Posted by Joe Baker on March 05, 2004 at 15:48:42:
In Reply to: Re: Life Choices... Passion vs Practical posted by Rick Denney on March 05, 2004 at 14:05:34:
Wow, Rick, you said just about everything I wanted to say -- as usual -- much better than I'd have said it.
By way of another testimonial, though: until the last two years, my every waking fantasy was to get out of the business I'm in. ANY other job surely would be better. I started feeling that way when I was just about Ben's age, and wasted 10 years increasingly wishing I were doing something else. Building houses, lanscape design, restaurant management, you name it I fantasized about doing it. Then, one day I looked around and realized I had gotten EXACTLY the life I always wanted. I had paid a price for it: doing a job that wasn't always interesting. I had dropped my music major because I wanted to be a good family man (you don't hear that term much any more, btw -- pity). And here I am, happily married with three kids. I wanted to travel outside my home area, and I've spent extended time (more than a couple of months) in several different states around the country. I wanted to make a comfortable living, and I do. I could have done "better" in any one of those areas, but not without doing worse in some other one. When I finally soaked that in, that I had chosen my priorities and gotten what was really important to me, I made the choice to start being content with my job -- and I am, because I recognize it as pivotal to all the things that are really important to me!
Whenever I hear someone ask if they should pursue a life as a professional musician, I ask them the questions that helped me to decide:
1. Is there any other way of making a living that could ever make you happy? and
2. If it came right down to it, would you be willing to live the rest of your life single and poor in order to be a professional musician?
If the answer to the first is 'yes' OR the answer to the second is 'no', find another path.
One final thought: Sean Chisham was, I think, about your age when he got serious about practicing several hours every morning and night for auditions. A couple of years later, he's in a DC band, married with a young-un, and making a good living. I don't think he went very long, if at all, unemployed between his computer job and the Army band.
Joe Baker, who observes that there are many interesting paths available to a 28 year old college grad BESIDES professional musician, and many places to play besides NYC.