Mudcat Café message #1321470 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75139   Message #1321470
Posted By: *daylia*
09-Nov-04 - 11:08 AM
Thread Name: When do you become a musician?
Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
When do you STOP being a musician?

I think once you're hooked, you're hooked for life - whether you continue to play music or not. Once you've learned even a little about playing, reading and writing music, you'll never be able to "hear" music quite the same way again - because to learn music is to learn how to LISTEN carefully (among other things). Even though everyone is surrounded by music day in and day out, how many non-musicians really hear it as anything more than background noise?

I think there's important distinctions between "musicality" (or, the state of being "musical"), "musicians" and "musicianship". Everyone has "musicality" - because the natural world, including our bodies, is built of sound (vibration) and rhythm (the cycle of the seasons, of day-night, the in-out of breathing, the heartbeat, the 1-2 left-right "beat" of walking etc).

In the words of Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (from "The Music of Life") What makes us feel drawn to music is that our whole being is music; the nature in which we live, the nature that has made us, all that is beneath and around us, it is all music. We are close to this music, and live and move and have our being in music.

So imo everyone is born musical, when music is understood this way.

A "musician", however, is someone who has gone beyond this innate musicality to learn how to play, read, compose music etc. For example, a 7-year old arriving at my studio for their first piano lesson already has "musicality", but s/he is not yet a "musician". At the first lesson, s/he learns how to

* listen carefully to, move with and "echo back" very simple rhythms;
* position body, hands and fingers at the piano;
* discern the difference between "high" and "low" tones on the keyboard;
* notice and locate easily very basic groups of keys (ie the sets of 2 and 3 black keys); and
* use those basic sets of keys to play their very first simple familiar melody and/or "compose" their first little piece

And as I dismiss their (usually beaming) little faces, I always tell them oh so proudly something like "See! Now you are a MUSICIAN! Now make sure to practice what you've learned today every day at home, so your musicianship will grow REAL fast ...."

For me, "musicianship" means the skills and techniques developed as an instrument (including the voice) is mastered. So while you can't demonstrate "musicianship" without first becoming a musician, you could, if you really wanted to, be a "musician" without developing any "musicianship". (You probably won't be the most popular musician around, though)

Thanks for the chance to muse along with you ... and great thread, people! :-)