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What Do Musicians do When they Get Older?

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It's because women are smarter than men. They bail on the idea of "music career" much earlier than we do.

 

 

LOLOL!!! I do know a few that are still in though!

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I am 44 years old ..I have 5 children 3 with my current wife and twin 17 year old girls who's birthday is today with my first wife..

I live on the road for weeks at a time during our season from April to November.Then during winter months i take on students do any every studio gig i can find..I make a fair living but nothing to brag about..Most 26 year olds in middle management 5 years after college make what i make..

Last year i came real close to throwing in the towel and calling it quits and taking a management job at guitar center not because i know a damn thing about management but because i'm a known name in the local music industry and can bring in people.

I do not have any hopes to be signed..The best i can hope for is a Casino contract which we have a limited contract for a set amount of shows but i'm talking as a house band where i'm basically a employee of a Casino chain..

My wife works but does not have what you would call a stellar career.

We do have a small savings account and i have a side hobby business but i also have major concerns about the future and what is going to happen ..I have paid into Social Security through the Musicians union but other than that i got nothing and we all know social security isn't enough..

This fall i plan on going back to school for general education classes till i decide what it is i'm wanting to do..I have been giving serious thought to the IT feild before i end up a greeter at Wal Mart..

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Invader, did anyone ever tell you you have a passing resemblance to sventvkg? (check thsoe avatars!) :eek:

At 44, yeah, it may be time to look at other options...especially with twins at college age.

I think you have better options than most musicians at your stage of life: a manager gig with GC isn't a bad idea, and if you can do that and get a Casino contract...that ain't bad at all in the great scheme of things when you think about it. :thu:

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Invader, did anyone ever tell you you have a passing resemblance to sventvkg? (check thsoe avatars!)
:eek:
At 44, yeah, it may be time to look at other options...especially with twins at college age.

I think you have better options than most musicians at your stage of life: a manager gig with GC isn't a bad idea, and if you can do that
and
get a Casino contract...that ain't bad at all in the great scheme of things when you think about it.
:thu:

 

We are Brothers in music!

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I started playing at 14 and my parents supported me 150%. By the time I was ready to graduate from high school, my Dad advised me to go on to school. He said "After you get your degree, you'll have something to fall back on if your music doesn't pan out." A wise man indeed. I'm 58, still playing Rock, have a day job that I love, a home and a family. Quit playing music? No reason to. I'll be buried with my fingers wrapped around my PRS and my SG at my side!

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I started playing at 14 and my parents supported me 150%. By the time I was ready to graduate from high school, my Dad advised me to go on to school. He said "After you get your degree, you'll have something to fall back on if your music doesn't pan out." A wise man indeed. I'm 58, still playing Rock, have a day job that I love, a home and a family. Quit playing music? No reason to. I'll be buried with my fingers wrapped around my PRS and my SG at my side!

 

LOL! My dad said about the same thing. My mom used to say "You'll need money to support your HABIT." She was right - I'm definitely addicted.

 

Which PRS do you own? I came close to buying one once but they charge a premium for them and I couldn't afford the one I wanted. They are fantastic guitars, though.

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I wanted to post this article when the thread first came out but I couldn't find it until now. It's mainly directed at folks deciding what direction to go in or confronting career challenges - a sort of "Here's what you're getting into" combined with a dose of career advice. It has the ring of experienced truth to me, and touches on some important things that were talked about in this thread.

 

How To Make A Living Playing Music

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I wanted to post this article when the thread first came out but I couldn't find it until now. It's mainly directed at folks deciding what direction to go in or confronting career challenges - a sort of "Here's what you're getting into" combined with a dose of career advice. It has the ring of experienced truth to me, and touches on some important things that were talked about in this thread.


How To Make A Living Playing Music

 

I've linked that article on this forum several times. It's a good read but doesn't address what this thread is about. The future after your peak years when things slow down.

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I didn't know you'd linked it - I guess because I'm newer here.

 

I know that you're the OP and I'm sorry you think it missed the point entirely. I posted it anyway because Barnes' advice about saving, frugality, maintaining health insurance, keeping an inner directed self image, etc can have an impact on what musicians do when they get older, how they deal with it, and how they feel about it. Also, some younger folks will read this thread too, and they can take his advice to help themselves decide either to get off the bus or to start preparing early if they stay on.

 

Maybe I'm crazy, eh? Keep in mind that I don't mean to be rude or anything, and I know I'm not in the exactly the same boat either, having had a dependable, if exasperating, day job for 35 years. FWIW, even people with 401Ks have to reinvent their finances and self images as they get older older, perhaps poorer, and definitely less job marketable. I think Barnes' advice is excellent wisdom for all of us. I wish I had more of it LOL.

