Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Amateurs — How often do you perform?

A few definitions of different types of musicians to clarify the inquiry:
  • Professional — Musical activity (performing, teaching, writing, etc.) is your exclusive or primary way of making a living. Buying and/or selling gear is not what I mean by musical activity, so you could be a professional music store owner or mouthpiece maker and still be an amateur musician.
  • Semiprofessional — Musical activity is not your primary way of making a living, but you engage it in regularly (e.g., weekly gigs or lessons) and typically get paid.
  • Amateur — Musical activity is more of an avocation than a primary or secondary occupation, and you typically do not get paid, although you may on occasion. Can include a retired pro or semipro who now performs with an amateur group.
This question is addressed to people who are out of school, because student musicians constitute an entirely separate group.

Fellow amateur saxophonists, how often you do perform in a typical year? I'm referring to formally scheduled concerts or gigs to which members of the public are invited, not jam sessions with friends, rehearsals, etc. In my case, it looks as though I'll be playing at about 15 events in 2014 between concert band and sax quintet. (Sometimes we do both at the same event, but I'm counting each of those events as only one performance.) I'm curious about whether that number is high, low, or average.

Btw, I wanted to post this in the Learning, Playing, Performance, Teaching Discussion subforum, but there's no appropriate category there.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,367 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I average 14 performances per year between community band/choir and community theater pit orchestra.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
3,120 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I'm probably somewhere between the amateur and the semi-pro, with 40-50 gigs/year. 15-20 with 2 big bands, sometimes unpaid; the rest mainly paid party/cocktail/wedding/... gigs in small formats, duet with a piano, or + bass, or + bass & drums.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
Joined
·
4,344 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I'm an amateur, but get paid for our gigs, about 40 a year
 

·
Administrator Emeritus
Joined
·
18,247 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I currently play only in one amateur (big) band and we have about 5-10 payed gigs a year. The money is not flowing back to the members directly, but is used to cover expenses for conductor, rehearsal room and music installation hire for gigs.

Would love to play and perform more (also in other bands) and did that in the past, but finding the time for that now is a big issue for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I am definitely an amateur, and I play with a concert band at work. I'd say we perform about 12 times a year. We play at company town halls, the company Christmas music program at a local theater. Our company also does a brown-bag concert series that we play at, and there is a performing arts competition here in Kansas City that we play as well.

The only payment we get is the occasional free food.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I'm an amateur, but get paid for our gigs, about 40 a year
By my reckoning, that makes you a semiprofessional. At least I'd certainly consider myself a semipro rather than an amateur if I got paid for a gig almost every week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I currently play only in one amateur (big) band and we have about 5-10 payed gigs a year. The money is not flowing back to the members directly, but is used to cover expenses for conductor, rehearsal room and music installation hire for gigs.
Yes, that's the way it works with our concert band as well. For most concerts, the band either gets an appearance fee from the venue, or we sell tickets ourselves. But that money goes into the band's coffers; the band members don't get paid. (There's an exception when the band plays at a large local amusement park, and the band's fee is paid in free tickets for members and their families instead in cash. :))

Our sax quintet sometimes gets paid, but more often not. We generally just leave it up to the event organizer. In this case, any payment does get divided up among the five of us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I am definitely an amateur, and I play with a concert band at work. I'd say we perform about 12 times a year. We play at company town halls, the company Christmas music program at a local theater. Our company also does a brown-bag concert series that we play at, and there is a performing arts competition here in Kansas City that we play as well.
That's an interesting arrangement. How big is the band? How big is the employer? I'm not aware of any company-sponsored musical ensembles in my locale, although the total number of musical groups around here is huge (various professional groups, university ensembles, community bands and orchestras, etc.).

I once tried to organize an in-house musical group at a previous employer. It's tough to do much with sax, trumpet, and harmonica.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

Fellow amateur saxophonists, how often you do perform in a typical year? I'm referring to formally scheduled concerts or gigs to which members of the public are invited, not jam sessions with friends, rehearsals, etc. In my case, it looks as though I'll be playing at about 15 events in 2014 between concert band and sax quintet. (Sometimes we do both at the same event, but I'm counting each of those events as only one performance.) I'm curious about whether that number is high, low, or average.
You're going to receive skewed results in this thread, because people who actually gig are probably much more likely to respond. The fact of the matter as I see it, is that the majority of amateurs (not just saxophonists, but any other instrument as well) probably didn't play a single formally scheduled concert/gig in the last year. Most of them probably just play for themselves and family members, or attend jam sessions with friends or other random musicians. And that's fine.

My guess is that at 15 events per year, you are definitely on the high side for an amateur.

