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Life As A Part Time Musician
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starise
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March 22, 2019 - 12:31 pm
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In many ways I think being some kind of part time musician is the most ideal situation of all. 

I am a pianist who plays at bouzouki, guitar and violin.  The only drawbacks are I don't get to play and record as often as I would like. The nice thing is I don't need to play to eat.....that's a good thing too. I would probably starve.

I don't think you do this for recognition. At least I don't. In that case I think many would be sorely let down if they were in it for that. Sure I get the occasional compliment and it feels good. If I existed for compliments though I would have dried up long ago.

If you're a part timer, what are your experiences?

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Pete_Violin
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July 5, 2019 - 2:27 pm
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starise said
In many ways I think being some kind of part time musician is the most ideal situation of all. 

I am a pianist who plays at bouzouki, guitar and violin.  The only drawbacks are I don't get to play and record as often as I would like. The nice thing is I don't need to play to eat.....that's a good thing too. I would probably starve.

I don't think you do this for recognition. At least I don't. In that case I think many would be sorely let down if they were in it for that. Sure I get the occasional compliment and it feels good. If I existed for compliments though I would have dried up long ago.

If you're a part timer, what are your experiences?

  

So I am an unpaid part time musician.

Now, I suspect you are probably referring to paid musicians, however I thought I would give you my take as well.

I have done some paid gigs.  This was in another life when I played drums.  I did some live music with a small theatre group who performed at a dinner theatre.  It was really fun!

When I say I was paid, I use the term loosely.  I was paid very little, which brings me to your point about starving musicians.  I learned long ago that musicians do not make money.  There are, of course, exceptions.  Some small amounts of musicians are recognized and things fall into place where they land a contract or a gig or a position where they are paid and can make a living.  This is the exception.  Professional orchestra musicians really are not that common either.  The competition to be hired and perform with professional orchestras on the level of the New York Philharmonic or the Chicago Symphony is extreme to say the least.  To say these musicians are good at what they do is beyond an understatement and it is a world to which I am not familiar at all.

But I do like to perform.  I have been involved in  local orchestras who perform normally about monthly.  Rehearsals are about weekly.  So this is the non-paid part time to which I am referring.  As a violinist, I will be playing in an orchestra beginning this August.  This will be my first as a violinist and I am very excited!

I enjoy it thoroughly.  The social camaraderie is not only fun, but I hope to be very helpful to me as a musician.  So far, I have only been playing alone, for recitals, for my church, and at lessons.  I am very much looking forward to the experience with an orchestra. 

I have played in orchestras in the past as a percussionist.  This is really not the same.  I anticipate that playing in the string section will be more of a tight group and a more team style of playing.  Percussionists tend to be alone. 

Overall, my drive and really my reasons for playing is because of how much I love playing music.  Over the last 2 years of work to learn and improve on violin would never have been possible for me unless I loved playing.  Honestly, it is not about money or recognition.  I just have a relentless need to play music.

- Pete -

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CrispinGlover
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May 8, 2020 - 12:18 pm
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Musicians think the same: we all want a consistent, full-time, make-a-living-off-of-music job

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