mudcat.org: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It

GUEST,#7 19 Sep 06 - 12:53 PM
number 6 19 Sep 06 - 11:54 AM
Desert Dancer 19 Sep 06 - 11:42 AM
number 6 19 Sep 06 - 11:21 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 06 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 19 Sep 06 - 10:57 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 06 - 10:45 AM
treewind 19 Sep 06 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Sep 06 - 08:55 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Sep 06 - 08:30 AM
Suffet 19 Sep 06 - 07:59 AM
Patrick-Costello 19 Sep 06 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 06 - 05:21 AM
English Jon 19 Sep 06 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Mike Miller 19 Sep 06 - 12:53 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST,#7
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 12:53 PM

Playing nursing homes for charity is amateur. It's nice and admirable that you can afford to do so.

.......Smiling faces and uplifted spirits do not pay mortgages, feed and clothe children.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: number 6
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 11:54 AM

Played a nursing home once with a blugrass quartet ... we did it for charity. In fact I know some musicians here that perform weekly at these facilities ... again for charity. I can't see how one can take payment for performing at these facilities ... just seeing the results (smiling faces, uplifted spirits) from these people is rewarding.

sIx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 11:42 AM

Treewind, there's been lots of good information shared here on working with retirement communities, care centers, etc., most recently on this thread, and see links within that.

~ Becky in Tucson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: number 6
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 11:21 AM

Very, very hard making a living as a folksinger here in Maritime Canada ... let alone making a living period ... yes there are a few who have and some have become somewhat successful ... but there are many who do supplement their 'folksinging' by teaching music, writing or recording commercial jingles for radio, working in music stores. New Brunswick's finest folksinger (Brent Mason) delivers mail for Canada Post to pay the mortgage and feed his family.

sIx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 11:17 AM

I have made a fine living as a pro in the UK for all of my working life. Back in the 60's/70's/80's there was a large circuit of venues, and as we are blessed with a small country, many gigs were within an hours drive of each other. As the circuit began to decline the CD began to rise and by making my own I increased my income for some years. Then, as the circuit declined further, the web began to take off and my website became a great sales point, generating income without leaving home.
I don't think anyone will live a similar peripatetic life for the next forty odd years, as the cost of transport and the restrictions that will be placed upon it for environmental reasons will make the life on the road well nigh impossible. There is also the fact that we were doing it for the first time, working for a young audience of our peers who have grown old with us, and that made it exciting.
The scene now is becoming dominated in the UK by festivals and the bread and butter gigs are going. The young performers don't seem to want to start new venues and pay their dues as we did. Also the audience has now become the act, as in sessions. Many Mudcatters seem to positively dislike the idea of a "guest" dominated folk club. What they call a folk club is something I don't recognise.
However, all of this is natural as time moves on and soon it will all be history and the job of "folk singer" will be like the job of a blacksmith, or a variety artist, something to see in a Heritage museum, something that had a golden age in a time past.
The music, of course, will go on and on.
I and my contemporaries have been very lucky.
Thanks all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 10:57 AM

I'm with Mike pretty much. I made a living as a folksinger, but that "living" was never the driving force---although it was a needed aspect that was profoundly desired. That "force" was a dedication to my musical vision. It involved finding and bringing to the fore generally unknown historical ballads. Within that, I am surely "proud" to have put our son through college with nobody owing anything as a result of my being a folksinger---among other aspects of supporting numerous personal commitments.

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 10:45 AM

Hey, guys, making a living as a folksinger is a matter of recognising that being a performer is operating a small business. I can't speak with authority about working in the UK, but, in the US, there are thousands of facilities that hire folksingers on a fairly regular basis. It takes a little while to get established in an area and, until that happens, it takes advertising, publicity and, best of all, networking. I have helped many performers by introducing them to facility agents, sharing mailing lists and, for out of town acts, recomending them to venues.
The longer one works in a geographical area, the more he is known and the more he is trusted. It's just like any other business, in that respect. OK, here are some ideas you might try in your own home towns. Don't concentrate on clubs and such. That way leads to the kind of noble poverty that you have been experiencing. Look for booking agents that specialize in senior facilities.(In Pennsylvania, resident facilities are required, by law, to provide, at leats, one live performance each month. Many do more and there are hundreds of these nursing homes, retirement communities, etc within a 45 minute drive of my house. I could do one every day of the year and never repeat.) Children's programs are great jobs. People don't mind spending money for their kids and every fair, fete,
boat race, bike race, holiday celebration, supermarket opening is a potential kids job. These jobs are booked through agents and, if you are having trouble finding these agents, perhaps I can help you locate them in your area.

