careers in drumming

V

vorsybl

Guest
I spend time here to learn more about drums, not win a popularity contest. Keep that in mind. Going to be logging off for another few weeks.
 

Curley

Junior Member
Bo makes some really good points! It's not about making you depressed Vorsybl but rather informing you about how hard it really is to make it and every musicians should know this! Because the truth is that the odds are really agains you, no matter how good you become.

You should take it more as motivation to practice even harder, making sure you are "out there" and make sure that every gig leads to atleast two more :)
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I spend time here to learn more about drums, not win a popularity contest. Keep that in mind. Going to be logging off for another few weeks.
And with that attitude the chances of you making a living as a session drummer are slightly below zero.Its a tuff business and in order to make a living out of it,you have to be mentally tuff also.

There are some pros on this forum trying to give you solid advice that you can coose to accept or not.Read some the other threads about making a living as a drummer.Especialy the one about Dream theaters drummer auditions.One of those guys makes more selling snakes than playing drums,and he is an amazing drummer.

It just is what it is.Not impossible,but not as easy as it looks.

Steve B
 

Otto

Platinum Member
We all know that “making it big” is a rarity making lightning strikes more common and likely to generate a lifetimes work opportunities.

I would ask a question to possibly assist you with finding your unique answer…

How do you envision a “drumming career”?

I suggest an examination of how the band “Train” or “Radiohead” go about their business if marketing an original act is what motivates you.


Many young drummers(myself included when ‘young’ was an appropriate descriptor) envision finding work playing what is ‘fulfilling’.

It turns out that, despite placating clichés, a job is a job…and few if any ‘career level’ paying drummer jobs are truly about playing what is fulfilling and are mostly about playing what is desired by the producer – with overlap between the two a possibility but wildly variable.

If you love playing what is requested…and don’t mind listening back to what you have played with a degree of despair because what the producer selected sucks in your mind, then you have a FAR better chance of making a living.(or if you turn out to have close interpretations with the purse string holder).

I suggest that those looking to make a career also assess if they are planning to have a family…family=expenses that can make living on the lower average musician wage nearly impossible…and it seems to be rare that a ‘gigging’ musician does not have a financially supportive spouse/family.

My best overall suggestion would mirror what I have read in another post…Have a money making backup…then play music as you see it…not as someone with resources sees it…and keep rights to what you produce.
 

chillyrock

Junior Member
To the OP ------ I would seriously consider taking a trade or some other kind of fall back plan. It's extremely tough out there , and getting worse. Last year I was touring with a well known Hip-Hop artist , this year I'm playing in bars on the weekend. It's nice to try to convince yourself that you can be a rock star----but reality is quite an unforgiving bitch.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Come on man, you gotta be realistic, making a living out of JUST performing is pretty much impossible, and this is coming from a music major in college. If you really want to study music, then go for it but be VERY sure that's what you really want and even then, a back up plan is essential, you need something to fall back on, especially if you're gonna have a family down the road. As for myself, I study music because I can't see myself doing anything else, so I'm going for it, I would love to perform, perform, perform but I know that the odds of that happening are extremely low, so I plan on teaching drums and music in general to get by, having a family is not in any of my plans so right now I'm just worrying about myself, even then I sometimes doubt myself because the reality looks grim, you have to be absolutely devoted to music and you have to understand what that means and what it takes.

My stepbrother has a berklee degree, after he graduated he couldn't find any work, he was back in Puerto Rico and at a point he was mowing lawns for $$$. Now it's not all bad news, after some months of struggling he found a really nice gig playing percussion in the Broadway musical "In The Heights", he got a steady paycheck for a year with stuff like food and lodging paid for and he got to tour the world with his wife. The gig ended recently and now he's back to having no job, that's the thing with the music business, there's no security. Even with a degree, sometimes it comes down to just luck.

People here aren't trying to shy you away from your dreams, they just want you to know how things are in the REAL WORLD. If you still wish to pursue music, do it man, but don't do if half-assed, either go big or go home and be prepared to experience some rough times.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The best thing is to do it for the love of doing it. Sometimes the money follows, sometimes not. Looking at things objectively, the chances of making a good living from music I'm guessing is <5%.

Not very good odds. When you add to the equation that what you love has to be combined with what you need to survive, being it's so hard financially these days, your attitude is at peril. (meaning taking playing jobs you don't like to make the bills) I want to play for love not necessity. You may be different though.

Drumming just doesn't pay good enough these days, bottom line. If it did I wouldn't be an electrician, provided I could play what I love for a great living. And the advice here would be different.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
It's nice to try to convince yourself that you can be a rock star----but reality is quite an unforgiving bitch.
True.