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I didn't know you'd linked it - I guess because I'm newer here.


I know that you're the OP and I'm sorry you think it missed the point entirely. I posted it anyway because Barnes' advice about saving, frugality, maintaining health insurance, keeping an inner directed self image, etc can have an impact on what musicians do when they get older, how they deal with it, and how they feel about it. Also, some younger folks will read this thread too, and they can take his advice to help themselves decide either to get off the bus or to start preparing early if they stay on.


Maybe I'm crazy, eh? Keep in mind that I don't mean to be rude or anything, and I know I'm not in the exactly the same boat either, having had a dependable, if exasperating, day job for 35 years. FWIW, even people with 401Ks have to reinvent their finances and self images as they get older older, perhaps poorer, and definitely less job marketable. I think Barnes' advice is excellent wisdom for all of us. I wish I had more of it LOL.

 

No you're not crazy at all man! That's one of the greatest articles I have read on this subject in 20 years. I just meant ya know, when you get really old but you can extrapolate Danny's idea's to help with aging musicians for sure! Thanks for linking it again and maybe some newer people will get some cool perspective. :thu:

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Since I'm not a full-time musician (I have a business in the engineering design sector) and am only 29 I couldn't accurately answer the OP's question. But it got me to thinking of my favorite musician - Robert Fripp. I've been hoping for another proper King Crimson album since The Power To Believe, but alas - I'm not sure if Mr. Fripp's heart is still in recording (which he hates, so I've heard) and touring (with the increasing physical toll its taking on him). If I had to guess, I think he'll probably still run DGM and continue on with his school of guitar craft. He played a solo soundscapes show here in SC in 2006 that I missed. I fear that I've lost me last chance to see the legend in person.

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Hmmm....some of us do it for different reasons. For us it might read:

 

HE WAS A GOOD MAN

 

HE WORKED DAY AND NIGHT

 

AND HE PLAYED A BUNCH OF REALLY AMAZING MUSIC

 

THAT NO ONE GAVE A {censored} ABOUT

 

AND NOW HE'S DEAD/

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HE WAS A GOOD MAN

 

HE WORKED DAY AND NIGHT

 

GUESS WHEN THEY SAID

 

PLAY IN THE LIGHTNING YOU'LL BE DEAD

 

WELL IT LOOKS LIKE THEY WERE RIGHT

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Hi, everyone. I realize I'm extremely late to this thread, but I thought I would enter with some thoughts, as I constantly consider the topic at hand.

 

Since beginning my "music career" in bands throughout high school, all I've wanted was to "make it." Despite the dream, I went to college and earned a degree in a field that I thought would lend a hand in the real world as well as a life in music (Communication Studies). I figured I'd land a day job in marketing, advertising, sales, human resources... anything that would allow me to make and invest the type of money that it takes to give music a real go.

 

Since graduating in 2008, I've yet to land a job that pays over $10/hr. I work in a warehouse dealing with shipping/receiving and, even worse, I've been told I only have until April 1st in my current gig. Fortunately, I've got another $10/hr job lined up, so I won't be jobless, but this certainly wasn't the plan I had intended for myself. Because of the bad luck when it comes to finding good work, I've even begun taking a CNA training course that will allow me to enter the medical field as a nurses aid. It's still low paying, but it might open doors into a field that seems to be staying afloat in this rough economy. More optimistically, I might be able to land a job at a hospital that offers tuition reimbursement as a benefit to employees looking to obtain an education in clinically related fields.

 

The only good news to come since graduating, truthfully, has been my wife, whom I met in school and just recently married. She, thank God, has a decent job (also in the medical field). She, like myself, took out loans to get through school. Because of my job situation and the huge amount of debt we're in, we struggle to make it every month. For her, though, I suppose its worth it to have spent all that money on school. After all, she did find a job in the field she wanted and she seems happy. Me, on the other hand, I live a pretty bitter life. I feel like I did everything "right," but nothing has turned out the way it should have.

 

If you ask me, school was my mistake. Truthfully, I never had an intention to go to college. But for my parents, and for the possibility that the music thing didn't work, it seemed the right move. Back then, though, I didn't understand what the overwhelming cost of my loans would mean. If I had it to do again, I would have stayed away from college. In my current situation, I'd be better off, as I wouldn't be obligated to hand over $700/month to pay for a degree that has had zero value in terms of finding work.

 

Nevertheless, I often talk to my wife about the possibility of making a living playing music. I barely make anything now, so there's a good chance it's possible to make more than I do currently. The big fear, though, is the investment. The money it would take to get serious is significant.

