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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Marje Good hobby; poor occupation (31) RE: Good hobby; poor occupation 13 Oct 13

I've noticed, now that we have four grandchildren, that adults tend to say things like, "Oh, perhaps she'll be an actress!" or "He could turn out to be a footballer" (or a singer/musician/athlete etc), meaning as a career.

I'm always reminding them that for every professional musician/footballer/actor, etc, there are hundreds of people who enjoy these activities, take part in them regularly and give pleasure and entertainment to others throughout their lives, without making any money out of them. These pursuits should be encouraged, not so much as career possibilities, but as skills and interests that can enhance the lives of those who learn to do them well.

A few will go on to a profession in their chosen skill, while others will have the means to earn the odd bit of pin money to supplement their day jobs, but most will be happy just to have a fulfilling hobby. The time spent on these things is not wasted, and doesn't mean that the person is not "a musician" or whatever.

I'd never have had what it takes to be a musician or singer in a professional sense, but I've got a huge amount out of music for the last 50 years and more, and like to think I've given enjoyment to others sometimes. In folk music, there is very little big money to be made even at the top, but we are lucky in having a such broad and enthusiastic amateur folk scene in which we can all participate if we want to.

I suppose having high aspirations is not all bad, but as well as having some very talented amateurs who deserve to be better known, the folk world also includes plenty of people who have no idea of their own limitations. Some may feel disappointed when they find they can't make folk music their career. Perhaps, for most of us, it's better to regard any money-making opportunities as bonus, and hold on to the day job, rather than spend your life being discontented and disillusioned. I just feel privileged to be able to play and sing to a level that allows me to share music-making with others and play an active part in the local music scene.


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