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What Do Musicians do When they Get Older?


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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."

 

 

I'm sorry man! I got the impression your weren't into your degreed career field:) Why don't you start doing music in your spare time and try to become a weekend warrior? Make some cash, put it into nice gear, and have some fun? Keep working toward the day job career until you get it right, have some beautiful babies with the love of your life and just be happy? That's probably what I would do at this point if I were you man. Nothing AT ALL wrong with that! Everyone knows I've said it in many other threads that you would have to be insane to get into music now anyway! Do it ONLY if you absolutely can't fathom doing anything else and your are obsessed! This is what I tell everyone.

 

As far as the student loans go, I know you can drag them out and pay less. My friend is dragging hers out over 30 years because she couldn't afford the high payment. Contact them and try to get your payment lower. Good luck brother!

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OK, the voice of reason...

 

College as a whole is not a scam... go read some actual data on income comparisons between people with Masters, Bachelors, Associates, and no college degree. The data doesn't lie - people with Bachelor's degrees overall earn more money than people with just high school diplomas. The higher the degree, the more money on average people earn.

 

What IS a scam is the idea that a college degree is a guarantee of a good job. It isn't. You need more. You need:

 

1. A degree in a field where people are actually wanted and needed

2. The ability to rattle doorknobs and ring phones and sell yourself

3. The ability to interview well

 

You can't, no disrespect intended, get a degree in Communications and expect anyone to hand you a job. A BS in Communications might unlock a few doors, but you have to know what those doors are, where they are located, and who you have to talk to. Some majors have internships that can turn into job opportunities. Education is popular because nationwide there is a demand for teachers. Engineering (electronics, mechanical, software, and so on) is a very popular/in demand field right now (according to usajobs.gov.) There are majors where you CAN walk out of college into a good job but they're in areas where there is actual demand.

 

But people want to major in Communications, Video Game Design, and Music Business. Which is fine, as long as you don't need a job. The real world does not care about our hopes and dreams and what we'd sorta kinda like to do.

 

I did the same thing. I got a BS degree in Music Business and surprise! No one gave a damn. No one cares. No job offers. I got entry level positions in music retail. And started to work my way up to management, and hated it. However, had I stuck around, my degree might have opened doors for me that people without a degree might not have had. I ended up going back for a teaching degree and got a job 6 months after graduation. Because there was a demand.

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OK, the voice of reason...


College as a whole is not a scam... go read some actual data on income comparisons between people with Masters, Bachelors, Associates, and no college degree. The data doesn't lie - people with Bachelor's degrees overall earn more money than people with just high school diplomas. The higher the degree, the more money on average people earn.


What IS a scam is the idea that a college degree is a guarantee of a good job. It isn't. You need more. You need:


1. A degree in a field where people are actually wanted and needed

2. The ability to rattle doorknobs and ring phones and sell yourself

3. The ability to interview well


You can't, no disrespect intended, get a degree in Communications and expect anyone to hand you a job. A BS in Communications might unlock a few doors, but you have to know what those doors are, where they are located, and who you have to talk to. Some majors have internships that can turn into job opportunities. Education is popular because nationwide there is a demand for teachers. Engineering (electronics, mechanical, software, and so on) is a very popular/in demand field right now (according to usajobs.gov.) There are majors where you CAN walk out of college into a good job but they're in areas where there is actual demand.


But people want to major in Communications, Video Game Design, and Music Business. Which is fine, as long as you don't need a job. The real world does not care about our hopes and dreams and what we'd sorta kinda like to do.


I did the same thing. I got a BS degree in Music Business and surprise! No one gave a damn. No one cares. No job offers. I got entry level positions in music retail. And started to work my way up to management, and hated it. However, had I stuck around, my degree might have opened doors for me that people without a degree might not have had. I ended up going back for a teaching degree and got a job 6 months after graduation. Because there was a demand.

