Multi-tasking music major kickstarts his career

Ashley Soley-Cerro

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Joseph Field stays connected with multiple aspects of the music industry, including writing and composing as well as performing. Photo courtesy of Joseph Field

Senior Joseph Field, 24, knows how to keep busy. He is in five bands, and about to take on a new challenge, turning his passion into a profitable career.

Field learned how to play the trombone at the age of 10 and hasn’t put it down since. In addition to the bands he is in, he does freelance work. His performances have included various music styles like ska, orchestral and funk.

“I’ve played with hundreds of groups, every time I’m in a different group you get into different styles,” Field said. “I don’t know what I’m going to play half the time when I work with sub groups, I need to listen to new music to have an idea of what that group might want.”

Despite being in so many bands, Field, a music composition major, maintains a 3.3 grade point average.

“Balancing the bands is easy,” he said. “I just rehearse weekly four or five nights a week, do all my composing and school during the day and I’ll usually have gigs every weekend. I kind of just make it all work. There’s a lack of sleep sometimes, but that’s just the nature of my business.”

Field also views being in so many bands as a good business decision.

“If you want to be a professional musician you can’t just play in one or two groups,” he said. “It’s like putting all your eggs in one or two baskets. Plus, I like to play with people who have their stuff together. A band with musicians that have their stuff together should only need one rehearsal a week, maybe two depending on the repertoire. So that leaves time open for multiple groups.”

He said in addition to performing, Field writes and does music arrangement, which is also how he makes the bulk of his income. He does not usually write for bands he is in.

“I like to keep what I am writing and playing separate, I would rather listen to my stuff than play it,” Field said. “I do a little writing for Man of Note and arranging for The Roundabouts (two of the bands he is in).”

Field’s playing can be heard on various records, an EP by ska band The Roundabouts, as well as Element Band, an Armenien world music group, and Vahe Karapetyan’s album “In My World.”

Field is currently working on a new album with The Roundabouts.

He will tour France this summer with LA Wind, a symphonic orchestral band that uses brass and woodwind instruments. He may also perform on a cruise ship for six months.

“Every now and then I work with Miles Evans, son of Gil Evans, (recently we) arranged a whole orchestral piece of The Boys Are Back In Town for UCLA for a St. Patrick’s day event,” Field said.

After graduating he hopes to focus on making his own website, doing pitches and demos for commercials and television and work as an assistant to a Hollywood composer.

Field recently remodeled a project studio he made with a friend and hopes to use the library of samples he has made to create entire orchestral pieces by himself.

“In ten years, hopefully, I’ll be scoring television shows, movies, or any kind of media,” Field said. “I’ll most likely be making money arranging and I’ll probably be teaching. Of course I’ll still be playing. I’m kind of doing what I want to do in 10 years already, but at a smaller scale now, with a lot less money.”