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When do you become professional?

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When do you become professional?

Postby Guido3 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:40 pm

At what point do you become a professional musician? Is is when you start earning money through your music or is it when you start making a living from your music? I think it is the latter but someone I know disagrees. What are your views?
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Ruben Janssen » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:49 pm

I'd also go for the latter... I know so many people (including myself) who get small compensations for the projects they do, but I've never considered myself a professional.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby MC Deli » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:47 pm

You mean it is possible to earn a living from music, really?
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:50 pm

Guy7 wrote:At what point do you become a professional musician? Is is when you start earning money through your music or is it when you start making a living from your music? I think it is the latter but someone I know disagrees. What are your views?

It depends what you mean by "professional".

You've heard the term "semi-pro". Does it mean anything to you?
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Guido3 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:00 am

Yes. I have heard the term 'Semi-Pro' and that what I consider myself to be. I earn money from my music but I don't make a living from it.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Steve Hill » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:10 am

Once, I'd have said it's when you make a living from it. Now, I'm not so sure. Lots of people have "portfolio jobs"... a bit of this, a bit of that. Professional actors spend a lot of time waiting at tables...
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Ian Shaw » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:06 am

Interesting question.
I've only recently started making money from it in the last couple of years, but it certainly isn't my living.
I guess I would call myself a semi-pro, whereas I would definitely call myself a professional in my other career which is as a carpenter & joiner. That earns me a living, but if the balance were to tip towards music I would still consider myself a pro in C & joinery even it was for one day a week.

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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby ef37a » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:32 am

A "pro" in any job...

Turns up!
Has equipment that works and has backup kit. THE most unprofessional thing you can do is NOT go on. The sound may not be of the best, might be complete **it but it works.
Is not a prima donna.
Gets paid!
Is well prepared and rehearsed.
Gets on well with others, is helpful, versatile, and safe!
Stays sober.

But most important of all...Turns up!

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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby narcoman » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:21 pm

A pro is paid for what she/he does. That's it!! Might not be the sole income at all....

I mean is Clooney a professional actor or director?
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Folderol » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:48 pm

ef37a wrote:A "pro" in any job...

Turns up!
Has equipment that works and has backup kit. THE most unprofessional thing you can do is NOT go on. The sound may not be of the best, might be complete **it but it works.
Is not a prima donna.
Gets paid!
Is well prepared and rehearsed.
Gets on well with others, is helpful, versatile, and safe!
Stays sober.

But most important of all...Turns up!

Dave.
^ This ^

'kinnel, I'm agreeing with Dave... unreservedly
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby VOLOVIA » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:42 pm

"when I was a boy" the term 'professional' referred to one's skill sets being comparable to those making a living out of it. So, if you were a carpenter who played the guitar like Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin or keys like K. Emerson etc, you were a Pro player, who hadn't 'made it', but still a pro.

Nowadays, it's all about money, like everything else. You are a professional 'singer' if you are sampled, stretched, transposed, and even desexualised on a record or two, or even a chanting vocal talent on top of an electronic beat combo... you are a professional 'singer', 'cause you make money out of it. Stop.

I remember we used to say "oh, he is not a professional musician, he only plays percussions/bass", even in a top band, that's how snob we were. Are?

Thoughts, passing thoughts...
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Commander » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:49 am

Amateur: You have a day job and make music as a hobby.
Semi Pro: You have a day job but you also get paid to make music in the evenings.
Pro: Music is your day job.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby ef37a » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:10 am

Commander wrote:Amateur: You have a day job and make music as a hobby.
Semi Pro: You have a day job but you also get paid to make music in the evenings.
Pro: Music is your day job.

Gottcha! So, if you knock out the odd tune in the afternoon and shelf stack at Sainburies through the night you are a fully fledged pro!

Simples!

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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Folderol » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:37 am

ef37a wrote:
Commander wrote:Amateur: You have a day job and make music as a hobby.
Semi Pro: You have a day job but you also get paid to make music in the evenings.
Pro: Music is your day job.

Gottcha! So, if you knock out the odd tune in the afternoon and shelf stack at Sainburies through the night you are a fully fledged pro!

Simples!

Dave.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:02 am

"At what point do you become a professional musician?"

FWIW...

I was semi-pro for about 4-5 years and as the music earnings increased I set a 'quit the dayjob' target. To build up a savings pot which would allow me to survive for 6 months if everything went wrong and the music failed. That figure was 8k. As soon as that was reached (4 years ago) I jacked in the day job and it has been the best decision I ever made.

The danger is turning pro too early I think before a pattern of earnings has been established.

So yeah, build a buffer and get the timing right and make sure the music earnings can be relied upon. Once you give up a decent day job, there really is no going back.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Dave Gate » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:14 am

I guess that the strict answer is: "when you earn a living at doing what you're doing"; but a lot of people seem to take it as being more like: "when you get paid for doing what you do, and other people take notice of you", which is a different thing all together.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Commander » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:06 pm

ef37a wrote:
Commander wrote:Amateur: You have a day job and make music as a hobby.
Semi Pro: You have a day job but you also get paid to make music in the evenings.
Pro: Music is your day job.

Gottcha! So, if you knock out the odd tune in the afternoon and shelf stack at Sainburies through the night you are a fully fledged pro!

Simples!

Dave.

Yes, that's it! Personally I knock out the odd tune in the afternoon and am a pole dancer by night.

