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When do you become a musician?

PoppaGator 05 Nov 04 - 01:44 PM
chris nightbird childs 05 Nov 04 - 02:07 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 05 Nov 04 - 03:06 PM
Auggie 05 Nov 04 - 07:16 PM
Bert 05 Nov 04 - 08:19 PM
Auggie 05 Nov 04 - 10:07 PM
Crane Driver 06 Nov 04 - 09:24 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 06 Nov 04 - 01:18 PM
Peter T. 08 Nov 04 - 10:57 AM
Ferrara 08 Nov 04 - 11:33 AM
PoppaGator 08 Nov 04 - 05:34 PM
chris nightbird childs 08 Nov 04 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Linda Goodman at work 08 Nov 04 - 06:37 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 08 Nov 04 - 06:51 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 04 - 11:38 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 09 Nov 04 - 12:45 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 01:04 AM
Peace 09 Nov 04 - 01:12 AM
Ellenpoly 09 Nov 04 - 01:20 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 01:20 AM
Peace 09 Nov 04 - 01:28 AM
Ellenpoly 09 Nov 04 - 01:40 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 01:51 AM
HipflaskAndy 09 Nov 04 - 09:47 AM
*daylia* 09 Nov 04 - 11:08 AM
Peter T. 09 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 11:49 AM
Peter T. 10 Nov 04 - 11:12 AM
*daylia* 10 Nov 04 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Nick in NY 06 Mar 05 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Patrick Costello 07 Mar 05 - 08:02 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Mar 05 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 07 Mar 05 - 05:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Mar 05 - 06:18 PM
M.Ted 07 Mar 05 - 07:26 PM
jimmyt 07 Mar 05 - 10:37 PM
open mike 08 Mar 05 - 02:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Mar 05 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Patrick Costello 08 Mar 05 - 11:53 AM
M.Ted 08 Mar 05 - 01:49 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Mar 05 - 02:21 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 09 Mar 05 - 08:07 AM
Roger the Skiffler 09 Mar 05 - 09:26 AM
RobbieWilson 09 Mar 05 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Claire Z 09 Mar 05 - 05:09 PM
Dug 09 Mar 05 - 05:35 PM
PoppaGator 09 Mar 05 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Val 09 Mar 05 - 06:42 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 05 - 08:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Mar 05 - 10:33 PM
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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 01:44 PM

This really is a great thread, isn't it?

I was very much struck by something Peter T. (the originator of this discussion) mentioned in his last message:

"...he is carrying around all these ballads in his head, as if he were a vehicle for the music. He is nothing, really: the music in him is everything. It occurred to me that he was a musician because the music was using him, rather than him using the music."

This made me think of an old acquaintance, whose name I won't drop; I met her years ago, when she was a stunningly talented teenager. It took her until about age forty to finally achieve a relatively modest degree of fame and fortune -- by now, she's become a sort of "cult figure," not a tabloid-scale celebrity, but a hugely respected artist among those who know of her at all.

I've never encountered anyone so heavily burdened by their own art, or genius, or whatever you want to call it. It was as though she had no choice but to pursue her musical destiny, no matter how difficult the road would prove to be.

Unlike the guy Peter was describing, this person is hardly a "bum," but she is (or, at least, was -- I haven't seen her in years) an unfortunate soul insofar as her musical identity really seemed to be a burden, like an 800-pound gorilla riding on her back.

If that is what it means to "be a musician," or to be a seriously great artist, I'm glad I'm *not* one -- almost as glad as I am to be able to hear and enjoy such a musician's wonderful work.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 02:07 PM

We are defined by our passions. Many people do see it as a sort of way to escape the "real world". When I first started out, toiling away in my room engulfed in the recording of my latest song, my dad used to tell me that it wasn't part of the real world, and I needed to pursue a career like working in a factory, or some other blue collar job. Of course, once he heard what i was doing, and how good it actually was he changed his mind.
It's always been a dream of mine to pursue a musical career, (and I'm not talking about the kind that makes you famous)it's what I'm passionate about. As far as I'm concerned if you stop dreaming you start dying...


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 03:06 PM

"As far as I'm concerned if you stop dreaming you start dying... "

I'll drink to that! :0)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Auggie
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 07:16 PM

If you can play or sing, no matter how poorly, then you're making music and, viola!...you are a musician.
After all, think how quiet spring would be if only the birds with the really good voices chose to sing.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 08:19 PM

I'm a singer.

