It seems like every kid, at some point during those precious days of youth, wants nothing more than to grow up to be a rock star. How many of those kids go on to start garage bands only to end up in careers that never really interest them? Becoming a rock star is not easy. But there are other ways to make a living in music.
For example, have you ever considered becoming a session musician? Unless you are well-versed in the music industry, you may not truly appreciate how important session musicians are to making great music. They actually do most of the heavy lifting that makes rock stars out of average musicians. Without session musicians, pro-quality music just wouldn’t be the same.
You Could Become a Music Teacher
You don’t know me, but I have a lot of personal experience in this area. I joined my first garage band in junior high. Over the next several decades I played in multiple bands that came and went. I have also done my fair share of solo work. But my dreams of becoming a star never came to fruition. Along the way, a lot of people told me I could become a music teacher.
I have nothing against music teachers. In fact, my own music teachers were very influential. But I’m not a classroom kind of guy. Teaching is not my thing. Unfortunately, I never even considered becoming a session musician until long after I had established another career. Sometimes I wonder what could have been had I given the session idea a serious look.
What Session Musicians Do
A session musician plays a supporting role in producing both recorded and live music. Also known as a studio musician, they could play just about any instrument. Session musicians can even be vocalists. They spend much of their time recording tracks for others in the studio setting.
You might have a vocalist with no interest in putting together a full-time band. They record their songs with a slate of session musicians. When it comes time to tour, session musicians accompany them.
The key thing about the session music career is that every gig is temporary. Session musicians do not join a band and stick with it for 5 or 10 years. They are musical guns for hire, so to speak. They are the performing arts mercenaries of the professional music scene.
Working with Producers
Another interesting thing about the session musician career is how musicians interact with music producers. A good producer knows that the same musicians are not ideal for every project. Producers pick and choose musicians on an individual basis.
Take the online recording studio Supreme Tracks. They collaborate with more than two hundred session musicians, some of whom are Grammy winners. Supreme Tracks producers hand-pick each and every musician for each and every project. Doing so gives them maximum control over the finished product.
From the musician’s perspective, you want to make an impression on those producers you enjoy working with. A musician with a particular skill set may prefer to work with producers who specialize in certain musical styles and genres. The important thing for musicians is to develop good working relationships with those producers capable of keeping the projects coming.
You might earnestly want to be a rock star, but it is not working out for you. Go ahead and keep trying, but also consider working as a session musician. You will put food on the table and have a chance to build a long and satisfying career doing something that you’re passionate about.