Re: [Harp-L] Reality check?
I'm the only fulltime harp player working in our 100,000 pop. town. But then, there are only 3 other harp players I know of and two of them mostly play other instruments in their bands. The other has a blues band that seldom plays out.
We don't play any blues, more a mix of country/country rock/older pop music a la James Taylor, you know the folky kind of stuff. But we could work every weekend if we wanted. With a trio, we are not as expensive to hire, and we don't charge a lot. But I make anywhere from $50 to $100 a night and eat and drink free, so it's a good hobby. I'm just lucky that the guy who started the group used to be a fulltime musician in a band that had a harp player and he liked it.
What it does do for me, is force me to learn how to fit harp into songs that never had them. Songs like "You've Got a Friend" or Bob Seger's "Turn the Page." I'm only about two more years from figuring some of these things out...
Steve Webb in Minnesota
where the sun does shine sometimes.
---- Bob Boyd <bboyd@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> When I hear about bands that want to play more the first thing I think of is
> are they playing what the people want to hear. There are 2 choices. One play
> original and hope you will be lucky enough to be successful and second to
> play covers. If your in the first group it is a very tough road and I wish
> you well and lots of success but it will probably take many years and not
> much money on the way if you are even in the few that make it big. If you
> are in the second group you have to decide to either play what you want and
> not play very often as most of the time it isn't what the large group of
> people want to hear a steady diet of. Or play what most people like and play
> more often and make more money. I love playing blues but it really isn't
> what most people want a steady diet of. What I have found is people want to
> dance and sing to oldies that they remember from the past. Now this is not
> necessarily for the young people, except for fraternity parties, but for the
> most part the older people have more money and can afford to hire you for
> private events, fundraisers, anniversary's, birthday's, retirement etc. kind
> of parties. And they will pay more than bars.
> I can tell you that while all in my band have real jobs the music is our
> passion and being fun on stage transmits fun to the audience. We do lots of
> oldies but what gets us most booking events is our Jimmy Buffett music. We
> play 80-90 gig a year and each year it has been growing. While we can't make
> a living doing it, we get to play and make more money than most bands that
> play for fun. If you haven't been to a Jimmy Buffett Concert you need to go
> to one as there are people of all ages there just dressing up funny and
> having fun. It's a happening. And he fills the venues he plays. Must mean a
> lot of people want to hear his music.
> So in closing I would say look for a niche in the music scene. The Blues
> Brothers you mentioned is one and I'm sure there are others. We found one to
> fill in our area of the country so look what's around and not being filled
> where you live. There are still opportunities out there. This is America,
> land of opportunity.
> Bob "The Captain" Boyd
> Texas Tide Band
> > So, here we are on a harmonica list, 2000 strong, debating what we like
> > and
> > what we don't. However, who is doing well in the real world pursuing
> > music -
> > with or without the harmonica - beyond a hobby? Rob P is gigging steadily
> > (perhaps not as steadily as before) because he was well entrenched for
> > years in
> > the scene and works a lot of reunion type shows of already established
> > music
> > (ie - BS&T and maybe Blues Bros type shows).
> > Locally, I've been gigging a lot less w/smooth jazz r/b unit as
> > opportunities are drying up and/or the pay is decreasing. The few
> > dedicated students I
> > have are sticking with it, but new students are few and far between as
> > the cost
> > of lessons are not as affordable as they used to be.
> > The landscape is changing rapidly and I'm curious as to who is doing well
> > and what the new directions may be. Those blazing new trails on the
> > diatonic
> > have fun with posting youtube videos (for free) and enjoy the strokes
> > received
> > by comments (for free).
> > What do you see in your future crystal balls?
> Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH, http://www.spah.org
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