Musicians are usually people who can't sing.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Auggie
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 10:07 PM

ah... make that Voila, not Viola.
Dyslexics of America, Untie.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 09:24 AM

If singing is a type of music, then the singer is a type of musician. However, words do change their meaning, and "musician" has come to mean "instrumentalist" for some. As I said above, I don't agree with this, but that's just me, I guess. For me, a musician is someone who makes music. "Musician" includes, but is not limited to, Instrumantalist, Professional Musician, Good Musician, Musical Genius and other specialist terms - it also includes Amateur Musician, Beginner Musician, Learner Musician, Lazy Musician, Ropey Musician, Dodgy Musician and rank Bad Musician - all are at least one step up from the Non-Musican. It also includes, for me, the singer and the percussionist! (Even some bodhran players! ;-})

When do I become a musician? Every morning when I wake up.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 01:18 PM

Some of us can sing and play, you know...not me, but some of us!


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 10:57 AM

Helena Norbert-Hodge has an interesting discussion in her book on Ladakh, prior to and after the arrival of radio. Before radio arrived, everyone sang, well or poorly, or played something, well or poorly. Radio provided everyone with a new set of criteria of excellence, after which only a select group of talented people played music any more. (A classic example for the folk music specialists).

Murray Schafer refers to the world of music as the plenum, and the concert hall as the vacuum (A special place of silence to be filled up with professional music and near-professional listeners).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Ferrara
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 11:33 AM

Sheila Kaye Adams tells about songs where old variants were lost once the singers heard an "official" version on the radio. It made people feel their version wasn't "right," or "good enough."

I certainly don't think that performing is any criterion for defining what is a musician. I went to an iris grower's once, she was in her 70's. Her husband and his buddy dug up the plants we bought. They told me they had played old time and country music together every Sunday for about 30 years, until their hands wouldn't let them play any more. I don't know if they ever performed outside of their circle of friends. But it seems like me that the origins of folk music come more from people like them than anything else. I think anyone who makes music purely for themselves, or who gets together with their friends for the pure fun of making music together, is a musician in my book.

Half the fun of this thread has been exploring different definitions of "musician," anyhow.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 05:34 PM

Q: What do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicans?

A: A drummer.

There's been plenty of commentary about the question of whether singers are musicians, but little or none about percussionists. I would observe that relatively few people will open up and sing unless they have a modicum of talent, but that *plenty* of goofballs will unhesitatingly start banging on stuff to be bad (and loud!) percussionists. In other words, there are probably fewer singers than drummer/percussionists whose credentials as musicians are questionable.

However, of course, a good, sensitive drummer or other percussionist is every bit as much a musician as a player of any other instrument.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 06:19 PM

I started out as a drummer/percussionist. I moved to guitar so I could write songs of my own, and learn to play other's songs as well.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Linda Goodman at work
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 06:37 PM

Ferrara's message about how people can come to feel that the "authoritarian" version is superior reminds me of the time that my son was a toddler, fascinated with dogs. Whenever Benny saw a dog, or a picture of a dog, he would bark most naturalistically. We visited a gift shop daily, and he would have a grand time going up to each one of the little dog statues they sold and barking softly at them.

But one day, while we were admiring a live dog at the Post Office, a lady came up to us and said to Benny, "What does the doggie say?? Woof, woof??" (just as written- Wooof wooof). "Woof, woof", Benny replied dutifully, and after that, whenever he saw a dog he said quietly, "Woof, woof" and he never barked again.

What's a musician? I think that for a singer who can't play an instrument, it's when you sing and make up tunes all the time, when you can "hear" harmonies and instrumental parts when they are not present, when you go to a choir practice that has a good director, and most of the suggestions they make to the choir you have already realized yourself. You are probably born with some of this, but I think it mainly grows after a decade or so of being around music a lot. I have read that musicians' brains work differently from non-musicians'--things get rearranged somewhat.

--Linda Goodman


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 06:51 PM

I think my brain has been rearranged to the point where it's forgottend what it's supposed to do in the first place...:0)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 11:38 PM

You become a musician when you realize one specially intoned note placed just so says more in your song than the super fast gee whiz lick you are able to play to impress people....


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 12:45 AM

What about a well-placed note in a super fast lick? my speciality:0)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:04 AM

Being a musician isn't about just skill. It's about being passionate about what you do and play...


