Money For Somethin'

"That ain't workin'. That's the way you do it. Get your money for nothin' and your chicks for free..." Dire Straits, 1985 - Brothers In Arms

It's the little things in life that can bring you the most amusement. One of my favorites to this day is, "So, do you have a real job outside of doing this?" I don't plan to put any of the ridiculous assumptions attached to such a question to rest with this post, but just in case anyone was curious at all, I'd like to share with you, "A Day In the Life of a Professional Musician."

7:30 - Wake up and do stretches
7:45 - Breakfast and daily preparation
8:15 - Workout/protein shake
8:45 - Instrument maintenance for tracking/performance (set intonation, dial in electronic components, restring, etc.)
9:00 - Preproduction (i.e. arranging for final tracking session, deciding which instruments will be used in the orchestration, composing motifs for individual parts, making tonal decisions for each texture, finding out what the appropriate placement of each texture is and where it should or shouldn't be played in the song.)
9:45 - Warmup drills (vocal and instrumental)
10:15 - Pre-Tracking session - Prearranging recording environment, setting up I/O, routing cables, microphone selection for what will be tracked, proper placement for each instrument.
10:35 - Record - (This is as a solo musician doing his project DIY) Deactivate all external processes running on CPU, disable sudden motion sensor, adjust project settings to 64-bit resolution, 96k recording sample rates, gain staging, create a guide track for the song, create drum patterns for the material, select the appropriate fills for the song and alter the kit to fit the aesthetics if necessary, create a couple guitar tracks (sometimes acoustic, sometimes not), track bass parts, stack electric tracks (sometimes 2, sometimes as many as 5), create strings patches, keys, auxilliary percussion, if necessary.
11:05 - Lunch/tutorials
11:35 - Editing - Splicing track compilations, creating crossfade edits, eliminating dead space in tracks, getting rid of distracting breaths, mouth noises, pops and clicks.
12:05 - Mixing - Adjusting all the relative gain in the tracks to a level of -18dB, low level monitoring, creating a static mix where all the parts in the the apex of the song are balance where I'd like them to be
1:35 - Panning, EQ, compression, effects, volume riding and automation.
3:05 - Mastering
4:35 - Booking shows/updating calendar dates
5:00 - Prep dinner
5:30 - Dinner
7:00 - Band rehearsals/Practice for upcoming shows
8:30 - Family time
10:00 - Cleanup
10:45 - Social media campaigning/content curation
12:15 - Shower
12:45 - Plan for the next day
2:15 - Sleep

Did I mention that this is a regular day? It doesn't account for days when I have to travel for a show, pad the schedule in case of extenuating circumstances, do setup and tear down of 1000's of dollars of equipment for a show that my colleagues and I perform for 4 hours for a relatively small ROI per gig only to be told by others that our business isn't legitimate, it has no value, and we don't deserve the money to justify being able to eat.

So, there you have it. When someone asks me, "Do you have a real job?" I take it with a grain of salt. A DIY musician is a manager, equipment specialist, producer, tracking, editing, mixing and mastering engineer, a composer, session player, a booking agent, IT specialist, web designer, a marketer, promoter, distributor, on top of being active in their community, being there for the family, and trying to find the time to build outside relationships.

Do I have a real job? Actually, I have several within a multifaceted business structure. I look forward to the day when society at large will see that for what it is and place value on what we do. If they don't, you may not have many people who want to do it any longer, and that would be a great loss to the culture.

Leave a comment

Add comment