 

 

No, it's is a scam now. I have ALWAYS learned more about any subject on my own than at School Richard, Sorry. I have many many years of it under my belt just like you..It's a scam flat out. Also, there are NO JOBS for college graduates on the whole now and that old axiom about earning more with a degree held for the past but it's not relevant today. Today, you can do much better as a plumber, an auto mechanic, or with a tech degree of some kind. Sad. Yes there are some degree fields with jobs like Engineering as you mentioned but on the whole it's pretty dismal out there for most degree's. Seriously and with education costs, even at Public schools it's just a huge scam...I feel really bad for the kids out there! My nephew is going to an 18 month program for automotive mechanic and will have a job with the Auto manufacture he's getting ASC certified in. That's a good deal right now I would say. Or as my grandfather told me, go out and make your own way. :) That's an option.

 

That said, I agree with everything else you said...

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What is a scam is the fly-by-night colleges that sell hopes of a better life by being a hair dresser or dental hygienist. Back in my advertising days, I did some work for one of the college chains that was opening a new fashion design and hair dressing sub-program. I was told to make the ads appealing to those looking to "get off the couch and dreaming to get into an easy job without much effort", so they could students to pay $$$ (coverable by student loans of course which they help procure...). Schools like that are a scam.

 

But education itself isn't, though you have to be wise. An English or Communication degree isn't much without a secondary skill to bring to the table, but can be a good start if you've got drive and a plan.

 

Basically what Richard said above, though in more technical trades, higher education may mean more money but there is higher competition for those roles. I work with Ph.Ds on a regular basis, and I've only got a B.Sc. But generally, in the work of software design and electronics, a Ph.D is more specialized but unless there is a need for that specialization either in Academics or in business, you can be a bit poop-outta-luck to see a higher salary than a Bachelors. In the software industry, a piece of paper will get you part way in the door, but after that, it's about ability but the piece of paper is mostly a first pass to weed people out.

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Well since we're pretty thoroughly derailed already, my 2 cents on college goes like this. …

 

People go there for different reasons and some reasons make more sense than others. We have a son who we had to really encourage to go. He wanted to be a mechanic. Five years later, he graduated from an excellent state school and is now a successful engineer. He loves his job, does things he never could have done as a mechanic, and the money and benefits are unfreackinbelievable. This only goes to show that high school seniors should follow their hearts if they want to play music but not if they want to fix cars. :rolleyes: BTW, he graduated 2 years ago, and it took him 5 months in the crap economy to get that job - things were even worse than now. Half of his graduating class mates - with engineering degrees from the same well regarded school - were also unemployed at graduation.

 

We have a daughter who wanted to study art because it's her thing. Fortunately, she got a scholarship for tuition and most fees, so Mrs Spoon and I "only" had to cover room, board and incidentals. For our daughter, having a liberal education is hugely rewarding in-and-of-itself. OTOH, she's a senior now, and she doesn't know if she wants to make a living teaching art or painting etc. So was it worth it? Time will tell, but probably yes. She's sharp and hard-working and will probably wind up getting some money benefit from her education, and she will appreciate certain things differently for the rest of her life to boot.

 

BTW, for me personally, a liberal education has been a life-long gift that keeps on giving. I say that even though back in the day, I had zero interest in the liberal arts courses that were crammed down my throat LOL. I only wanted to take career related courses, and they did pay off for me.

 

OTOH, as others have mentioned, the idea that going to college is some kind of vocational magic spell is a load of crap. There have even arisen many for profit colleges which don't give a crap about their students or their vocational success. These vermin make an art form out of selling education to people who have no business getting it - and they also make an art form out of getting these people financed with government backed student loans. Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r. :mad:

 

 

My conclusion? Nothing very definitive at all: :( Our hearts and brains both know a lot. We each need to juggle what they say and then make our move.

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It's a scam flat out. Also, there are NO JOBS for college graduates on the whole now and that old axiom about earning more with a degree held for the past but it's not relevant today.