 

Moreover, I consider a career in music daily: every day in the car as I write lyrics and record them on my iPhone, every day at my crap-job and every day when I leave my crap-job (after nine hours of warehousing) to attend my CNA course until 10pm. My "dream" of playing music seems more like a realistic possibility every single time I think about it. After all, I'm already broke. Maybe with music, I'd at least be happy.

 

Still... there's always that voice in the back of my head, saying... "Be realistic. You want a career that offers a steady paycheck, retirement, insurance, etc." And, in reality, that voice is right... only, that voice has already screwed me once before and, as a result, I'm strapped with mile-high student loan payments and no job to show for it.

 

I apologize for being long-winded. I suppose my point was to say that this topic is one that keeps me from jumping head-first into the dream. I don't doubt my talents or abilities. Nor do I doubt my ability to market and run the business side of what would certainly be treated as a business. I do question the longevity of the career choice, however.

 

Whether anyone reads this whole thing or not, I appreciate being able to vent. Writing can be therapeutic... which is why I write so much music, I suppose.

 

Good thread, btw.

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Hi, everyone. I realize I'm extremely late to this thread, but I thought I would enter with some thoughts, as I constantly consider the topic at hand.


Since beginning my "music career" in bands throughout high school, all I've wanted was to "make it." Despite the dream, I went to college and earned a degree in a field that I thought would lend a hand in the real world as well as a life in music (Communication Studies). I figured I'd land a day job in marketing, advertising, sales, human resources... anything that would allow me to make and invest the type of money that it takes to give music a
real
go.


Since graduating in 2008, I've yet to land a job that pays over $10/hr. I work in a warehouse dealing with shipping/receiving and, even worse, I've been told I only have until April 1st in my current gig. Fortunately, I've got another $10/hr job lined up, so I won't be jobless, but
this
certainly wasn't the plan I had intended for myself. Because of the bad luck when it comes to finding
good
work, I've even begun taking a CNA training course that will allow me to enter the medical field as a nurses aid. It's still low paying, but it might open doors into a field that seems to be staying afloat in this rough economy. More optimistically, I might be able to land a job at a hospital that offers tuition reimbursement as a benefit to employees looking to obtain an education in clinically related fields.


The only good news to come since graduating, truthfully, has been my wife, whom I met in school and just recently married. She, thank God, has a decent job (also in the medical field). She, like myself, took out loans to get through school. Because of my job situation and the huge amount of debt we're in, we struggle to make it every month. For her, though, I suppose its worth it to have spent all that money on school. After all, she
did
find a job in the field she wanted and she seems happy. Me, on the other hand, I live a pretty bitter life. I feel like
I
did everything "right," but
nothing
has turned out the way it should have.


If you ask me, school was my mistake. Truthfully, I never had an intention to go to college. But for my parents, and for the possibility that the music thing didn't work, it seemed the right move. Back then, though, I didn't understand what the overwhelming cost of my loans would mean. If I had it to do again, I would have stayed away from college. In my current situation, I'd be better off, as I wouldn't be obligated to hand over $700/month to pay for a degree that has had zero value in terms of finding work.


Nevertheless, I often talk to my wife about the possibility of making a living playing music. I barely make anything now, so there's a good chance it's possible to make more than I do currently. The big fear, though, is the investment. The money it would take to get serious is significant.


Moreover, I consider a career in music daily: every day in the car as I write lyrics and record them on my iPhone, every day at my crap-job and every day when I leave my crap-job (after nine hours of warehousing) to attend my CNA course until 10pm. My "dream" of playing music seems more like a realistic possibility every single time I think about it. After all, I'm already broke. Maybe with music, I'd at least be happy.


Still... there's always that voice in the back of my head, saying... "Be realistic. You want a career that offers a steady paycheck, retirement, insurance, etc." And, in reality, that voice is right... only, that voice has already screwed me once before and, as a result, I'm strapped with mile-high student loan payments and no job to show for it.


I apologize for being long-winded. I suppose my point was to say that this topic is one that keeps me from jumping head-first into the dream. I don't doubt my talents or abilities. Nor do I doubt my ability to market and run the business side of what would certainly be treated
as a business
. I do question the longevity of the career choice, however.


Whether anyone reads this whole thing or not, I appreciate being able to vent. Writing can be therapeutic... which is why I write so much music, I suppose.


Good thread, btw.

