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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!
I wanted to start a new thread for players like me to discus and maybe even make good contacts.

So, I am 18yrs-old guy from northern europe and I just began study saxophone in "Helsinki Pop&Jazz Conservatory" to become a pro. It is lower degree than college, but everything we do there is related to music.
Going there after high school allows me to practice a lot more! yesterday I practiced 8 hours! Have to go practice now also, so I cant write much longer now...

To get discussion started I pop these questions: "Where you study?" "How long you practice and what do you practice?" "have you faced some problems?"

Greets, Tuure
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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To get discussion started I pop these questions: "Where you study?" "How long you practice and what do you practice?" "have you faced some problems?"
Where you study doesn't matter. If you can get gigs or sit in on jam sessions, that can be as good as any university if your aim is to be professional. You will learn the art of getting on with other musicians, self promotion and what is really required in the real world as a pro.

It's refreshing to see they have the word "pop" in "Helsinki Pop&Jazz Conservatory", so many courses are out there teaching jazz to thousands of musicians who all start out thinking they can be play jazz as a professional. How many professional jazz musicians do you think there are in Finland?

Courses can be good provided you also get out there and do the playing. The advantages of a college is that you are surrounded by loads of other keen young musicians with (hopefully) good facilities such as rehearsal rooms, studios, equipment. Those things can be as important as what you learn in the classes and must take advantage of them while they are there.

I would suggest if you intends to be a pro, then 8 hours a day at your age is about right (that's what I did), but you must also do some playing of actual music so get a band together with friends and do some gigs. Learn to network and promote what you are and do.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the post Pete! Yes I know that the school you go doesn't give any kind of rank or value as a player, it was just for to get discussion started... but anyway, in finland chances to make living by playing jazz is minimal. I think there is about 20-50 people who make decent living with playing JUST jazz in finland.
Thats why I was planning to move somewhere else later, maybe there are more jobs in southern europe.
 

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I think there is about 20-50 people who make decent living with playing JUST jazz in finland.
That's higher than I would have thought, and probably higher than southern Europe. I'm sure it's higher then the UK. However I wouldn't mind betting that most of those supplement their jazz income with teaching and/or commercial work.
 

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Yeah JUST playing jazz (excluding smooth jazz/crossover stuff) and doing nothing else for income? 20-50 maybe in the world...
It depends what you call jazz. I know a few musicians in France who are not "famous" or anything who make a more than decent living playing only "improvised" music. That includes playing the soundtrack to a silent movie live, live poetry / music gigs and all these sorts of "alternative" gigs. Beats playing in a wedding band or teaching...
 

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I am not a pro but from what I got from talking to teachers and friends, here in germany and also in northern europe, chances are better - and income higher - than danperez suggests (and also better than in other countries). We do have serveral big bands like WDR big band, NDR big band (I might call this some kind of jazz). The musicians are hired and payed by the state - a full income (i.e. Herb Geller took this 'gig' for many years and has 'retired' some years ago - with a full pension). I do not say that this is the average situation a pro is to expect, but I guess these (lucky) people alone count about 50 in germany.
 

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Dan has only made the first pessimistic comment that is INEVITABLE for a post with this name...I personally play chinese pop music,nose flute,breakdance,cumbia,slash punk,rap in french,bungee jump while playing,even the saxophone just to get a gig...SO WHAT???!!!

anyways the point Pete made is the key...getting out and playing with people,as well as seeing how other people think about or approach music is what it's all about...school can be a little too "serious" at times
 

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A degree in Biz management and some sales courses are probably better classes to take if you want to be a music pro. It's all about selling yourself more than selling the music. You do need to be a decent player but the key is being a "go-to" part of your local music scene. From there, you can go regional, national or even global but folks need to know who you are, that you can play, and you're easy to work with.
 

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It depends what you call jazz. I know a few musicians in France who are not "famous" or anything who make a more than decent living playing only "improvised" music. That includes playing the soundtrack to a silent movie live, live poetry / music gigs and all these sorts of "alternative" gigs. Beats playing in a wedding band or teaching...
I'd rather do a wedding than back up a beat poet, but to each his own. I was referring to "playing jazz" meaning doing gigs where you are the center of attention. Playing for a soundtrack sounds really fun, but I wouldn't have thought of that as a jazz gig. If it is, so much the better... those few friends are part of the 20-50 worldwide.

Dan has only made the first pessimistic comment that is INEVITABLE for a post with this name...I personally play chinese pop music,nose flute,breakdance,cumbia,slash punk,rap in french,bungee jump while playing,even the saxophone just to get a gig...SO WHAT???!!!

anyways the point Pete made is the key...getting out and playing with people,as well as seeing how other people think about or approach music is what it's all about...school can be a little too "serious" at times
I don't think it's pessimistic at all... I know people who do nothing else but play jazz for a living, and I know many more at the top of their game who also teach, do club dates, pits, tour with pop, R&B, and hip hop groups, etc. They're making a living playing, but not just playing jazz.
 