 

The education is not a scam, but it's PERCIEVED BENEFITS are. The stats point to "get a degree, get a better job". But that is not the point of post secondary education. It is not vocational training. It is it is about education....learning, gaining knowledge and understanding, and in some instances, getting experience in the application thereof is what a university level education is about, FOR IT"S OWN SAKE.

 

See, I just used the word 'thereof' in a sentence....Reckon my really nice degree got me a 6 figure job, and that's how I can afford my fleet of PRS's and Dumble clones.....

 

Snicker.....yeah right....

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No, it's is a scam now. I have ALWAYS learned more about any subject on my own than at School Richard, Sorry. I have many many years of it under my belt just like you..It's a scam flat out. Also, there are NO JOBS for college graduates on the whole now and that old axiom about earning more with a degree held for the past but it's not relevant today. Today, you can do much better as a plumber, an auto mechanic, or with a tech degree of some kind. Sad. Yes there are some degree fields with jobs like Engineering as you mentioned but on the whole it's pretty dismal out there for most degree's. Seriously and with education costs, even at Public schools it's just a huge scam...I feel really bad for the kids out there! My nephew is going to an 18 month program for automotive mechanic and will have a job with the Auto manufacture he's getting ASC certified in. That's a good deal right now I would say. Or as my grandfather told me, go out and make your own way.
:)
That's an option.


That said, I agree with everything else you said...

 

I'd like you to go to usajobs.gov, specifically THIS LINK which lists the current Top Occupations In Demand, and see how many of those positions require a college degree. Just glancing at the list briefly, I'd say the majority of them. You can't say stuff like you're saying... the Internet makes it too easy to basically disprove it.

 

That aside, I agree that vocational training programs are an excellent alternative to college. I've never ever been one to say that college is for everyone, but I do feel that after high school you need to get some type of additional training. Because a "high school diploma" does not qualify you to do anything nowadays. Vocational may give you more bang for your buck, especially if they have any type of job placement program.

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It's just weird because maybe it's just a failure of the universities to realistically inform prospective students of what the current employment trends are? I don't know but I know of and hear about so many people with advanced degrees who can't find a job. There are millions out of a job..some say over 20 million because many have fallen off the registers...Millions of them have degrees as well..I guess many have the wrong degrees. That's also not taking into account the ass {censored}ing you get in many occupations when they fire you before you're eligible for retirement so they can bring in someone younger who will do the job for a fraction of your pay. This is happening to a friend of mine RIGHT NOW!...But that's a different story for a different thread right? :)

 

It's just a bummer but that's life, right?

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It's just weird because maybe it's just a failure of the universities to realistically inform prospective students of what the current employment trends are?

 

Its not the University's job to do this. Even if they would, a lot of students would ignore the stats and just go into a field they like even if there is not a real future in it.

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Its not the University's job to do this. Even if they would, a lot of students would ignore the stats and just go into a field they like even if there is not a real future in it.

 

Ah! This explains psychology, sociology, philosophy, women's studies and music majors!

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Ah! This explains psychology, sociology, philosophy, women's studies and music majors!

actually, psychologists can make some serious money without breaking a sweat...philosophers, not so much... ;)

 

Frankly the fact that people with degrees are out of jobs is not a reflection of the value of having a degree, but a reflection of our current jacked up economic situation...and the reason is that those who are working are expected to put in 60 hours a week (salaried positions can kill ya, I am the poster boy :wave:) to offset the fact that companies are not employing at the correct level. Many years ago the 'goal' was to reduce the average work week to 32 hours a week...apparently that goal was dumped as too idealistic...the 60+ a week people are the ones who get the promotions, who don't get laid off, etc...so, to succeed, you need to be totally absorbed in your career to the detriment of everything else in your life. After my second heart attack, I decided I wanted to live more and work less, an cut my average week from 60+ to 40-45...I have not received a promotion since then... :facepalm:

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... Frankly the fact that people with degrees are out of jobs is not a reflection of the value of having a degree, but a reflection of our current jacked up economic situation...