 

 

Few observations:

 

First and this will get me flamed on here but if you want to make it in music you have to put those thoughts of being realistic,school, steady career, etc on the back burner and go for it full time which in my opinion you did not do. You took the safe route (which by the way, was a false bill of goods sold to you as I will discuss later) and went for a job when you should have been honing your skills, gigging, writing songs and putting in your 10K hours in music! You're already WAY behind the curve..By the time I was in my early 20's I had done a year on the road, from 13-18 years old 4-12 hours a day of music practice songwriting, playing guitar, keys, vox, drums, bass 100's of original and cover gigs, 2 years in the army (for fun) and was gigging 5 nights a week, still writing and practicing all the time. Oh yea, also going to school for music at CC. So see the difference in focus? I don't believe you ever really wanted to be a musician. It's just a fantasy..I mean no offense by that, i'm just making an observation based on my experience.

 

This thread was about what guys that were serious full time pros that for whatever reason didn't make it but squeaked by all their lives making a living creatively in music. What do these guys do when they get older and the music gigs begin to dry up as all of us pros can readily see in friends, fellow musicians and acquaintances, does tend to happen. I didn't mean guys who 1/2 ass it, do it for fun on the side, etc..Obviously they have other means, ya know?

 

As far as your situation brother, I can only say you got {censored}ed! Fell for the bull{censored} line, hook line and sinker (cliche' used on purpose :)) There's no {censored}ing jobs out there in this country!! It's all been outsourced!! And why the hell would you want to do something you're not passionate about anyway? You were too scared to go for it in music and that's fine. It's common so you tried to find something else you could live with without giving any real thought to whether there was going to be any work, what the trends were on a national, or globally economic level and you just tried to be positive about the future like all young people! This is how those mother{censored}ers get you to take out all those loans!! Believe me, I have them too but they were all for stuff I was into like music and film..Anyway, I digress.

 

The point is, your generation is so {censored}ed and my nephews who are in HS have it even worse off! I'm glad to an extent because maybe someone will finally stand up and say enough of the lies, enough of the deceit, thievery, and wickedness and that we're on the wrong track..But that's another whole can of worms, isn't it? What i'm trying to say is now you can see that it would have just been better to put all your effort into what you were really passionate about and at least be broke enjoying yourself!!! Now these bastards have gotten you trapped in the matrix! I mean with all this other crap you are doing all the time, where is your time for music? How good on your instruments can you be? No offense and maybe you're a prodigy but I could play Eruption at 16 after 2 serious years on electric guitar..Not as good as eddie but I had it down pretty damn welll! I practiced my ASS OFF and still do because I'm nowhere near satisfied with myself on any musical level!!-And I can hang in any rock/pop/country/folk/american setting...What I mean is how the hell can you expect to hang with guys like me, ALWAYS writing, ALWAYS playing, ALWAYS striving to move forward, when you aren't even remotely doing what you want to but are really only fantasizing that you want to be?

 

College for marketing/comm., CNA {censored}, Warehouse job, etc? Where's the time to be a musician man? I know you know this already and most people would say you did the right thing etc but all the successfull artists I know DID NOT. I'm sorry forumites but I have to be honest with you all because it's true. The just had a strong focus and belief in themselves and moved forward. Some failed and never achieved their dreams, some have, some found new dreams, some are still searching...All of them are a hell of a lot happier going after what they really wanted rather than dying a slow death doing something else? For what? Money?? Material {censored}? Artists understand it's all an illusion...

 

In conclusion, you may think i'm insane and everything I said is bull{censored} and that's OK! I just wanted to give you my take brother:) Good luck, and get on a happy path.

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Few observations:


First and this will get me flamed on here but if you want to make it in music you have to put those thoughts of being realistic,school, steady career, etc on the back burner and go for it full time which in my opinion you did not do. You took the safe route (which by the way, was a false bill of goods sold to you as I will discuss later) and went for a job when you should have been honing your skills, gigging, writing songs and putting in your 10K hours in music! You're already WAY behind the curve..By the time I was in my early 20's I had done a year on the road, from 13-18 years old 4-12 hours a day of music practice songwriting, playing guitar, keys, vox, drums, bass 100's of original and cover gigs, 2 years in the army (for fun) and was gigging 5 nights a week, still writing and practicing all the time. Oh yea, also going to school for music at CC. So see the difference in focus? I don't believe you ever really wanted to be a musician. It's just a fantasy..I mean no offense by that, i'm just making an observation based on my experience.


This thread was about what guys that were serious full time pros that for whatever reason didn't make it but squeaked by all their lives making a living creatively in music. What do these guys do when they get older and the music gigs begin to dry up as all of us pros can readily see in friends, fellow musicians and acquaintances, does tend to happen. I didn't mean guys who 1/2 ass it, do it for fun on the side, etc..Obviously they have other means, ya know?


