Reality - do you think maybe too much?

My friend Andy Moritz, lately bassist with Cadillac Sky and a great bass educator forwarded me this little exchange with a 14 year old who wanted his advise on how to "go pro." Kids who ask me usually have to go home and find a thesarus and a history book to devine the message I give them. Andy, a much nicer fellow than me, did the following:

"A kid sent me a message on Myspace about wanting to be a pro bass player. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t resist a reality check, especially after his getting such an off-hand remark about going pro from another road guy.


From: >XXXXX< style="font-style: italic;">[he’s 14 now] and everybody says I could go pro. XXXXX XXXXX also told me this but I don’t think so could u please give some advise so I can get better? I really would appreciate...
=]

And here was my response:

Hey XXXXX,

Great to hear from you! If you just want to play for fun and profit, then work on your intonation, be familiar with the basic bluegrass keys, and work with a metronome. If you want to be a pro, certainly go for it, but you'll want to want to have a bit more backing up your playing -- such as...

TO START WITH...

Learn all your scales, learn all your keys, learn common practice theory and jazz theory and how to apply it to your playing, learn how folk music styles are different and how to apply that to your playing, learn how to play jazz standards and folk standards in multiple keys, learn about time and how to play in it and with it and around it, learn to play with the metronome on beats 2 and 4, learn how to make your bass sound like several different players, learn how to solo in various standard styles (in every key), learn as many tunes from memory as you can and then learn a whole bunch more, listen to as many records and songs from as many styles and genres as you can and STUDY THE PARTS (who's doing what, when, and how), learn how to play your way out of a paper bag so that you can save the tune if you or anyone else completely messes up, learn how to amplify or plug in and get your sound for at least two different applications with a couple of backups in case something breaks, and be able to do all of that without ever hearing yourself in case the stage sound is terrible.

AND THEN...

Learn how to do anything on little or no sleep, food, or during illness; learn how to sleep anywhere; learn how to wash your clothes in an ice bucket and dry off with a wash cloth; learn how to get along with anyone, when you won't be able to, and when you shouldn't get along with them; learn to fix your own stuff with a butter knife, string and a paper clip, and learn how to pack 7 days worth of clothes into a backpack.

WITHOUT FORGETTING TO...

Make sure you have your schedule, itinerary, routing, gig clothing, gear, back-up gear, contacts, contracts, financing, and provisions taken care of at all times.

AND FINALLY...

Learn how to listen and learn from those who have been there and done that before you. We're all just dwarfs standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us...

Make sure you REALLY want to do it before you do it. It's an awesome and amazing job, but WILL BE your job.

Best wishes!
Andy Moritz"

No word yet if there was any response.......