Of the few hundred (or more?) professional musicians that I know, there's only one or two that are full-time performers. Nearly all musicians have a day job, teach, or do other music-related work. Do you like teaching, and have the patience/personality for it?I'm trying to see if I want to do music as a hobby or as a career. I did one year of music school and took a year off cause of corona and everything was online. Now I'm rethinking my career. I have a fear of making enough money to live as a pro drummer. So I'm not sure if I want to pursue this as a career. But maybe I would be willing to suffer for a music career, depending on what the lifestyle would be like.
What is it like to be a pro drummer? please, only people who are doing this professionally and are doing this full time, respond. Do you have to survive off of eating instant ramen and apples? what is all of the bad/unpleasant stuff you've had to deal with? sleeping on the floor, homelessness, etc.
This right here will probably determine if you have a long career playing drums, or not. When you're starting out, you need to take every gig you can, in order to network. Musicians don't hire other musicians out of the blue; they hire when they know you are good at playing the music that's on the gig, and it usually takes a shared previous gig for that to happen. Musical versatility is key, and a university or college music program will usually expose you to music, musicians, and playing experience that you wouldn't get otherwise.I was never into staying up all night (or was getting up early?) to transcribe and chart out songs for a band you might only do one gig with. I wanted to know there was a chance of many gigs if I was going to do that work. But real pros have no trouble doing that. So what if you're just subbing for one show one time, you put the work in.
I very quickly really grew to dislike playing music I didn't 100% enjoy, which meant I didn't pursue gigs that might have lead to better gigs. Nor did I chase gigs that might have gone somewhere. By age 25, I was sick and tired of playing Mustang Sallly 3-4 times a week, every week, and didn't want to do anything like that again. I should have kept a more open mind.
I spent too much time looking for the perfect bands to be in, and not realizing that just playing in bands is the best exposure to being in better bands.
I know a great guitar player who spent his teenage years in a wedding band, and got a Jazz Studies degree. Upon graduation, he found out what he would be making per year playing gigs, and so he turned right around and got a second degree in electrical engineering, and now works full-time in that field. He's a great player, and only takes the gigs he wants to do, when he has the time. His house is paid for, his retirement fund is doing well. He's an enviable example to follow.
There's nothing wrong with getting a music degree, and getting another degree too -- plenty of colleges have programs that won't saddle you with crazy debt. There are plenty of low-cost music colleges that have great programs.
I would NOT suggest that you pursue some other career, and forego this chance to study music in college, like I did. I've managed a mediocre career in music without it, but I'd probably be further along if I had spent my formative years learning to read charts and play a wider variety of styles. The world is littered with very successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. who can't play well enough to get a gig, but wish they could.