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Where Do You Want To Go With Your Music?

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(@dbrownlee)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 18
 

Really just started to learn for myself, because I'd wanted to for years. I'd like to play for family and friends, around the campfire, etc., and maybe some jam sessions. I've got a way to go for that, though. My wife did suggest one day that it might be fun to play some stuff for preschoolers, though. I think I'll keep that in mind, too.
Dave


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
Topic starter  

Hi,

There's been something quite intriguing about the answers that we've had so far.

I would have thought that the standard Rock-n-Roll fantasy involves being in a hugely successful band - standing in front of stadium full of fans ripping it out like Mick and Keef, Stevie Ray, Hendrix, BB KIng, Eric Clapton or whoever. Pots of money, managers and roadies to do all the dull stuff, and so on. So I put option #5 in there to cater for various versions of that dream. But, at this stage, nobody has picked it.

It seems that GN members have a pretty good grip on the realities of the music business. Most seem motivated by the pleasure of being able to make music, and are apparently happy to keep their bigger fanatasies labeled as such. Whilst the ones who are serious about musical careers also seem to have a fairly clear idea of what that usually involves. I bet that nearly all of us have had a quiet daydream or two around a #5 life. Perhaps we're not that convinced that the reality would be worth the cost in stress, travelling and general hassles?

Chris


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Standard rock'n'roll fantasies - oh yes, we've all had them. I think, though, if you look at the demographics of this site, you'll find that a high percentage of people who join do so for the lessons - a lot of absolute beginners, quite a few mid-life crisis male menopause players, some who are fairly experienced but want to get better, some who've put the guitar down for years then come back to it and want to do it properly this time, and the odd few who are very good guitarists, well grounded in theory and technically sound who want to pass their knowledge on.

Speaking for myself, I'd been playing on and off for many years - started when I was 17, didn't play much after I got married at 23, took it up again after getting divorced at 28, became a single parent a few years later and didn't even have a guitar for years, then took it up again when my daughter wanted to play. Never really put the hard work in though, until I joined GN about 5 years ago. (I'd been here a good few months when the site crashed in 2004, and I had to re-register.)

So by the time I joined GN, aged 46, any thoughts of rock'n'roll fame had long since evaporated. At that age, you tend to be more realistic in your expectations - I know I'm never going to be a great guitarist, but I'll settle for solid and reliable rhythm player, able to stand in at a moment's notice, occasional not-too-complicated solos.

As well as being a heck of a lot better guitarist now than 5 years ago, I've also learned a lot about songwriting - I've written a LOT of songs since I first wandered into the SSG one quiet Sunday evening. That for me has been as important as becoming a better guitarist - I can see, looking back at some early SSG songs, how much I've improved. I'd written a lot of songs prior to the SSG - but I didn't really have the musical knowledge to do anything with them.

I also realise that my own songs, at this stage of my life, aren't going to catapult me to instant stardom - again, my expectations are more realistic nowadays. So why do I still bother writing them? A, because I can - B, because I want to, C, because it's fun, and D, it's one way of keeping a record of my life and having my say!

And that, to me, is what it's all about now - having fun with the guitar. Whether it's jamming with a few guys in the pub, or putting together a new song at home, I still get a kick out of music. And I know I always will. I don't have any regrets about what might have been, although I do wish I'd started to play when I was young - but music gives me a focus, something to do with my time. And it always will!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
Topic starter  

Well put Vic. :)

Music used to be just part of the everyday fabric of life for many people, at a much more grass-roots level. But with the rise of TV and electronic communication in general it seems to have become somewhat hi-jacked by commercial interests and overlaid with some sort of mega-star fantasy image. Sadly, it also seems to have become something that's more often just 'consumed' rather than participated in. So it's great to see that most people here seem to be grounded in a fairly practical reality. I have the odd fantasy too, but what i really like about music is the simple daily playing, the contact with other players, and the chance to express myself in something other than just words alone.

Chris


   
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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

My friend asked me if I had considered writing scores for films, not because I am good at it but he was into movies and it was something to think about. I want to get some more chops with the guitar but not too much. Mostly because I can't be bothered with it if my goal is writing music.
I used to work with an amateur "art film" film maker, who told me that she and others in her position generally hire local musicians write & record the music for their films for 2 important reasons.

1) they can get exactly what they want, as opposed to using generic pre-existing music.
2) commissioning someone to write/record some music for a small independent film is quicker, easier and cheaper than dealing with the music industry machine.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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(@mahal)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 107
 

Hi,

There's been something quite intriguing about the answers that we've had so far.

I would have thought that the standard Rock-n-Roll fantasy involves being in a hugely successful band - standing in front of stadium full of fans ripping it out like Mick and Keef, Stevie Ray, Hendrix, BB KIng, Eric Clapton or whoever. Pots of money, managers and roadies to do all the dull stuff, and so on. So I put option #5 in there to cater for various versions of that dream. But, at this stage, nobody has picked it.

Chris
Well I never had the standard rock and roll fantasy. When I was that age I played sax and the standard jazz fantasy didn't lead to what George Benson did. It was more Dexter Gordon experienced where you live in Europe among their arts class because you were unappreciated by the commen folks at home.

About as close to a standard fantasy I had was to be Neil Giraldo.


