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Accordion as a career ??

donn

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My question is not at all about whether it's possible or not possible. It's kind of like the aspiration to be a pro basketball player. People do that, too, as unrealistic an aspiration as it may be for most, and playing the accordion sure isn't as hard as that.

But doesn't it make sense to prioritize playing basketball, or playing the accordion, for fun? and is playing professionally, the best way to get there?

Or to take another perspective on it, here's an item on one of the most revered mandolin players ever, Jacob do Bandolim:
wikipedia said:
A perfectionist, Jacob was able to achieve from his band Época de Ouro the highest levels of quality. Jacob hated the stereotype of the "dishevelled, drunk folk musician" and required commitment and impeccable dress from his musicians who, like himself, all held "day jobs." Jacob worked as a pharmacist, insurance salesman, street vendor, and finally notary public, to support himself while also working "full time" as a musician.

It seems to me that in the pressure to make a lucrative career out of music, one of things one might have to sacrifice to some extent is music itself. Jacob cared enough about his music, not to depend on it.
 

Tom

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Yup, really just depends what your personal goals are. Maybe we could have another whole thread on that... Anyone?
 

TomBR

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An example - Paddy Glackin - a great Irish fiddler, certainly of more than professional standard. He played with the very influential Bothy Band in their early days but he had to decide whether to pursue a career in music, or with the Irish broadcaster RTE. He chose RTE and played music on his own terms and for enjoyment.
 

cat

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Working in the arts involves many variables. But first, let's recall - even the greatest practitioners of America's great art form, jazz, scuffle for gigs, and many take teaching positions to maintain a steady income. Personally, I gigged on drums for a few years on weekends - and the standard scale was (and perhaps still is) $100 per person. If you applied yourself (networking, marketing, etc) and lived in a populated-enough area, making a living wage is doable. But most folks I know needed to travel regionally for regular gigs, weddings, etc. - which means you're on the road a lot. For me, this was the deal-breaker, as I had a family that I preferred to be around more often than not.

I took a vocational assessment in 7th or 8th grade, which indicated I was suitable for but two careers: Rogerian counselor, and 'artist.' Even way back then, this was spot on! Consequently, I've worked mostly in psych/human services/public health (that's the altruism bit), but since I can remember I've been obsessed with music (started sax and guitar at 9 y.o.). Music has often interfered with my capacity to perform other functions in life. I'm fortunate to have a professional spouse who puts bread on the table, and I raise the kids. This gives me lots of time to indulge myself.

I use accordion socially - I'm probably a bit different than others here in that, it's an instrument I use to jam with but don't spend much time practicing. I play several other instruments that are completely consuming, so it follows a natural hierarchy. I don't really aspire to perform anymore, but I like to play with people as often as possible - and I use accordion a lot for that.
 

Tom

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Well, here we go! This site will even tell you how much you can make as a musician.....as long as your audience size is at least 1000 per month.... guess I'll have to work a little harder. 😉

 

ArtMustel

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Interesting thread but you all may be missing something...

I have a female acquaintance from another State that plays accordion more or less acceptable. (Ok, more less than more).
She is not too ugly but definitely nor pretty nor sexy. She is overweight, and her age is in the 60's. But she does a lot of gigs and have done them for years. She is always full booked, and playing accordion is all she does. And she has bought a dreaming house, cars and the best instruments, both acoustics and electronics, thanks to her accordion playing.
She knows she is not an star but acts like if she was; she is shameless, and in her case it has worked very well for her!
 

Dingo40

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Art,
"Interesting thread but you all may be missing something..."
Chutzpah matters!😄👍
I remember a privately employed consultant making incredible money peddling unadulterated nonsense to senior managers, who should have known much better (but didn't) and getting away with it simply because management didn't know enough to challenge him while coalface workers, who may have known better, were unwilling to risk their necks by rocking the boat!
Management needed a speaker, they could afford him and the audience had a day off work. Everyone got a tick in their box: job done!😄
 
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JeffJetton

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An example - Paddy Glackin - a great Irish fiddler, certainly of more than professional standard. He played with the very influential Bothy Band in their early days but he had to decide whether to pursue a career in music, or with the Irish broadcaster RTE. He chose RTE and played music on his own terms and for enjoyment.

I've heard that referred to as "being your own patron", and there's a lot to be said for it.
 

JerryPH

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after watching this a couple of times, I'm still quite unsure what she is saying about accordions
There is an accordion in this video somewhere??? 🤣🤣

Kidding aside, I like Ms Sidorova, if you watch early videos, you see some weaknesses in her playing, a certain level, and as time (and her relative fame) rise, so does the level of her playing. She genuinely improves as a musician as well as being one of the most marketable personalities in the current accordion world. She never rests on her laurels.

Yes, she is wonderful eye candy, but she can play a helluva squeeze box too. :)

Making a living to scratch by with and excelling to the point that you have that nice big home and multiple exotic cars in your 5 garages are 2 very different things. I know a photographer here in Montreal that won't even take his camera out of the case for less than $10,000/day, and others that cannot do that amount in 10 years... yet both are amazing photographers, easily the equal of each other. It takes a LOT more than skill at something to become successful at it.

I know musicians from the old days that could shame world class artists from the old days who are living out the rest of their days well below the poverty line. Talent is 10% of what you need to survive, there is a whole lot more such as daring business sense, perfect timing and TONS of luck being in the right place at the right time... and in the world of accordion, compared to the past, time has long passed it by... there will never again be another Diero today dating a modern day Mae West.
 
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