 

I think it's a reflection of more than our current economic situation. It reflects what is likely to be ongoing global competition with people who earn less, live less well, and produce goods that cost much less. It's also a reflection that we are over-educating the population in general. Not everyone belongs in an academic institution and even those that do are not always even aiming at marketable skills.

 

 

BTW, sorry about your 60 hr/week deal. Been there, done that, and it sucks. Be sure to spend time with your kids. Time with your kids is something you can never get back.

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I think it's a reflection of more than our
current
economic situation. It reflects what is likely to be ongoing global competition with people who earn less, live less well, and produce goods that cost much less. It's also a reflection that we are over-educating the population in general. Not everyone belongs in an academic institution and even those that do are not always even aiming at marketable skills.



BTW, sorry about your 60 hr/week deal. Been there, done that, and it sucks. Be sure to spend time with your kids. Time with your kids is something you can never get back.

fortunately, my kids are all grown (and college graduates :wave: ).

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60 hours a week!? omg we can't call that living. I prefer to be poor, have a small car and small house than work my ass off.

 

For me, it would depend on what it's for. For my own business, with a chance at laying up some serious money, increased value of my business and a shot at early retirement? Heck yeah. Working 60 hours a week for someone else so they can get all that? No thanks.

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Had a beautiful CE 24 (which my wife got for me as a gift and then sold when we separated). Now I have the 25th Anniversary SE (and it's MINE...not a gift from ANYONE). Less than half the price of the CE, plays every bit as sweet, and still has the guts & the glory of the more expensive ones. My SG Deluxe is a vintage 1970 with a Bigsby trem (which I really dislike).

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I know people who work much more than 60 hours a week and I think to myself...WHY? Where is the time for their lives? Life is short...Live it.

 

Been there, done that, dead end. What do I have to show for it? Nothing. If yer in business for yourself, then I'm in, but never again will I do that while punching the clock for someone else.

 

On college. Scam? Somewhat. My little sister is a Vet in S. Africa an is on her way to a Ph.D. Her opinion is that college prepares to to take tests and write pointless papers and little else. What a degree shows is that you were good at school. Never finished mine, though I have enough credits to do something. Do I regret that? Yes and no. Yes because of the feeling of completion. No because I would have lost my job anyway and besides the science based classes I took (which I love), I learned virtually nothing there.

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As I'm getting older, I know WAY too many musicians that are in the same boat. Many have made full-time careers out of music, but it just doesn't pay like other careers. Some of the guys have wives that support them. Even my buddys on national tours don't make a kings ransom in money that'll carry them through old age. They make it a few years and then it's back to "hand-to-mouth" playing and living.

I'm thinking that about age 35 a musician has to take a good hard look at his path and make a determination of which way to go.

 

If you haven't achieved success at that point financially, and can't see it coming in the very near future, it might be time to make another plan and switch to being the 'part-time' musician with a full-time career in another field.

 

It's a hard decision to make, but you have to look at where you are and act responsibly. Especially if you have others depending on you.

It doesn't mean the end of the road for you musically to do so. Quite the opposite. It gives you an opportunity to explore other avenues of the music industry that you might not have been exposed too. Like recording or producing, or managing other bands part time, or becoming a sound/lighting company, or becoming a part time local roadie for your local scene, or buying/selling gear on auction sites to augment your income, or any number of other things that you can do at night in the music biz while you set yourself up for your future financially.

For example, I've written many songs over the years in my quiet times, but have been so busy with playing that I never got around to recording them. Now that I've become a 'part time' musician, I've actually had time to record my original work and do all the producing and instruments myself. It's getting great reviews, and it is something tangible that I can show for my years of playing and literally thousands and thousands of live performances. As musicians what we do for a living is make sounds that float out into the air. Once they are out there, there is nothing tangible about them. They are gone. I actually wanted something (my own CD) that I can look back on and say, "THAT is what all this has led up too." It means much more to me than any of the CD's that I've cut with bands. But that was a personal goal that I made after retiring from full-time playing and found another path that is financially secure.

