I feel absolved of doing a write up of last night’s gig because Martin (violin, some guitar and general musical excellence) has already done it. However, he also raises some worthwhile points about the risks involved in such events.
As someone who pursues music as a hobby, it doesn’t really matter that I’ve come away from last night’s gig down the cost of a couple of drinks and chipping in a small amount for one of the rehearsals in a venue where we could test the PA. I’ve had fun and, although I definitely haven’t climbed Mount Double Bass, I’ve managed some steep ascent over the last few months. It’s taken a lot of hours of rehearsal, even more of personal practise and a not inconsiderable amount of travel time (when accounting for loading and unloading the car) but its a much cheaper way to progress than taking lessons and it is generally enjoyable along the way.
However, I’m not trying to make a living out of it; I’m not even close to covering my expenses. The odd gig where I walk home with some money in my pocket is easily outweighed by the relateed expenses. If I was trying to provide income for food, shelter and the numerous other costs that life brings along, non-commercial projects such as The String Project would be a rare luxury. I’d probably end up doing a fair amount of teaching (which I enjoy, earlier comments about experience being cheaper than lessons not withstanding) and having to sign up for monkey suit gigs playing music I’m not interested in (or replaying it until it loses interest and challenge) to even begin to make ends meet.
What was the old quip about how to make a million as a musician? I think it was to start with with two million and, setting aside the few who make disproportionately more money than they could be said to deserve, that probably isn’t far off the truth.