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A more defined path...?


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As we all know, there is no certain "path" to follow, to break into the music business. For those who have already "broken in," share your story of how you did. And, for those who have a better understanding of the "undefined path," please share maybe a guideline that would help bassists considering to go the "undefined path."


Maybe for those bassists that are in the "rock star" "phase," this could be a good dose of reality. Please share.




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I don't know if I have found "a way in." But I am a professional musician. Of course, much of my income comes by teaching...but I do make a significant income by playing.


Luck is no more than preparation...and being in the right place at the right time. But you can be in that "right place" all the time...and wait for the right time.


The ONLY thing you can do to "break in" is to prepare yourself to take advantage of things as they come along.


That means practice, purchases, lessons and other training. It also means not closing any doors.


One of the best "ways in" it music college. Of course, you have to play in college...but most college players begin to get offered gigs. I remember my first paid orchestra gig.


I came upon URB classical playing late...I had played electric for some time. My first year of being a bass major, I sat in the back of the section and tried to hide. I also practiced; in fact, I joined a couple of freebie community orchestras to increase my skill.


Second year of study, I assumed the same role, but in fact, the orchestra director noticed my rehearsal preparation. Also, 3 of the previous years top players had left the orchestra. That left 3 of us...the other 2 were All-Staters on bass...I was a beginner. However, by the first concert, I was principal bass...a position I never relenquished for the remainder of my college career.


So, when a local church called the college needing string players for "Messiah," I was offered the gig. Paid $75...1 rehearsal and 2 performances...had to drive 45 miles one way...had to buy me a set of tux shoes (which ate up my money!)...


Still, I was excited....and really played pretty well. And I took home a check with my name on it.


Pretty much went this way for 5 years...Christmas and Easter gigs at churches...occasionaly a musical. Playing lots of free gigs...meeting and impressing lots of people...pressing a lot of flesh.


So...I met 2 junior college teachers by playing for free...15 years down the road, they are hiring me to teach bass at the college.


So...I started teaching privately with the recommendation of my orchestra director...that may have been 500 students ago. Because of that, I was hired by a district to do a bass clinic for their string teachers. That guy was impressed; 10 years later, when I was looking for a teaching job, he jumped for joy and immediately offered me the best school in the district.


So...my wife was nursery director of a local church. They got a new music minister in...and this music minister respected my wife. So my wife tells the music minister that I'm a gigging bassist with a degree in church music..and they try me out. 15 years later I'm a weekly employee playing in their praise band.


So I'm in a convention for music teachers and strike up a conversation with an exhibitor selling wooden necklaces. I needed a gift for my wife...he was in the process of seperating himself from a troublesome bass player. 3 months later I'm on a plane to France to play bluegrass during the '98 World Cup. Been playing with that group ever since.


And that's how ya break in. Constant preparation, putting your self in "right places."


What's MOST important:


1. Competency (ya don't have to be flashy)

2. Be a genuine nice guy...no attitudes, drugs, selfishness....be someone they can count on.


I'm still a nice guy. I still play for free. I still politic. I still have a blast playing every music I get the opportunity to.


And, I still get called for the paid gigs.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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