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A degree in Biz management and some sales courses are probably better classes to take if you want to be a music pro. It's all about selling yourself more than selling the music. You do need to be a decent player but the key is being a "go-to" part of your local music scene. From there, you can go regional, national or even global but folks need to know who you are, that you can play, and you're easy to work with.
I think this is a good synopsis. When I was younger I always thought that if you just worked hard enough and became a great player everything else would fall into place. It just isn't true! Really, only saxophone nerds like us know who the really great players are. Almost nobody else knows or cares! The rest of the world, including music business type people just want someone that can do the job and not screw up. Most of the really great players are teaching now, at least part time.
 

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Oh, and I should add on a kind of humorous note - secret #1 to becoming a pro - if you play a gig and the piano player, drummer or leader etc. sucks you still have to maintain a good attitude and smile a lot or you will not be called again. You also don't want to play much better than the best player in the band or perhaps even the leader who is usually the worst player on the gig. If you upstage someone you will not be called again. I'm sort of joking but not really. Attitude is just about everything. You can be really great and have a bad attitude and you won't get many gigs. I've seen with people many times.
 

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Oh, and I should add on a kind of humorous note - secret #1 to becoming a pro - if you play a gig and the piano player, drummer or leader etc. sucks you still have to maintain a good attitude and smile a lot or you will not be called again. You also don't want to play much better than the best player in the band or perhaps even the leader who is usually the worst player on the gig. If you upstage someone you will not be called again. I'm sort of joking but not really. Attitude is just about everything. You can be really great and have a bad attitude and you won't get many gigs. I've seen with people many times.
Yep...

I've said it several times on this forum: be nice, be interesting, show up on time, know your place on the gig and don't step on the leader/conductor/contractor's toes. KNOW THE GIG AND PLAY THE MUSIC THE GIG CALLS FOR!! Nothing annoys me more than being on an R&B gig and some idiot is playing bebop over everything (or vice versa)

Learn to play your *** off and then learn how to talk to people about anything BUT music. Most of your time will be spent hanging, not playing, so if you're a drag to hang with you definitely won't be getting called back.


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- Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I got to a gig recently and there was already another sax player there. (it was a one-player gig) As I was wondering what to do out loud, he said, "it's not your problem - just follow the code." I said, "What code?" His reply, "Show up. Set up. Shut up." So I did. The band leader payed us both.
 

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Yeah JUST playing jazz (excluding smooth jazz/crossover stuff) and doing nothing else for income? 20-50 maybe in the world...
I disagree, here in holland there are about that many people who just live of jazz alone.
 

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You guys are out there. I probably personally know a hundred musicians that just play jazz and make a living.

Oh they may have students or whatever but they are not compromising their art.

What is pragmatic is not for the artist.

I've seen guys living someone else's dream and end up an alcoholic or drug addict because they weren't being true to themselves.

Why can't you guys understand that it's not a one size fits all deal.

What works for some guys will send other cats to a mental institution.

If the guy wants to play jazz then let him play jazz.

Although you better double up on the practice time. Or at least practice 12 hours a day for a few years. You only get out of it what you put into it.

Don't worry about this young man. If he decides later that he wants to do something else then jazz will give him a great foundation.

Please don't step on someone's dreams.

It reminds me of the classic Hollywood scene where an artist is brought to the
office of a gold chain wearing producer and the " commercial " has some guy going in another direction before the guy sits down.

Hey no offense to guys that play all styles. I admire players who can do it.

But you must understand everyone's spirit is not the same.

Why do guys on this site project their lifestyle on someone else.

I see this all the time on here in a different context where someone comes on here and says they want to find an 82 Z and somebody says he should get a Super 20 or Selmer or whatever totally ignoring the guy's request and insulting his intelligence.

Hey if the guy wants to play all styles and write jingles, cool.

If he wants to follow the jazz greats then that's cool too.

You want to live life with as few regrets as possible.

Jazz is not for the timid but the rewards are fantastic if you can hang in there.

To know that you are living your dream and not another guy's.
 

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You guys are out there. I probably personally know a hundred musicians that just play jazz and make a living.

Oh they may have students or whatever but they are not compromising their art.

What is pragmatic is not for the artist.

I've seen guys living someone else's dream and end up an alcoholic or drug addict because they weren't being true to themselves.

Why can't you guys understand that it's not a one size fits all deal.

What works for some guys will send other cats to a mental institution.

If the guy wants to play jazz then let him play jazz.

Although you better double up on the practice time. Or at least practice 12 hours a day for a few years. You only get out of it what you put into it.

Don't worry about this young man. If he decides later that he wants to do something else then jazz will give him a great foundation.

Please don't step on someone's dreams.

It reminds me of the classic Hollywood scene where an artist is brought to the
office of a gold chain wearing producer and has some guy going in another direction
before the guy sits down.

Hey no offense to guys that play all styles. I admire players who can do it.

But you must understand everyone's spirit is not the same.
Amen
 

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Hey if the guy wants to play all styles and write jingles, cool.

If he wants to follow the jazz greats then that's cool too.

You want to live life with as few regrets as possible.

Jazz is not for the timid but the rewards are fantastic if you can hang in there.

guy's.
I agree with this but would like to know what those "fantastic" rewards are?
 

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if you play a gig and the piano player, drummer or leader etc. sucks you still have to maintain a good attitude and smile a lot or you will not be called again.
I know you were being humorous, but if the piano player (or bassist or drummer) sucks I would be glad not to be called again.
Always strive to work with players that are better than yourself, IMHO.
 
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