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Forum Contributor 2013-2019
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Enjoyed reading this thread, which I missed when it was originally posted. I had exactly the same experiences as garyinla with the whole sitting in/jam session scene when I was trying to come up as a full-time musician in the 70s in the Boston area. With tons of sax players trying to do the jazz/blues thing, the only steady paid work I could get was with a show band backing a disco singer. Jazz/blues paid nothing much. I could not do that for very long (really hated wearing those sequined jump suits), and ended up getting out of the music business for a "real" job and stopped playing entirely for 35 years. My financial goals were to become wealthy enough to 1) take philanthropy seriously and 2) work as a full-time musician. And I finally got there (well, the musician part anyway). For the past 10 years I've been gigging for $25-50/night a few nights per month with an R&B band and a jam band, and usually (but not always) playing for free or for tips with a couple of jazz bands. And enjoying every minute. I do know a lot of full-time professional musicians here, and I gig or sit in with some of them occasionally, and all of them have some other music-related gig going on in addition to performing full-time (teaching, recording studio, instrument tech, etc.).

It was a tough business 50 years ago and I guess not much has changed.
 
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