                        Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: treewind
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 10:33 AM

"Better paying venues include camps, schools, civic events, holiday celebrations, company picnics and retirement communities."

We've got a gig coming up which I suppose fits the description of "retirement community" and the first interesting thing about the booking negotiation was that they were expecting to pay us more than what we asked (which was based on usual opening bid for a folk club)

What's it like playing for audiences like that, compared with clubs and festivals? In terms of enjoyment of the gig, audience reaction etc?

Anahata


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 08:55 AM

Now; which Jon is 'English Jon'? Not Loomes perchance ;-)?

If there were no professional performers there'd be a lot less going on; fewer new songs to learn, fewer good-quality gigs, and almost no CDs (if you don't gig you don't sell). Yes, there'd be still be sessions and singarounds, but those who enjoy just sitting and being entertained (of which thankfully there are plenty - including many who enjoy sessions and singarounds) would find it much harder to know what was worth going to see and what wasn't.

Unless you're retired or have really long holidays it's really difficult to find time to practice, write, research, arrange and record songs and tunes to a reliably high standard, and we do need a decent number of people willing to do that (for little reward) if folk music is to go on fighting its corner against the pressures which would otherwise snuff it out.

All paint is black in the tin and music only exists when someone's playing it.

Tom (also proud)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 08:30 AM

Poverty sucks?

I don't think them are the right words are they English John?

Poverty, poverty sucks.
My loom it is saying all day
Poverty, poverty sucks.
The gaffers to skinny to pay...

Nah - Maybe if you learned the right words you may earn more:-)

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: Suffet
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 07:59 AM

Greetings:

I am not really a professional folksinger. Although I do a few paid gigs every year, I barely break even, so folk music is pretty much a hobby. However, I do have quite a few friends who are professional folksingers, meaning they make their living from their music, and what Mike Miller says is absolutely true. The coffee house, pub, festival, and house concert circuit is not where they make most of their income. Nor is it from CD sales, although that income certainly helps. Most of their money comes instead from playing at schools, community centers, libraries, museums, arts centers, old age homes, hospitals, etc. I said much the same thing five years ago in a thread called A Real Folksinger. It's still true today.

--- Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: Patrick-Costello
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 07:19 AM

It's a tricky thing for me to put into words because I do make a living as a folk musician - but none of my income comes from performing.

To me, the whole performing angle goes against how I view folk music because separating the player from the audience creates this sort of a message of, "don't try this at home". I don't like that vibe, so I stay away from that side of the business.

I write music books - and I run the small publishing company that sells those books. I give people the choice between buying a book or accessing the information contained in the books for free. For some reason that works pretty well - well enough for me to be a full-time folk musician with health insurance, and well enough that our garage operation has been able to go toe-to-toe in the marketplace with much larger operations.

To me, the challenge of making a living in folk music comes down a question of balance. If it's teaching or performing you can't escape the reality that 99.9% of the good stuff in folk music is public property. The songs and the teaching concepts we use to share those songs with other people are the shared cultural property of every man, woman and child on the planet - and as a result you have to do business in a different mindset and a different rhythm than you would in commercial music.

It's not a job, it's an adventure. You won't get rich, but you'll get what you need.

-Patrick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 05:21 AM

Yeah! I tried going pro - had to busk to pay for petrol - slept in the van too!

Well, the meek shall inherit the earth (If it's ok with you that is)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: English Jon
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 04:59 AM

yep. been pro for nearly 5 years now. poverty sucks!

Cheers,
Jon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 12:53 AM

I just read what must have been a gag thread asking about good occupations for folksingers and I had to laugh. I have been making my living as a folksinger for 47 years and I am still an active teacher and performer. It is not difficult to do once one learns how and where to ply the trade. I don't even have to travel any more. There is so much work available in my area, enough to support dozens of purveyers of traditional music. It is just a matter of defining the market.
Clubs, pubs, festivals and concerts seem to be the venues of choice for Mudcatters but those represent only a fraction of the options and they areoverloaded with applicants and, unless the performer is a well known draw, they pay bubkes. (I can make more in a low paying Senior Center than I can at a folk club and there are a hell of a lot more senior centers to work at). Better paying venues include camps, schools, civic events, holiday celebrations, company picnics and retirement communities. Children's shows are popular, frequent and lucrative. Ethnic speciality is an asset. I do Irish, Italian, Klezmer and, in a pinch, I have bruised my pinkies strumming a balalaika at a Russian themed wedding. Oh, I do a few festivals each year but that is more for seeing old friends.
So, come on, Mudcatters. I can't be the only one earing his keep as a folksinger. Let me hear from others. I'll be glad to offer contacts and suggestions and, perhaps, we can help other talented folkies to join our ranks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 6 June 8:03 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.