Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
Well, that's as it is today. There was a time when being a member of a military band (in my case I'm referring to the Canadian forces bands that no longer exist as full-time entities) or a symphony orchestra could actually be those musicians' full-time jobs...and a pretty darn decent income it was, too.

Speaking from my own experience working with a number of musicians who were members of symphony orchestras or military bands, from the late '70s to late '80s I did a fair bit of gigging in weekend wedding bands for supplemental income (which also paid pretty darn well, back when musicians unions had the clout to ensure there were proper contracts and that they were enforced, rather than ultimately being worth less than the paper on which they were printed), and most folks in those part-time bands were members of the local Canadian Forces band, which was their full-time job until it was dismantled as a full-time entity around the early '90s, as I recall. At that point, most of them were forced to expand their hours/week teaching - until then acting, as was the case with those wedding bands, as part-time supplements rather than full-time gigs/primary sources of income.

The bottom line is that there was a time when musicians had many options when it came to generating enough revenue to make music their full-time career (and the most successful were those who were diversified). Over the past quarter century we've seen an erosion of pretty much all of those options, leaving teaching as the one remaining, reliable source...and "reliable" being relative, since with everything else being eroded, competition for teaching jobs increased as income from teaching decreased (unless you were fortunate enough to land a university/college gig, and even so, unless you were either a professor or were a musician with enough "name" clout to be able to demand a higher rate).

So, it's not just streaming, it's not just gigging, it's that, over time, virtually every potential source of income has been eroded for musicians trying to make a living. In fact, every time one avenue declined and musicians were forced to adapt by moving into another you could almost be guaranteed that those alternatives would ultimately declined as well.
The classical musicians I know don't play in orchestras. They are mostly specialised in baroque, one playing harpsichord and forte-piano and the other playing bassoon and dulcian.