Admin Post When music was my primary occupation, my chops were good and I could copy a song at a very detailed level, almost without effort. That was great. However, after a few years of music as a primary occupation, it had lost much of its charm. I saw the lives that many of the musicians I knew were leading and felt that I didn’t want to end up where many of them seemed t’ be stuck. AZBramha’s quote: "I like to have some kind of idea of when and for how much my next paycheck will be" rang true to what I was seeing. I had spent a day with Joe Pass, and realized that even as a Grammy winning artist, it had only been very recently that his wife didn’t have to work. I started to think about it, and I realized pre that even famous people were not making nearly as much money as I would have imagined. Chet Atkins was drawing a regular paycheck as a VP at RCA. Jim Hall was married to a shrink with a prosperous career of her own. Johnny Smith did pretty well, but he had written Walk, Don’t Run, and was making money off of the royalties, and even at that, he still worked full time in a music store that his wife actually owned. There are name-artists that make a bundle, but there are relatively few people in that strata. I knew that I wasn’t going to be in that strata, so I had to do some soul searching. I realized that some of the people I had thought of as successful, were in reality, living week-to-week. I had equated relative fame with wealth and, basically, had seen what I wanted to see. Being a working musician is a lot of work and for every hour you spend performing there are more hours of preparation, travel, load-in, load-out, amend boring hours while you wait for the gig to start. Generally speaking, the on-stage hours are the only hours which pay, so if you divide your fees by the total number of hours required to actually make the gig happen, the result might not be so impressive. Unless you are very, very fortunate, steady employment is all but impossible as a performer, but teaching can be better. When I did my years as a “Pro”, I didn’t have much else in the way of marketable skills. Over the years, I’ve learned to do any number of other things and currently have about as solid of a profession as exists. I’m fortunate, but there was a lot of hard work. When my workday is over, I have a nice assortment of guitars which my current occupation brought within financial reach, not to mention some great amps, effects, etc. I can sit down at the end of the day and play to my heart’s content and enjoy the fruits of the effort I put into learning guitar, which has been a lifelong process. I have a comfortable, if modest, home and an adequate vehicle. I have some retirement money and a job that should last the rest of my working years. Truly, I have little to complain about and the things that have gone wrong in my life have almost always been of my own making. The “Pro” years are part of what makes me who I am and may well have been essential to what has followed. That having been said, I have some nephews who are gifted musicians, and I have emphasized to them that ass good as they are (and they are very good), they should concentrate on finding an occupation that doesn’t put them at great risk for hand injuries, and keep music as a hobby. In my case, playing the occasional gig, the way I do now, is vastly preferable to gigging for a living.