 

I believe that getting older as a non-financially successful musician is about re-direction of goals and acting responsibly for the future. You can keep playing, but you find something that keeps the terror of being broke for the rest of your life at bay. Money equals opportunity. Especially when you are older and want to experience some of the things and adventures in life that you put off because you were too busy trying to "make it" in the music business.

 

Just my opinions...and not worth a lot.

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I think pursuing ANY type of "creative career" is challenging, because there is no real "prescribed path" you can be on, and there is some great advice in this thread. One thing I might add is that the guys I know that have had some success have really not let their ego and what they think they SHOULD be get in the way of playing solid paying gigs - for example, playing in a cover band that does wedding gigs and pays well, while also doing their own thing in another project, and being a "sideman" in a third project - sometimes in a variety of genres! - But that's how to be a WORKING musician, and not necessarily the goal many people have when getting into being a "musician" - many people want to be an "artist" and just get paid to "be themselves" basically, but that's a lot more complicated..

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I am going to be that guy...the guy who reads the thread 2 years down the road, registers with HC just to reply, and pisses off the entire website just so he can vent....sorry in advance but this thread really, really got me thinking...the only way I can continue normally with my day is if I submit a reply to this.

 

I am 22. I graduated from a good school with a computer science degree. I played division I athletics. For some reason all I have ever dreamed about growing up was making good music, being heard, and giving myself the chills when I play my own CD in my car...but what have I spent my life doing? I gave ~30 hours/week for college baseball, and about ~20 hours/week to studies. I also lived in different states for baseball, and moved to the bay area to get a job after graduation. I make great money...way more than my friends because when I went to college (which was a decision my father made for me) I chose to get a degree in something that I knew the world would need after I graduated. Turns out I was right. I dont imaging ever having a problem finding a job, because everyone has a computer or a cell phone, and everyone thinks that you need special skills to fix them. I have those "skills".

 

I decided to get my music started...I have been in bands for fun, and have played guitar since age 10. I told myself that I am giving up everything but my job (and my girlfriend) to do this. My weekends consist of writing, practicing and judging my own stuff. You wouldnt think it...but I write country music. It isn't easy out here but I am managing to meet people one by one, and am almost ready to begin advertising myself to play weekend or weeknight shows. At my age could I afford to drop everything, move to nashville and chase my dream? absolutely. Im not planning a family, nor am I planning getting married. Once my job rotates me to another location (My pick for the most part) I am choosing to go as close to Nashville as possible. Ill keep my paycheck, play music, keep everything I want while giving it a go at music. 

 

Does keeping my day job mean I am 1/2 assing it? Hell no...I stay up until 1 AM writing and then wake up at 6 for work. I have friends who live with their parents and work on music all day...their music is horrible. Could I better my chances by moving to the south to play in as many bars as possible? sure...but I need money. If you ask me, everything is done electronically nowadays. If you want your music to be heard put your stuff on Youtube and PAY to promote it. You mot likely need to PAY someone to help produce and record it as well. Music takes money. Keep the job and make music on the side...if a record deal shows up, then go ahead and drop the job (if youre young) and chase the dream. Yeah I went to college...it helped get me a job. It was not a scam. If I didnt go to college I would probably be shovelling dirt in someone's backyard, too tired to make music when I came home.

 

Sometimes you need to do OTHER THINGS in order to make music. If you can convince your parents to pay for your touring and music, then youre lucky. But youre going to put more effort into it if you know that you are sacrificing your time not at work for your music, and the money you made at work for your music. As you can tell, this is a complete rant. But I don't agree with those who say you cant spend time doing other stuff if you want to make it in music.

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