As far as your situation brother, I can only say you got {censored}ed! Fell for the bull{censored} line, hook line and sinker (cliche' used on purpose
:)
) There's no {censored}ing jobs out there in this country!! It's all been outsourced!! And why the hell would you want to do something you're not passionate about anyway? You were too scared to go for it in music and that's fine. It's common so you tried to find something else you could live with without giving any real thought to whether there was going to be any work, what the trends were on a national, or globally economic level and you just tried to be positive about the future like all young people! This is how those mother{censored}ers get you to take out all those loans!! Believe me, I have them too but they were all for stuff I was into like music and film..Anyway, I digress.


The point is, your generation is so {censored}ed and my nephews who are in HS have it even worse off! I'm glad to an extent because maybe someone will finally stand up and say enough of the lies, enough of the deceit, thievery, and wickedness and that we're on the wrong track..But that's another whole can of worms, isn't it? What i'm trying to say is now you can see that it would have just been better to put all your effort into what you were really passionate about and at least be broke enjoying yourself!!! Now these bastards have gotten you trapped in the matrix! I mean with all this other crap you are doing all the time, where is your time for music? How good on your instruments can you be? No offense and maybe you're a prodigy but I could play Eruption at 16 after 2 serious years on electric guitar..Not as good as eddie but I had it down pretty damn welll! I practiced my ASS OFF and still do because I'm nowhere near satisfied with myself on any musical level!!-And I can hang in any rock/pop/country/folk/american setting...What I mean is how the hell can you expect to hang with guys like me, ALWAYS writing, ALWAYS playing, ALWAYS striving to move forward, when you aren't even remotely doing what you want to but are really only fantasizing that you want to be?


College for marketing/comm., CNA {censored}, Warehouse job, etc? Where's the time to be a musician man? I know you know this already and most people would say you did the right thing etc but all the successfull artists I know DID NOT. I'm sorry forumites but I have to be honest with you all because it's true. The just had a strong focus and belief in themselves and moved forward. Some failed and never achieved their dreams, some have, some found new dreams, some are still searching...All of them are a hell of a lot happier going after what they really wanted rather than dying a slow death doing something else? For what? Money?? Material {censored}? Artists understand it's all an illusion...


In conclusion, you may think i'm insane and everything I said is bull{censored} and that's OK! I just wanted to give you my take brother:) Good luck, and get on a happy path.

 

I see nothing wrong with anything you've said. And, just as you mentioned, I know all of this already. After all, I alluded to it in my entire post.

 

I 100% agree that you have to be all in to make it. I knew it when I was having success in high school and I knew it when I enrolled in college. I know it now, even. And, for what it's worth, I never consider it a fantasy that I might be able to to right the ship. Every day I watch as my friends go on to further their music careers and, frankly, the only thing that stands between me and the success that they're having is the decision to say "screw it." But... I've made my bed and, as the cliche goes, I have to lie in it. Regardless, they're not any better at being musicians or songwriters. On the contrary, they're often worse - but that doesn't matter. They took out loans to go into a studio; I took out loans for school. They followed the dream; I was conned (and that's what college is: a long-con).

 

As I mentioned, I'm interested in what a musician does in their retirement years. I wasn't trying to make the thread about myself, other than that the topic was one that helped in my deciding to go to school, rather than persue music.

 

Appreciate the reply.

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Just because someone has trouble finding a nice job after college, means that college is crap? The matrix? What the hell are you guys smoking?

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Just because someone has trouble finding a nice job after college, means that college is crap? The matrix? What the hell are you guys smoking?

 

I'm better for having the education, without question. Whether I'm "happy" is another question. Certainly, the debt is insane and has brought about zero return on the investment. Could that change? Sure it could. My point was to say that the long-term results of being a musician are what made me question it as a viable career option prior to starting college, hence why I went.

 

Again, I chose a degree that I thought was versatile. Furthermore, I'm passionate about my degree field (contrary to Sven's opinion). I enjoyed my studies and hope to apply what I learned one day, whether it be in a late attempt at music or with a company willing to give me a chance. Still, I question the chioce I made to go to school. Making so little wouldn't be so bad if I didn't owe so much to banks.

 

On a final note, I wasn't trying to hijack this thread, ha. I just thought the subject was interesting, as it was what drove me to go to school and get a "real job."

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Just because someone has trouble finding a nice job after college, means that college is crap? The matrix? What the hell are you guys smoking?

 

It's a scam. That's our opinion. I'm not going to debate it Poker :)

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