Posted by steve dedman on January 31, 2000 at 23:08:59:
In Reply to: realistic question about this profession posted by Mac on January 31, 2000 at 21:57:07:
I'm not a pro (yet), but I think I can address your question from the standpoint of someone who wanted and still wants to play professionally.
The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you can be happy, satisfied and fulfilled doing anything other than performing. If the answer is yes, consider your career choices carefully. If the answer is no, then by all means give every bit of yourself to your art, and plan on suffering for a few years until you get the gig that will pay you enough to live on.
The problem is, there are precious few of those gigs. I don't know of a pro player that doesn't also teach. The two go hand-in-hand. Every teacher that I have ever studied with has told me that they learn as much or more about their own performance abilities through teaching as they do through playing. Music can and should be a gift from you to the listener. Think about the joy and satisfaction you feel after a good performance. What a privilege to be able to share with students the techniques and abilities necessary to acheive that feeling! There are far too few knowledgeable, caring and dedicated teachers out there.
There are plenty of fabulous semi-pro players out there as well. They rush home after a day at their "real" job, kiss the wife, pat the kids on the head, suck down a sandwich and get to their small, civic orchestra gig in time to warm up and start at 7 PM. Other demands do not allow them to pursue an all-out career as a tubist. But they're fulfilled as a performer, for the most part.
The bottom line is this: play.
If you need to take an "outside" job to pay the bills, so be it. Keep playing. As an accomplished player, you WILL teach at some point or another. Keep playing. Don't quit. I did for three years, and am now pulling double time to catch up to where I think I should be.
The best answer that I can think of is this: prepare yourself for as many musical contingencies as possible, and make your decisions when you need to. You probably don't need to make that decision RIGHT NOW. Get some more experience, and make your decisions from an educated perspective. There are plenty of pros with music ed degrees. (cliche - I know, but true). If you believe that you have 'The Right Stuff', get after it and don't look back.
Last thing - you don't need to spend quite so much on a "decent" horn. Plenty of gigs have been won on well-used -186's that cost the owner < $5k. Get what you sound the best on.
Keep your options open, and good luck.
Steve "I wish I had listened to this advice years ago" Dedman