Re: On becoming a professional musician...

On 8/16/2010 3:07 AM, Jonathan Chase wrote:

I agree that it's good stuff to look into. I just felt that the
majority of professional musicians don't make their living by copyrighting
their own material. Many people do it at one level or another, but I think
for most of us regular Joe's the legal side of things has zero to do with
paying the bills. If I were making a list of things to know about being a
professional musician I'd put registering music, understanding copyright
law, and having legal council (that represents you on music-related issues)
pretty damn far down the list. In fact, I'd put "own a nice pair of shoes
and at least one nice outfit" way ahead of that legal stuff.

LOL. Yes, a nice outfit comes before learning all that other stuff (no sarcasm intended). Still, every person desiring to make money from music would do well to spend the $10 on that book and leave it in the crapper to be read over an extended period of time. Or just take one evening and read it. I'd be surprised if it took somebody more than a few hours to read it cover to cover.

It's somewhat useful for working in a cover band. The big benefit comes dealing with originals both as a composer and as part of the band. It comes with sample contracts you can use. While I think we agree that 99.99% of original bands don't make any significant money, there's still a chance of incredible success.

It's not hard or expensive to protect your interest in the intellectual property you create or help create, so if you're interested in going down that road, get a map.

I think the most important skill is understanding how to apply your
knowledge on the fly. Knowing a bunch of modes doesn't do you any good if
you can't use them in a song you've never played before. Understanding
chord theory, or syncopation, or techniques like thumping or tapping, are
nearly worthless if you can't apply them directly into the songs you're
asked to play, and use them appropriately and without planning in advance.

I agree. This is really the flip-side of the "how much should we rehearse?" discussion. If you want to run with the working pros, you need to be able to keep up. That means being able to play a gig with little to no rehearsal. Time is money, and if you want to make a living with your instrument, unpaid rehearsals are not the way to go. The busy pros don't want to do it, and many weekend warrior bands spend too much time at it - time you could spend working.

For a bassist, the really important skills aren't going to leap out at
the audience in the first song; you won't be struck by a blistering drum
fill or a ripping guitar solo. But if you can write a chart quickly and
diagnose a song's structure on the first take you'll get calls. The
audience will never know that's what got you the gig, but those little
things make a big impact when it comes to finding work.

Again, I agree.

In my opinion, it's all about how you practice and how you prioritize
your practice time. Some people spend all their time learning technical
bass stuff, and they do it by looking at instructional videos or reading
tab. While they pick up a lot of technique, that practice time doesn't
build on many other areas, such as ear training. Another player might
tackle the exact same song and do it by playing along to the record and
charting the tune out on their own. In the end, both players will know the
same song, but the second one has also developed his ear, his ability to
take notes and chart songs, and has probably internalized the song in a way
that the first player has not.

Again, I agree.