Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Jack Douglas
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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:20 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:55 am
I am 60 and play the guitar for 6 years after having stopped more then 30 years ago. It's my firm intention to do some gigs at regional level after retirement, three or four years from now. Not for the money, just for fun and "to stay tuned". As a guitar player I need serious targets like preparation of the next lesson with my teacher or playing at the 70th birthday of my mother-in-law. Of course I can never compete with a professional musician. But - hopefully - I will be good enough to entertain an easy and casual audience.
I applaud you for your energy and enthusiasm. You inspire me. The serious preparation you invest for an upcoming lesson or anticipation of playing at your mother-in-law's 70th Birthday is inspiring for me. You bring joy to us older, ambitious players. Thank you!
On a personal note, I played several pieces at my Rotary Club lunch meeting. The reception I received was gratifying and enthusiastic. The owner of the Facility asked if I might play at the Sunday Brunch. My repertoire is at the moment a wee bit short to take that on, but I was flattered that he asked. Unfortunately a shoulder injury has required that I take some time off during physical therapy.
Thank you for the positive input you always bring to Delcamp.
Oh, and I am at the 70 mark and as enthusiastic as ever.
Best, Jack
Hauser III 2014 spruce

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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:48 pm

Congrats for your first semi-public gig, Jack. More of that will hopefully follow. I think playing in front of an audience is an important experience one should search for as an amateur. Even if you mess up one or two times, the outcome will always be positive as you get more and more familiar with stage-like situations.
Best of luck for your shoulder. Keep up with your enthusiasm.
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:49 pm

Thanks Michael! I keep plodding along! Yes, I made a couple of mistakes, but stayed calm and kept playing. I enjoyed the experience!
Hauser III 2014 spruce

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Tony Hyman
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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by Tony Hyman » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:09 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:32 pm
what do you mean by "professional player"?
playing good for yourself?
playing for some money in cafe?
playing in concert hall?
winning international competition?
sure,you could start to work at any age if there is a demand for your service in particular area.
but... age is age and guitar playing is understood as a kind of sport for majority of players and aficionados - therefore all rules and limitations applicable to sport are applicable in this case too..
I must totally agree with Andre here.I think one must be realistic.The trick is to identify what your strong points are and the market or audience you propose to satisfy.It could be anything from garden tea parties to Old Age Home small concerts.Tarrega from what I have read loved playing for smaller gatherings.If you find your niche you could make a few bucks with steady practice on pieces that the audience seem to appreciate.Background jobs are just as enjoyable and good money if you have contacts in the Corporate environment.The CG always lends itself to special occasions.

Like any product, if it sounds good, no reason why it should not sell.Hard work is the key factor on your part though.

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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by mtenuta » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:09 pm

I’m in a simila boat. I’m 37 got my degree in music at 20 and studied with many of the greats but it’s been 15 years since I stopped playing. Music and guitar keeps calling me and i would love to make it part of my life again

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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by Torrescaster » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:20 pm

Don't quit your day job. :D

On the other hand, if you don't have or need a day job, then sure. . .go for it.

I think this largely depends on what you mean by "professional player". Can you find "a" paying gig, at a coffee house or at someone's wedding? Assuming you do the work, build the chops, and have some skill at marketing yourself, for sure that should be possible. Can you make a few bucks putting your case on the sidewalk and playing in a public spot? Sure. Does that make you a "professional"?

Are you going to turn yourself into a "name" player that everyone in the classical guitar/music world knows? Probably not going to happen.

Make a living entirely supporting yourself by just playing classical guitar? Again, pretty improbable, though that's going to depend a bit on your cost of living and what (if any) other income sources you may have.

Bluntly, its hard enough for people who have seriously studied guitar for large parts of their lives and who are really really good to do that. My teacher. . .who started classical guitar in European conservatory at age 6. . .and has a PhD in guitar performance from a known program, AND is a faculty member at a known music school. . .and has a number of her own private students. . .is barely eeking out a living. Paraphrasing, she said that being a classical musician is a bit like taking a vow of poverty. . .you do it because you love it, and you know you're probably never EVER going to make much money.

Also, I think a lot of this is more dependent on how savvy your are at marketing yourself as a professional than on your absolute skill as a musician.

Speaking personally, I like to joke about "quitting the day job" with my teacher. . .we laugh about it. . .but we both know that its not going to happen. I'd probably earn more money flipping burgers at McDonalds (and certainly more consistently) than getting one-off random low paying gigs playing classical guitar. Not only do I not "want" it badly enough, but I think having to rely on paid gigs to pay the bills would really kill most of the enjoyment that motivates me to play to begin with.

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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by prawnheed » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:41 pm

There is only one way to find out.

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Re: Becoming professional player at an middle age?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:10 am

I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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