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

2) commissioning someone to write/record some music for a small independent film is quicker, easier and cheaper than dealing with the music industry machine.

Ain't that the truth. The world is full of independent filmakers looking for music.

Currently in the Chicago Craigslist gigs section:

- glam rock musical needs 3 songs. No pay.
- composer lyracist needed for "the next Tony award winning musical". No pay. (But I gather it's gotta be Tony-quality material)
- 8 minute film in post production needs a score composer. $200 (do the math - that's $12.50 per minute)
- a yoga video needs music. Compensation negotiable.

So there's one (maybe) that's willing to pay for the work, and another one that thinks they're paying a fair price at $200.

I did a film score once. You watch a screening with the producers, you take tons of notes based on their comments, you get a timeline of exactly how long things are, and you spend a lot of time banging your head against the wall (the sequence is 13 seconds long, your perfect music for it is 14.8). You go through interminable rounds of revisions. The check will probably bounce.

(Actually, I had a blast doing the film score, got valuable experience - including the first time I'd conducted an orchestra - and the check didn't bounce, but it's a TON of work - I'll bet I put in 25 hours of time for each minute of finished music, which makes that $200 offer about a penny an hour!)

The biggest reason independent filmmakers don't want to deal with the music industry is cash, not speed or control. "Speed and control" is what they say when "I have no money" doesn't sound as good. (The buzzword for why you should work cheap is "exposure" in the music biz, whatever "exposure" is worth - are the 200 people who'll see the film really in the market to hire a composer for their next project? Will they even notice your name in the credits?)

When a major studio buys a song to use in a film, they're shelling out $25K or more for synchronization rights... and that's for something that's already written and doesn't need to be tweaked. A major studio will pay 4-20 times that for a full score.

30 years ago I was really happy playing in bar bands. We could make $75 per night per man, and work six nights a week. You could also buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and get change back from your dollar.

I don't do the bar band thing anymore.... because it STILL pays about $75 per night per man, and if you're really good you get work two nights per week. And I'm not getting change for my dollar anymore! (or the bread, or the milk, come to think of it)

Sorry if that sounds crochety. Back on track.

If you want to do film scores - and make a living at it - move to LA (or another film hotspot like Vancouver). Get a job that puts you in touch with music editors, and sell sell sell :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
Topic starter  

Sorry if that sounds crochety. Back on track.

You've every right to be crochety when the pay is so minimal....... sorry, can't resist a bad pun... :oops:

I quite agree with your assessment of the return on effort that you get from most creative endeavours - I've been involved in a few over the years, from being a partner in a graphic design business that worked for a record label, and also did PR for bands (every dollar had to be squeezed drop by drop from the clients...), owning a small CD shop selling mostly Classical (an excellent way to stay poor), through to designing and making my own furniture and three dimensional wooden puzzles (terrific if you're fond of long hours and sawdust, and don't mind having your designs ripped off...). It's always a long slog towards the payoff, and - like one of those distance illusions - it usually turns out to be a lot smaller than you hoped when you reach it. :wink:

Sometimes it does pay off, but you still usually have to start at the 'free' end of things. Years ago I was commissioned by a local theatre company to write the libretto for a full length musical comedy. I wrote no music at all, but still had to create individual parts for all the members of the company, that matched their varying talents and abilities. It took weeks and weeks of work, and I then had to direct it as well. I got the princely sum of $100, which wasn't much even 25 years ago. But I got the fun of being involved with a great bunch of people, and the immeasurable satisfaction of being able to stand at the back of a packed hall and listen to the sound of people laughing and enjoying themselves at something that I had a large part in creating. Worth every single hour of effort. It had a successful run, including performances in our state capital city and a tour of country towns.

The next time I did one for them I was paid $1,000 - which was still probably less per hour than I could have earned as a labourer on a building site, but at least paid the bills. And I was able to decline the offer to direct. The next step - something that actually paid well - never eventuated. It often doesn't. But the main reason it didn't was because a) the company itself drifted apart and b) I was by then involved with other things and didn't have any interest in doing the hustling required to take it any further. However, I at least had something to put on a CV by then, and some 'contacts in the biz' as it were - some of whom are still full time in acting, singing, and various branches of production. For me, it was the right choice not to follow that path, but I've always been glad that I had the experiences that I did.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2736
 

I someday hope to make some of 'my' music. Only then, any comments.

Good luck to everyone following their plans !


   
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(@ghost)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 815
 

I like to record myself and say 'Oh that's ME,' :D then there's 'oh that's... me.' :oops:

The small successes for me make playing guitar fun.

"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.


   
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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

So there's one (maybe) that's willing to pay for the work, and another one that thinks they're paying a fair price at $200.

If you want to do film scores - and make a living at it - move to LA (or another film hotspot like Vancouver).

The filmmaker that I knew was basically doing it to make art, not money. (hence her working in the same office as me at her "day job")

Her films were 100% financed out of her own pocket, and she was thrilled if more than a dozen audiences ever saw them (pretty much exclusively in 50 seats per screening film festivals)
The performers and crew were generally friends or other volunteers, but she did pay (not much, but some) for the music.

She was also realistic about the fact that not everyone wanted to donate their time/talents to her projects, but she was still able to find people who were willing to contribute.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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