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  • Noob

Hi there,

My names Will. I'm the lead guitarist in a punk-rock band called "BlackJack". The reason I joined a forum is that I wanted some advice from some people about some trouble I'm having!

You see I just got my GCSE results (so i'm 16 to those not from England!) and they were pretty good and I was really pleased. However this has caused problems for me because my parents have even higher expectations of me to do something academic and high-paying!! I don't think they really take me that seriously when I say "I want to be a musician" because they think it's just a phase, all be it one that's been going on for about 6 years! But anyway my point is, today I was in the car and the thought hit me that soon I'm gonna need to make up my mind about life soon and I beleive that if I want to be a musician I really HAVE to throw myself into it you know? No-one made it with half arsed attempts!! And i've always thought the more you think "This is a pipe dream" the less it's going to happen, and I want this band to succeed so much I can't explain it, but I just feel that it's kind of risky because If i really go for it my grades might drop and then if I don't make it i'm in the mud!! Sorry for the gabble but it's such a dillema for me and I needed some other people with more experience to talk to!



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Well that's a nice entry! :)

TBH - not many people strike it big in the music industry, so if you have an attachment to material things, you may want to think twice.

Also, if you have a good head for studying, I would go for it. If you change your mind at any time, it will be less easy later on than now - this is the time to learn, most people find it suddenly much harder going at 27 or up, plus all the distractions of adulthood (family etc).

Maybe combine it somehow - take up some main study to keep parents at bay and possibly the chimney smoking quite nicely later, and do some serious music study as a second study - whatever you decide in a couple of years (go for a business career or music) it can only help to have solid qualifications on both ends.

Zappa could read harmonies just as easily as write a good solo, for instance. He did finish his studies, even went to Europe for them IIRC. I remember some interview with one of his near-centenarian teachers, and they were full of praise at his clear-headedness as a student. Gah. Booooooring. :P

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Hi Will

I agree with Rofl... not many make it big. I'd say very very very very few.

My advice, get your grades, because grades give you options. It's only 9 months study, which in the scheme of things is nothing. After school is a different thing, you could postpone further education, but colleges and universities are great places to play in a band and to build a fan base.

Anyway, meanwhile you can still play guitar, even play in a band, write songs and find out a bit of the actual business aspect of the music business. Just now you are trying to make a choice with little knowledge but with desire tempting you. So lets just say, it's not an either or situation. Get grades, go to college and play in a band.

Being honest my guess is you have neither the experience or money to make the most of your musical chances. Take a little time, make contacts, learn about the business, who is who locally and what they can do for you. Learn how bands market themselves etc. That can all be done while getting grades and further education qualifications.

One point to consider... a higher paid job could help fund your musical career.

Have you considered a college course in performance/music industry etc? there are lots of college and uni courses in these areas now... and they will definitely help your understanding and in making contacts.

Welcome to Songstuff!



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  • Noob

I guess i'm very lucky really though because my school is very musical! In the past five years we have given the world- charliesimpson/fightstar, harry judd/mcfly and two members from elliot minor!! This means we also have a world class recording studio at the school which is awesome and at our disposal for free, plus we have a battle of the bands competition comming up!!

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That sounds like you are very lucky indeed, to learn Music in school is awesome. ROLF and John are right, banking on a career in Music NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE!! does nothing but limit your options. Money makes the world go around, even the Music world. Concentrating on a good career, perhaps in the biz and maintaining your chops is the way to go. It is a hard road, but it is possible to get both going, but right now IMHO you should make your studies your top priority.

Welcome to Songstuff [smiley=bounce.gif]

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You must also realise that the great majority of musicians have a full time job and play regularly in a band! A good job will enable you to afford new gear, better transport and buy more beer. Study well, get a good job, and keep playing in a band! It doesn't have to be either or. I played for well over 20 years in various bands whilst holding down a full time ocupation.

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Being in a suxxessful band and being a musician, 99.999% of the time, are completely different things.

Being 'successful' in a band is a totally random lottery surrounded by the fog of myth.

Being a musician involves a career path like any other skill discipline.

Both paths demand commitment.

But the first one rarely pays out - even though, when it does, just like a lottery it can pay out big.

All the musicians of my acquaintance - and I know many - are 'successful' to the simple extent that they have each to varying degrees been able to achieve basic accoutrements of comfort like home, family, vehicle, regular vacations, and peer recognition too - yet they don't feature in the hit parade so you probably wouldn't hear of them.

But they are always working and playing.

If you want to be a musician you need to get on your bike and pedal in a more consciously productive direction.

Edited by Lazz
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Welcome to Songstuff :)

Here's my take on it, saying much the same as the others...

I was thinking a bit like you a few (now 4-5 :o) years ago, and had a chance to make a completely new start as I was moving out of my parents place at the same time (long story!), but what I realised is that if I got myself qualified in a line of work that I enjoy (I've gone for engineering cause I like a lot of the work that involves) then I would be able to fund any future interest, be it philosophy, music, mountain biking or horse racing!! (guess which one of those wasn't on my list?!)

4 or 5 years down the line I am happy with the decision - I can (once I sort a little bad decision unrelated to the major one I'm happy with!) earn my keep and then some, and can use the 'then some' to buy pedals, mics etc, meaning I can be relaxed about the money aspect, and still have good fun...

Most musical people I know have been in various bands throughout their studies at college, and some at uni too, so while you may not strike worldwide success while studying, you are at least prepared should the music line NOT provide all you need... As an idea, to stay housed and alive you need to be earning at least £500 a month, and that's gonna be living on little food in a crappy house - can you be certain just your music will provide that? And supermarket work gets depressing after 12 months, trust me!!

I don't wanna put you off music, cause it's great, just don't expect it to fulfill your needs right away, or all the time...

Good luck with decision making, I hate them, far worse than waiting for exam results...! :)


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