The above link will take you to a PDF document that is entitled "Changing the Beat" - A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians in New Orleans, New York and San Francisco
. The survey is designed to address a long-standing question: How best to support the continuing growth and development of jazz and the musicians who create it. It is interesting that trombonist, educator David Baker heads the list of the Advisory Committee.
I believe any aspiring jazz musician should read this so that they know what they are in for. The summary states that “Clearly, the jazz life, for all its artistic rewards, can be difficult. Many jazz musicians are woefully underpaid – almost 66 percent earned less than $7,000 in the year 2000 for their work as jazz musicians in the San Francisco area, according to the RDS study – especially relative to the level of higher education that they have attained. The study also showed that while a respectable percentage of union members had retirement plans and health coverage, more than half of the musicians surveyed through RDS had no retirement plans or no health coverage.”
Although this is a desperate situation in America, I am surprised it is not worse based on what I know about the working life of professional jazz musicians in Australia. The suggestions from musicians for improving the situation were interesting although I don’t see any major new ideas that will lead to vast improvement.
The information is five years out of date but I do not think things have changed much.
Any suggestions not included in the survey?