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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceThe Business of Music(Moderator: BGuttman) What is a realistic salary for a professional trombonist?
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SKAzz

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« Reply #60 on: Feb 12, 2018, 06:32AM »

If you're looking for a trombone only salary, check out cruise ships and disney.  non-union, but offer an actual salary, housing, medical..etc.

If you want to be a gigging player, then you'll need to look towards metropolis areas.  (nyc, chicago, nashville, DC/Baltimore, LA...) There you can often find lots of music jobs, plus lots of students to teach lessons to, and lots of bands looking for horn players.  Some will pay well, some will pay beer money only, some will not pay.  Some will ask you to chip in on the weekly rehearsal space. 

If you can sight read well, you'll do ok. 

I've known more than a few musicians in DC/Baltimore and NYC whom are also IT, or Software types.  They have basic coding skills, and IT/Software allows them to make their own schedule, work from anywhere, and gives them those daytime hours when needed to get to a rehearsal. (actors do this as well, besides serving tables)

However, you can also work in licensing, artist representation, artist management and booking, and those jobs, thought "desk" jobs, also have employers that are interested in you being you and playing out.

I went into music on the technical side, and have always used trombone as my back up/beer money.  If you can learn AutoCAD there's lots of money there as a draftsperson.  But since I can read pretty well, can show up on time, sober, and do what people ask, I've been offered nice gigs playing weddings (those are really fun, at least to me), ska, big band, etc.  And those lead to playing for a few studios around DC and Baltimore. Which lead to other gigs backing groups.  Now it didn't pay my rent. (thank heavens...DC rent is more than NYC now)  But having another skillset allowed me to do all the gigs I want to, keep the awful ones away, and allow me to have time off, and all the other adult things associated with a "real" job, but still keep the artistic/fun parts of musician life.

I know lots of musicians in NYC, who make a living in the music industry, but many are not just players.  They hustle together 2 other skillsets besides playing, and make their living in the industry, but not simply rehearsing and playing alone. 

Even the ones I know in DC who are in military bands, all play in other groups.  Because while they make $50k-65K, its still really expensive to live there.
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« Reply #61 on: Feb 12, 2018, 11:51AM »

Honestly, I would not advise someone to go into a full time professional career.  Aside from a VERY small percentage, players struggle from month to month.  I was fortunate enough to be able to make a comfortable living for about 5 years straight... played all over the world, and broke into the studio scene.  After 5 years the calls got less due to smaller bands, or no bands at all.  I saw the writing on the wall and went into education.  I have never looked back.  I still have my studio connections and also play regularly in a quality regional orchestra.  Iím able to have a secure income with insurance... and I play the jobs that are quality jobs.  Iím not saying not to go into Music... but I would recommend getting a Music ed degree, and then go to a great Music school for a masters in performance.  Pursue your dreams... but be prepared to take care of yourself and your future family in case that doesnít happen. 
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SaigonSlide
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« Reply #62 on: Feb 12, 2018, 08:14PM »

Idealistically- go for it! Live the 'lush life' and jump in with your feet first.

Realistically- be prepared to sacrifice a lot for your trombone.  This may mean small stuff like going out to eat, getting beers, seeing a movie, spending money on something nice for yourself. It will also mean potentially NOT being able to adequately support kids and a partner, actually purchasing a home, or saving for retirement/college. Travel will probably be limited to gigs, maybe some touring if you're lucky.  I wouldn't consider playing cruises traveling.

I didn't want that situation as a somewhat responsible adult.  I didn't want to have to live my life worrying if I was going to make enough money for next month.  I can't imagine a lot of things more stressful than that.  That's why I chose to play music for myself primarily, and not be forced to depend on it for my income stream.  A job is a job, but music is so much more.
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SKAzz

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« Reply #63 on: Feb 13, 2018, 08:38AM »

There's a point to be made here though, and I tell this to my theatre design students coming out of college.  If you really want to do this stuff, it's way easier to do it while you're young.  Go on tour, play that cruise ship, move to the big city and live off of mac n cheese (yes, you're going to eat lots of it... we all did starting out in the arts based businesses) and playing gigs for little money to start out.  eventually they'll pay more and more as people know you.  Because you can, and you have less riding on your shoulders between the age of 21 and 30.  And you'll build your chops, your business senses about music, and get your name out there without worrying about the house, dog, kids, car, significant other...etc.  Its easier to pick up and move and go try all this stuff when you don't have car payments, and you can work side jobs, while you gig. 

Idealistically- go for it! Live the 'lush life' and jump in with your feet first.

Realistically- be prepared to sacrifice a lot for your trombone.  This may mean small stuff like going out to eat, getting beers, seeing a movie, spending money on something nice for yourself. It will also mean potentially NOT being able to adequately support kids and a partner, actually purchasing a home, or saving for retirement/college. Travel will probably be limited to gigs, maybe some touring if you're lucky.  I wouldn't consider playing cruises traveling.

I didn't want that situation as a somewhat responsible adult.  I didn't want to have to live my life worrying if I was going to make enough money for next month.  I can't imagine a lot of things more stressful than that.  That's why I chose to play music for myself primarily, and not be forced to depend on it for my income stream.  A job is a job, but music is so much more.
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« Reply #64 on: Today at 12:45 PM »

Q: How do you make money with the trombone?

A: Sell it.

It's all about your priorities. If making money is your highest priority, find a nice recession-proof job (I recommend being an undertaker.  Business never dries up.)  If you want something different out of life...
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Temet Nosce
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