional like yourself and I don't have the experience to really comment on it that much, but what I would say is take every opportunity you get while you're young and have the ability to do so, even if it leads to nowhere, because even if it's not a challenging or interesting part musically it will help develop your mindset to becoming a working musician.
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2012, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?

I am not a "professional" drummer......like most I have a day job....play at nights and gig when I can

What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?


Bottom line, as in anything in life.....Give it everything you have.

Did you go to school for drumming?


Yes.....5 years.....then life happened
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  #26  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

A lot of great things have already been said, so I'll keep it simple.

If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?
Playing the drums is my career. I don't have a day job or anything non-drumming related.
I play live, record and teach a few lessons on the side.
The up side is I am doing what I want for a living, down side is it's not a lot of money. I have a bare-bones kind of style of living. I haven't even owned a tv in 3 years. You have to always be working and you never know were your next paycheck will come from. I think this is the first year I have been able to take some time off here and there to vacation or visit family in many many years.

What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?
Don't get locked into just one project or band (unless the money is good and coming in on the regular). Get out there and play with as many people and in as many styles of music as you can. You never know who will call you up after a gig and ask you for another one. Happened to my just last week. I shot a music video for an R&B artist well over a year ago, almost two. Haven't talked to him much since, and just last week he called me to fill in for a gig two days ago.

Did you go to school for drumming?
No, I have been taking private lessons for about 19 years.

What was your best learning experience/did you go to school for music?
It's all good. There is no "one thing" that is better advice or a better skill than anything else. If I had to narrow it down I would say, play with a click, don't ignore your left foot or ghost notes.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

The other side of the coin - I've played for a long time and never looked like going pro, although that was my hope in my 20s.

In the end I came to realise that I don't have what it takes - I am simply not a natural drummer, or even a natural musician. I'm a bit physically unco although tons of drumming, general musical dabbling and sports over the years have improved my coordination out of sight as compared with how it was.

Also, I have always had a tendency towards momentary mental fadeouts and that's not something any person who works in "real time" can afford. I don't think I've ever performed a full song without fading out and losing a little momentum at some stage.

However, I have long been a passionate music fan and I enjoy many styles and approaches. At heart I'm an ideas person and work best when not operating in real time. I need to be able to go back and review and tweak and add. Since I prefer my music organic to digital I'd rather play flawed drums than do cool things with drum machines. So it goes.

I can see by the clip that you have "it". I hope you enjoy your gift and don't take it for granted. Always honour music and honour your gift. Not everyone has it.

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  #28  
Old 07-19-2012, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
If you do/don't live off of your drumming career, how has that affected your life in a negative/positive way?
Back in the early 80's I always wanted to have music as a career. Once I had it as a career (for about 6 years), I decided I no longer wanted to do it. I began to not have fun any longer, to make a very long story short.

Not doing it as a career now has allowed me to enjoy the freedom of playing what and when I want and with whom. I now select only a few adult students instead of worrying about building a packed schedule to bring in more money.

I decided I wanted a more stable / steadier form of work (if that's even possible in today's world) so I went to college for a degree and went to work. It has allowed me to have a modest life that I don't think music would of provided. Most importantly, it allows me to live a schedule permitting me to be with my wife and child and not running off to the next gig, rehearsal or whatever.

Music and drumming play a crucial role. It is my only hobby and it it what I am most passionate about after my family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
What is your best advice to a young drummer wanting to make drumming their career?
Not only have your musical and personal life together, but have your business life together as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
Did you go to school for drumming?
I didn't go to "school" as in a place like Berklee or MIT but I am fortunate to have the Eastman School of Music in my town which provided me years worth of music / drumming education. Additionally there are a few killer teachers outside of ESM who I've also benefited from immensely. Lastly, I'm a quick flight to Drummer's Collective so I used to use that as well a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsayannemusic View Post
What was your best learning experience/did you go to school for music?
My many years of studying with great teachers helped me to carry on learning to this day. They taught me how to learn and how to work with material which goes much, much deeper than the surface of what's written.

Playing, playing and playing more in all sorts of settings has probably been my best experience. Especially playing with people much better than myself.
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  #29  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

It was a "career" for me for a time in my life. Perhaps not a good source of income, but it was my main focus above all else, for a few periods of time, all I did. And many of "day jobs" back at the time were in drum shops, so I was always around drums.

At this point in my life, it's just a hobby.

As for how it transitioned from "career" to "hobby"
It would be easy to blame singers with alcohol and/or ego problems that ruined good situations.

It would be easy to blame assorted band members who weren't as driven that ruined good situations.

It would be easy to blame inept band managers who didn't make good decisions.

It would be easy to blame just a lack of talent on my part.

But, as I look back, I can say the main reason drumming it not my career comes to networking.
I was good as getting out there and meeting people. I was lousy at getting people to know me.

So while a lot of people knew I was a drummer, not enough knew I was the available guy who would show up on time, be prepared, with the right gear to do the gig. And when one band or musical situation would end, I didn't always have the next gigs lined up, or have all those little gigs you do that lead to the better gigs.

But it's not all bad as a hobbiest. I have a wonderful wife and two awesome kids, a nice place to live, and medical insurance, none of which I would have if I was out on the road or still slugging it out in the clubs.

EDIT: And yes, I did go to music school (PIT). It was a fun year, and I look back at it fondly. But in the real world, no one cares HOW you learned to do the gig, people only care IF you can do the gig.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:00 PM
scothut scothut is offline
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Reading all of these great posts it really makes me wish I would have taken a shot at a career in drumming. It's been a passion and love of mine most of my life though. Always just a hobby and source of satisfaction for me.
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  #31  
Old 07-21-2012, 05:14 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I do drumming as a hobby. I just like to jam and play gigs like parties. If I want to play with exceptional musicians, then I have to play exceptionally well. That's how I look at it.
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  #32  
Old 07-22-2012, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

Definitely a hobby. I play for myself in the basement. It's a small audience but one I know that will always show up :)
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  #33  
Old 07-22-2012, 01:55 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

I'm sure a huge majority of drummers on this forum would love have a career in drumming, but as it's already been stated thousands of times, most drummers never get famous.

I work a warehouse job. I make nine bucks an hour. I typically work 4-5 days a week, 8 hour shifts. Sometimes I have to work saturdays, in which case I bring home a $400 check. My wife is a pre-school teacher. We live comfortable.

I have an 18 month old daughter, and I've never spent more than a day away from my wife. I would love to be famous, but I could never leave my family behind. So maybe it's best that it just stays a dream.
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  #34  
Old 07-22-2012, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Is drumming your career, or do you have a day job and do it as a hobby?

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I'm sure a huge majority of drummers on this forum would love have a career in drumming, but as it's already been stated thousands of times, most drummers never get famous.
fame has absolutely nothing to do with drumming being someones career
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