I've know many people who got signed to a record deal, in some cases, really huge record deals, only to have the album end up in the 99 cent bin.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I try to stay off these threads, they've been done to death and the result is ALWAYS the same. Those that have spent years going round the mountain realise that it takes a hell of a lot more than a dream (and a degree). Those who are still young and fresh can't see the voice of reason and view it as naysaying negativity.

Suffice it to say, that pretty much every "old hand' that says this:
It's nice to try to convince yourself that you can be a rock star----but reality is quite an unforgiving bitch.
Was once a keen, determined and unwaivering young bloke who thought this:
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.
Sometimes life just has to be experienced. All teenagers know that old people know nothing. Why should this be any different? All you can do is have a crack, if it pays off, more power to you. If not, I'll see you on a forum in 20 years warning youngsters to have a back up plan. ;-)
 
Last edited:

chillyrock

Junior Member
That's me..I'm an old hand....32 years old. Talk when you can wannabe. Don't pretend like you know me..or anyone else. You don't have a clue--that's fairly obvious.
 
Last edited:

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
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.
I found your post was positive and inspiring in the face of reality and your playing speaks for itself.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
That's me..I'm an old hand....32 years old. Talk when you can wannabe. Don't pretend like you know me..or anyone else. You don't have a clue--that's fairly obvious.
No idea what part of my post (that did nothing but support yours) ruffled your feathers mate. Wanna go into some detail here or are you just happy to throw cryptic darts from afar?
 

Sunshy

Junior Member
Yeah, a traditional "music degree" wouldn't be worth much if you're trying to actually drum for a living. I would work hard, get as good as you can get technically and move to a place where you can actually work as a drummer (LA, NY, Nashville, Austin?). Meet people and network, network, network. Tell everyone you know what you do and what you want to accomplish.

The problem with drumming is that you don't get any royalties from music usually. I've known plenty of bands where the singer/songwriter makes a living from music and the drummer and bassist have to work construction to make ends meet.

More and more, I see musicians who do a little of everything: Teach lessons, do session work, write music for small projects, run a small studio, etc. If you work hard, things always seem to work out somehow.

I have a composition degree and I can tell you from experience as a working composer that I've lost much if not all of my passion for music once I started working full time. Kind of ironic but, be careful what you wish for . . . :(
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Maybe a different perspective from me:
I teach drums and music theory, and I also play drums in bands and stuff.

I would like to earn more money with playing, instead of teaching, but with that being
said I love teaching, and very much like the broad field a musician can work in.

I wouldn't want to earn all my income just by gigging, plus I think the lifestyle that would
come with that wouldn't do me very good.

So I'm very happy with the partly playing partly teaching thing. I don't want to only teach,
but I don't want to only play either.
 
Well Im glad that I now how some saught of perspective of what life is going to be like and the choices I will need to make in the future. After reading all the posts/arguments I dont think I'll ever rely on drumming alopne to make a living, but, as many said as long as Im always drumming and going to weekened gigs to perform I'll be a happy man because I love drumming and I do ofcours still being young the only reosen I do it is because I find it to be the one thing in every day that I can do and enjoy with a passion.

Just one more question...
Do you HAVE to have some saught of a degree in music behind you to become a drum teahcer or can you set of your own private lessons in a room in your house? (without any legal issues)

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge! :D
 

Curley

Junior Member
Just one more question...
Do you HAVE to have some saught of a degree in music behind you to become a drum teahcer or can you set of your own private lessons in a room in your house? (without any legal issues)

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge! :D
If you wan't to get hired as a teacher at a school then I guess you sorta have to have a degree, but not for private teaching. You might want to learn a thing or two about taxes though.The IRS are a bunch of mean bastards, even here in Sweden... ;)
 

cobamnator

Senior Member
At the end of the day, you can't tell anyone what to do (I am not saying anyone here has). You have to let them see for themselves.

If music is such a huge part of your life, you hope and dream of sharing it with others, and you spend most of your time doing it, why wouldn't at least try to get a Career with it?

There was an interview I saw not too long ago, I think it might have been with James Taylor, anyway the interviewer asked something like "How do you know if playing music is a Career path to go down?" and he said something to the effect of "You will Naturally know because you couldn't stand to do otherwise."

In other words, you know what to do…

If you are dedicated, invest countless hours, have a positive attitude, constantly learning from other people, sociable, and have good connections…you might just strike gold.

However, it's tough out there, especially right now in 2011. So you just have to Practice, Practice, Practice so you can put your competition out of business and take their job! lol

Also, I would like to point out a "Career" of drumming might mean completely different thing to different people.

Might mean to make a living teaching, making money giving lessons online, get a job with a drum magazine writing a Segment every month...more realistic stuff. But if you are trying to be on your way to Rock Stardom...that's gonna be hard in this Economy. lol
 
Top