Hi I am wondering if it is a good idea for me to become a professional musician? Currently I am 16 and learning piano Grade 10 (RCM) and preparing for the exam. I want to finish it, but I don't think piano is where my passion lies. When I was 12 I picked up the trombone and played it in the school band but I didn't take it too seriously. This year, I decided to try another instrument. I tried Violin, which is fun and I play in the school orchestra. I also tried flute, saxophone and trumpet, but I did not enjoy it as much. This term we are playing Jupiter (holst) and the band needed more French Horns. So I decided to take up the French Horn part. After playing for a two months. I found that I really enjoyed playing the horn and I am considering taking private lessons and getting good. I do feel that if I were to take French horn to a professional level, I would need to start pouring my life and soul into it as soon as possible, which I am willing to do. Could A horn player like me at this age hope to make a living off playing horn?
It's a possibility. You sound very musical, turning your hand to many diverse instruments. And grade 10 pno is pretty good at 16 ( equivalent to above gradeVIII ABRSM).Although it's said that that level is only a starting point for becoming a pro.
However, being a professional musician is far more than just having a passion for and playing music. Lots of pros just about exist on their'day job' as a musician. Money may not seem too important to you at 16, but with a mortgage, family, etc, later, it'll become more so.
If you stick to just horn, you'll have to be not only a brilliant sight reader, play by ear, have a large repertoire, be a team member, be prepared to travel, be away from family, but turn up for rehearsals on time, prepared.
Sounds at the moment that the classical route beckons, but there are opportunities for all sorts of different music making that you'll need to explore to be professional and survive.
As said previously, a lot of pros eke out their existence by teaching - you may- or may not - find this successful.There may well be mileage in pursuing the playing of several instruments to a high level (you could say 'having more strings to your bow'...) - more chances of teaching, and if you get into recording studios, you get paid for each instrument you play. Some may well see advantage in having you play all/most of the tracks!
"I'm wondering if it is a good idea to be a professional musician"
I'd say a majority of professional musicians had no clue they would be professional until it happened; it is perhaps wrong to think of music in terms of an end goal (like being professional).
Most people think that becoming a professional entails 8 hours of practice a day for a lifetime... becoming the next Buddy Rich on drums, Miles Davis on trumpet, etc.
The truth is, you need to be good at the business side, maybe even more so, than being good at your instrument. Most pop musicians made a living because they're creative with how they sell themselves. It is about how well you can network... how well you can sell an idea to people. Why should they choose you instead of someone else?
I've seen people completely ruin their passion for music in attempts to become a professional.
Many have had to moderate and stray away from performing to achieve a viable living... essentially turning music into a job.
Just remember always, the reason you started playing is because of passion and not recognition... and go for it.... you are young enough that you can make it happen if you apply yourself and have belief in yourself.