Me - I played 4 gigs in the past 8 months, but I'm not currently in a band, so I don't have anything scheduled for the rest of 2014 yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

I play about 25 gigs per year, mostly paid (but typically very little $$). I'm a regular player in one big band, sub in a couple of others, and play in a sextet doing a mix of original instrumentals and vocal standards. The sextet is getting busier and the big band less so, but 25/yr seems to be the number and about all I can handle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

You're going to receive skewed results in this thread, because people who actually gig are probably much more likely to respond. The fact of the matter as I see it, is that the majority of amateurs (not just saxophonists, but any other instrument as well) probably didn't play a single formally scheduled concert/gig in the last year. Most of them probably just play for themselves and family members, or attend jam sessions with friends or other random musicians. And that's fine.
If you play bass guitar and don't have a steady gig you are looked down upon as someone who is stuck in mommy's basement and won't ever get anywhere in life. :baby: Also, if you play originals, you better get in line for social security because no one wants to hear your ****.

That's my actual experience on the EB side. It makes me furious, and if sax is anything like it (sax players also in high demand I think?), that may also explain a certain refusal to post.

As for me, my average is at a nice fat zero, and I like it that way. After my last band broke up (I played bass in that one), I lost all interest in actively gigging, and have met a lot of hostility for that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

You're going to receive skewed results in this thread, because people who actually gig are probably much more likely to respond.
I suppose that's possible, but then again this isn't a scientific survey. I'm already getting skewed results by asking SOTW members (self-selected for a high degree of interest in their musical activities) rather than everyday amateur musicians.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

As for me, my average is at a nice fat zero, and I like it that way. After my last band broke up (I played bass in that one), I lost all interest in actively gigging, and have met a lot of hostility for that.
If you play alone, what do you play? I'm basically an amateur classical musician, so even if I didn't have ensembles to play in, I would be fine just playing standard repertory material at home on sax and clarinet, maybe getting my wife to accompany me on piano sometimes. Do you play along with records, or just jam on bass by yourself?

I've tried to talk my brother, a trumpet player, into joining a band, but I can't imagine directing "hostility" at him or anyone else for preferring not to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

Currently, my only gig is tenor 2 in a big band. I'm right in there with LostConn, bandmommy and mrepeebee at 10-12 gigs per year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,862 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

Usually 4 gigs a year with a big band. I just started subbing in a 2nd big band on alto1 (I'm tenor 1 in the other one). So that may go up to 8 gigs. In previous years I have also subbed on my teacher's quartet gig, and also sat in with him a couple of times a month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

If you play alone, what do you play? I'm basically an amateur classical musician, so even if I didn't have ensembles to play in, I would be fine just playing standard repertory material at home on sax and clarinet, maybe getting my wife to accompany me on piano sometimes. Do you play along with records, or just jam on bass by yourself?

I've tried to talk my brother, a trumpet player, into joining a band, but I can't imagine directing "hostility" at him or anyone else for preferring not to.
Well, I currently am in a band (playing keys, bass and sax), but we're a studio-only thing and only two people. Besides my unwillingness, it would also be pretty much impossible to perform our music live unless we resort to prerecorded tracks or training five to six people to fill our spots.

Thus, when I'm alone, I'm writing my own stuff if I don't jam on a standard I particularly enjoy. But that is seen as a breadless endeavor in the bass world, which is highly competitive compared to sax (you guys take it easy, I like that). So, unless you're willing to pump eigth note roots to worn-out rock songs all night at basically the same tempo, you're branded a loser who will never have money and women thrown at them (they do like their superficial rock star stereotypes! Good thing I'm not in it for money or fame.). I've actually had people tell me that if I'm unwilling to cater to the lowest common denominator, I might as well give up music in the first place - but there's so much more to music than being the human jukebox for drunk bar patrons who couldn't care less.

Now, playing jazz is a whole different world but there's no scene around here for me to break into. Tough luck, but it gave me the opportunity to start something different, something I actually enjoy doing.

Sorry for going offtopic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Amateurs — How often do you perform?

Thus, when I'm alone, I'm writing my own stuff if I don't jam on a standard I particularly enjoy. But that is seen as a breadless endeavor in the bass world, which is highly competitive compared to sax (you guys take it easy, I like that). So, unless you're willing to pump eigth note roots to worn-out rock songs all night at basically the same tempo, you're branded a loser who will never have money and women thrown at them (they do like their superficial rock star stereotypes! Good thing I'm not in it for money or fame.). I've actually had people tell me that if I'm unwilling to cater to the lowest common denominator, I might as well give up music in the first place - but there's so much more to music than being the human jukebox for drunk bar patrons who couldn't care less.
That's pretty ridiculous advice to be receiving, and it's sad for the people giving it to be so jaded. Of course, the beauty of being an amateur is not getting (or heeding, if you do happen to get some) dumb advice like that. Amateurism is the perfect combination of already having given up music (as a potential full-time career) and never having to give up music (as a lifestyle). :)
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top