Our First Year as Married Freelance Musicians

Bobby and I just recently celebrated our one year anniversary, which also roughly marked the one year anniversary of The Halls of Music! We owe a big thank you to God for providing for us and leading us down such a rewarding and fun-filled path. And thank you to all of our supporters – your encouragement has meant the world to us.

Just yesterday, I came across this article about being a self-employed musician, and it really inspired me. Being self-employed musicians ourselves, Bobby and I can easily relate to the journey this guy has gone down. There are many ups and downs to being a self-employed freelance musician, but in the end it is totally worth it.

Let me recap our year:

Bobby and I got married on April 14, 2012. At that time, Bobby was (and still is) renting studio space at Young America Music Schools where he teaches private guitar lessons. I was (and still am) working full-time at Idle Hour Country Club as a receptionist. I also had three private students that I taught at Mercer University, in addition to coaching the percussion ensemble of the Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra. I was still able to teach at Mercer because I technically had not finished my degree yet, so I was still considered a student. However, I gave my senior recital in July, marking the end of my time as a student, which meant no more teaching at Mercer. Knowing that my teaching time at Mercer was coming to an end, I had started searching for studio space earlier in the year with no luck. Young America Music Schools already had a drum teacher, and every other place I found either charged more than we could afford for rent or had a waiting list.

Meanwhile, I kept on working at IHCC and working with the MSYO, and Bobby’s guitar studio kept growing and growing. At one point, he had about 35 students! He was also hard at work writing music and practicing for his frequent concerts and gigs. One of his biggest accomplishments this year was the benefit concert he hosted for his friend, Ryan Canenzo, who is struggling with cancer. He was able to raise over $2,000 to go towards Ryan’s medical expenses. He also had the Ukranian Kharkov Guitar Quartet performing one of his pieces as they toured internationally!

Then in September, the drum teacher at YAMS got a new job and gave up his studio space. Needless to say, I snatched it up! The best part about it was that my room would be right across the hall from Bobby’s room, making it extremely easy and convenient for us to collaborate and do joint lessons with our students! Since I’ve been at YAMS, my studio continues to grow. Having been there for 9 months now, I have gone from having my 3 previous students to having 12! That’s one new student every month!

I have also recently gotten in with Theatre Macon. About a year ago, I sent my resume to all of the theaters in Macon and surrounding areas with no response. Then one day back in March of this year, I got a call from the musical director asking me if I was interested in playing drums for one of their shows. I have since played two shows with them and hope to play many more.

The Halls of Music has taken off as well. We have had a few wedding gigs, and we offer many different programs for our students from group lessons and jam sessions to recitals and performances opportunities, and now we just added a summer Rock Band Camp! We also just won Best Musicians in Macon and #2 in the state from the Wedding Industry Experts. What an honor!

When Bobby isn’t teaching, he’s been writing music, practicing, gigging, working on a blues CD of all original material, and making business plans. He is also expanding his guitar skills even further, currently focusing on finger-style country and blues. He has partnered with a guitar buddy of his, Stoney Dennis, and the two of them are gigging around Macon under the name The Wright Brothers. We are both excited to see what becomes of that duo!

In the newest of news, I am going to be leaving my position as a full-time receptionist next week and moving to a part-time position in the accounting office. I will no longer work weekends or holidays, and the part time position will allow me a lot more time to focus on our musical careers. It is another step towards being completely self-employed! Bobby and I are both very excited about this job change.

If you have read this far, thank you and way to go – you deserve a cookie 🙂 Really, this is a long one.

This post was not meant to be a means of bragging on ourselves – it is meant to be encouraging to anyone else trying to pursue a musical career. While we have accomplished a lot in one short year, we still have a long way to go. It’s not always easy, but the good news is that it’s possible! Don’t let anyone lead you to believe that it’s not possible, that you won’t make it, that you will need a “regular” job to support yourself. Those things are NOT true! While you may need a “regular” job in the beginning, if you persevere and keep working towards your goals, eventually you won’t need one. There are so many roads to take as a musician, and they are all open to you. Don’t limit yourself, and always be open minded to possibilities that you might not have considered at first. As Dori says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”

While our first year comes to a close, our second year is beginning. We have a lot of plans in the works, and we are so excited to see what happens with them! Thanks again to everyone that has supported and encouraged us. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you!

Bobb and Emily - The Halls of Music

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