Hope this helps.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Folderol » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:18 pm

Just as a matter of interest, how long does it take people here to record say a 5 minute finished product.

I hear of people saying they created something in a few hours, and their work does indeed seem pretty good (albeit entirely synth). It would take me days, or even a month to do the same
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby tex » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:10 am

When you have the title of "Professor".
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby narcoman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:08 am

Folderol wrote:Just as a matter of interest, how long does it take people here to record say a 5 minute finished product.

I hear of people saying they created something in a few hours, and their work does indeed seem pretty good (albeit entirely synth). It would take me days, or even a month to do the same

From about 4 hours to 3 days. 9 hour days. So I guess from 4 hours to 27 hours!!
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Zukan » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:43 am

Takes me 6 mins. It takes about 1 min to find the right preset on Izotope.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby grab » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:52 am

"A professional" means you make your living from it (see above).

"Professional" means having a professional attitude to what you're doing (also see above).

You can definitely be one without the other, either way round...
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Commander » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:43 am

Folderol wrote:Just as a matter of interest, how long does it take people here to record say a 5 minute finished product.

I hear of people saying they created something in a few hours, and their work does indeed seem pretty good (albeit entirely synth). It would take me days, or even a month to do the same

Depends what sort of track it is. Can take half an hour to write, record and mix some tracks, especially guitar, bass and drum based stuff. On the other hand if I'm composing for orchestra it can take weeks or even Months. I aim for 100 tracks a year though and often hit 150, so I guess that's one every three days at least.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby VOLOVIA » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:58 pm

Sorry to sound patronising, but this is the silliest question on this forum ever.
I could just answer with various "how long is a piece of string..?" etc.
Finished product of what? A symphony, a pop song, a rap, a jazz improvisation, a jingle? What?
How long does it take to paint a picture? Anything, a portrait, a landscape, a fresco, a modern art canvass.. Reaaly!
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby Paul Farrer » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:32 pm

I think the best definition is that you become a professional musician when you don't spend your free time doing music.
i.e. Most amateurs can't wait to be in a recording studio. Professionals wouldn't spend a moment longer there than is absolutely necessary.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby valves4ever » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:52 pm

When HMRC hit you with a schedule D tax demand.....
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:04 pm

bugiolacchi wrote:Sorry to sound patronising, but this is the silliest question on this forum ever.
I could just answer with various "how long is a piece of string..?" etc.
Finished product of what? A symphony, a pop song, a rap, a jazz improvisation, a jingle? What?
How long does it take to paint a picture? Anything, a portrait, a landscape, a fresco, a modern art canvass.. Reaaly!

Yeah, that does indeed sound patronising.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby narcoman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:40 pm

bugiolacchi wrote:Sorry to sound patronising, but this is the silliest question on this forum ever.
I could just answer with various "how long is a piece of string..?" etc.
Finished product of what? A symphony, a pop song, a rap, a jazz improvisation, a jingle? What?
How long does it take to paint a picture? Anything, a portrait, a landscape, a fresco, a modern art canvass.. Reaaly!

he did say record!! Not write. I don't write anything.
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby dubbmann » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:40 pm

ef37a wrote:A "pro" in any job...

Turns up!
Has equipment that works and has backup kit. THE most unprofessional thing you can do is NOT go on. The sound may not be of the best, might be complete **it but it works.
Is not a prima donna.
Gets paid!
Is well prepared and rehearsed.
Gets on well with others, is helpful, versatile, and safe!
Stays sober.

But most important of all...Turns up!

Dave.

one of my favorite music professionalism stories concerns crosby, stills, and nash (not my favorite band but that's another story....). during one gig crosby just disappeared off stage. it was during his maximal coke phase. anyways, stills announces an (unscheduled) intermission and promises they'll be back in 10 minutes. he tears backstage to find crosby, who is in the star lounge doing lines. stills picks up a 30 gallon bucket of icewater that was chillin beers, etc, and pours it over crosby's head, shouting "those people paid good money to see csn and you never pull this sh&t again. i don't give a f&ck if you OD after a gig, but you will NEVER leave a csn stage during a concert again." nice when a star remembers why he's in the biz, and who put him where he is.

cheers,

d
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Re: When do you become professional?

Postby VOLOVIA » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:16 pm

Guys, I think you are kidding me here. Yes, I stand corrected, the post said "..how long does it take to record...". But still, to record a 5 mins piece of music...
What, a piano piece? If you know it, 5 minutes!
You make mistakes, 5 x n times until you get it right.
Are you overdubbing an orchestra instrument by instrument? Forever.
An electronic track? 11:23 minutes unless I call a didgeridoo player, then another 7:24..
Guys, I really thought it was a joke. But you're serious... or just having me on?
In that case, you got me again (as per 'colin s' of last week's)..

By the way, going back to the original query, I thought I made a perfectly valid point, in terms of representing the view, probably very old fashion, that the title of professional could also be linked to the skill levels of the holder. Someone made a point that a professional plumber is still a professional plumber even he is out of work. Someone who can play at the same level of a top session player, for me, he is still a 'pro'.

Unless the query was only academic, and the answer is simple: you are a pro when your main income stream is music related, regardless how good you are in your field. There are so many average musicians populating many pro rock-pop bands, and they are pros because they make money.. I don't consider them so, but who cares of my opinions? Sometimes not even myself!
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