March 09, 2010

"This is my career, not a job" Member, Ron Jackson offers a snapshot of a life of a busy working musician. Based in New York, Ron has an established presence on the international Jazz scene and is a dedicated private guitar teacher.

How to survive in the music business when it's always up and down

By Ron Jackson

In the music business it's either sink or swim! When it comes to gigs, either it's dead or it's crazy busy! You know the saying, "How do you make a musician complain?" ---"Give them a gig" I prefer to have a gig!! Sometimes I'll do some crazy things to make a gig. Here are some examples of some things I've done recently........

1.) Play a gig in the evening in New York, then drive 3 hours that same night to play in Maryland the next morning @ 7am then drive back 3 hours to Brooklyn, teach privately for 3 hours then make another gig that night.

2.) I was playing 3-5 gigs a day when I was performing at schools for Jazz at Lincoln Center a couple of weeks ago, the call times were so early, that I had to wake up @ 6am, sometimes drive for an hour, then play.

3.) Wake up with only 4 hours of sleep, teach for 7 hours, then play a duo gig (guitar and saxophone for 5 1/2 hours, while driving to make each gig.

It's rough trying to make all these jobs, I run on steam, trying to rest in bed in between some days so I don't get sick.

Here's the question?
"Is it worth it?"
YES !!!!!

This is my career, not a job. I am one of the lucky musicians who can say when some straight 9-5ver asks, "What kind of work do you do?" I can proudly say, "I play music". They always look surprised!!!!

It's a tough business, it's takes more than just being a great musician to make a living.

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