Mudcat Café message #1316376 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75139   Message #1316376
Posted By: Mooh
04-Nov-04 - 09:38 AM
Thread Name: When do you become a musician?
Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
I wish someone had told me when I was a kid that it was okay to think of myself as a musician, not the full-blown, trained, and recognized kind, but the musician-in-training kind. Many of my more talented students today are truly musicians, and others might be getting there, but the sooner they think of themselves as musicians the sooner they take it seriously enough to be one. As long as they don't let ego define their musicianship that is.

Singing and playing were the central part of my upbringing. I could sing well at an early age because of good training and instruction, had passable piano skills for my young age, and a good idea of theory because my Dad drilled the concepts into my head while I was still moldable. But nobody actually said it was okay to think of myself as a musician, so I went a long time with "duffer" as my musical self-image when in actual fact I was pretty experienced very early. Musical theatre, vocal competitions in solo voice and choral, piano examinations, weekly church choir, and lots of recreational music like music camps and family song shaped my upbringing.

But to answer the question at hand, I became a musician gradually over a period of my youth, but was not encouraged or inclined to think of myself as one until much later.

For some it has more to do with credentials, for others whether they're paid as a "pro", and yet others define it by experience. As serious as my training was, "musician" wouldn't be my title unless I had all or some of these requirements. Truth was that I was trained by "pros", gigged and practiced daily and weekly for all of my youth, and that should have been credentials enough to call myself "musician".

In the end, I became both performing "pro" (btw, I don't like the connotations of that word) inasmuch as I'm paid, and amateur, depending on other life forces, but now since I work full-time as an instructor of music, gig, jam, record, and hire out as a musical mercenary...I guess I'm a musician.

As for a music degree, it sure would have been nice but it didn't happen. Maybe when I retire I'll go back to school. In the meantime I'll keep learning to be a better musician the old-fashioned way, by experience. Every new note teaches me something, every student reveals something of music and life to me, every article, book, and recording has learning value, assuming I'm listening. Therefore just because I'm still learning doesn't mean I can't call myself "musician".

Best job I ever had, frankly.

Peace, Mooh.