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:12 AM

It's also about loving what you do and having others love what you do.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:20 AM

I certainly agree with the first part of that statement, brucie, but the second part is pretty subjective, wouldn't you say?


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:20 AM

I'm head over heels for it myself...
; )


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:28 AM

Yes. It is subjective. However, I won't argue it. Just my thought on the matter.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:40 AM

No argument intended.

;-)

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:51 AM

: )
I think everyone that's posted has a point...


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:47 AM

A true story.
I once sat in one of the exclusive 'Box' seats above the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre.
I'd gone to see Opera North in action.
From this vantage point I could see all of the 'Orchestra Pit'.
As the performance was reaching its conclusion I watched a couple of the players there pack up their 'bits'
and leave while the performance on stage carried on - they apparently had no more notes to play for their particular instruments.
As the final applause rang, the musicians, barely having finished their last extended note, had feverishly scrambled away their music and gear
and were already leaving the pit as the cast took their moment of glory.
I was assured by the theatre-worker friend of mine (that had procured these seats for us) that this was par for the course....
The call of the pub over the road was too great for some, or the prospect of an early getaway, for others, was enough.
Professional musicians these!
When do you STOP being a musician?

Only semi-pro myself - certainly NOT jaded like they appeared - hope I don't get that way!
I reckon I started calling myself a musician the moment I began ENJOYING making music.
Still do.
Eek. Need a drink after that. Brandy anyone? HFA


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:08 AM

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! :-)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM

Very insightful, daylia. So a musician is someone who has begun to organize their musicality, perhaps to some creative purpose (or just to play -- I always like the way no one notices that the phrase is "to play music" -- there is play involved).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:49 AM

Not all people who play music are musicians. Just listen to American Top 40 Radio. If you can call it that...


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 11:12 AM

"everyone is a frustrated musician." -- Lester Bangs.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 01:45 PM

Child: "I want to be a musician when I'm all grown up".

Mother: "But honey, you can't be both at the same time!"

*********************************************************************

Child: "I want to be a musician when I'm all grown up".

Mother: "No no honey, see those two people walking down the street? One's a musician. The other doesn't have any money either."


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Nick in NY
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 11:48 PM

I have always divided players into 3 categories, and these can be applied to any instrument... here it is for guitar
-guitar player
-guitarist
-musician

to me, the guitar player (or drum player etc. etc.) would be one who played around with it, but certainly had no mastery of the instrument. A player is one who plays, similar to a child, sometimes creating fantastic results, but nonetheless no master.

the -ist, guitarist, percussionist, the ist would be one who has achieved a mastery (relative to physical basics i.e. in guitar: picking techniques, dexterity, bends, physical control of instrument.) over the instruments basic techniques. One who would be a guitarist could get the guitar to do what he wants it to do, or whatever, but is still relatively inexperienced in other areas.

the musician to me would be one who would transcend his instrument(s). Music is sort of an Aristotelean ideal, a language if you will, and the musician will be able to speak fluently. (I don't mean actual music theory here, I mean as if the language is the actual music you hear.) A musician will be able to speak with their instrument, they will be able to play with others (jamming), it is a fundamental mastery of understanding, where the music becomes a part of the way you communicate, and therefore changes you (as in bilingual people).

That's a short description of what it means to me.
For further discussion I can be reached at Barefootbison@optonline.net
or at my bands website www.barefootbison.com


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 08:02 AM

When I was a kid Roger Sprung once snarled at me to, "think like a musician instead of a banjo player", and years after that my music theory teacher in college said that I was, "a great banjo player but a lousy musician."

Both comments confused the crap out of my back then.

I've been making music for for than twenty years now. I make a decent living teaching banjo & guitar and from time to time I find myself snarling at somebody to, "think like a musician instead of a banjo player."

What does that line mean? Well, the answer really depends on the student. I think that the line between somebody who plays a few songs on the guitar or the banjo and a person you could think of as a "musician" is really a matter of perspective. To a person who can't play anything a guy who knows three tunes on the banjo looks like a genius.

In the end I look at the term musician as a way to describe a person who is comfortable enough with his or her chosen medium to work in a variety of settings without a lot of fuss and bother - but since the term is all based on perception I'll probably think it means something completely different next week or next year.

It's just a word. How people describe you and define your music shouldn't mean that much to you. You is who you is, and if you've got that part under control then "who you is" is going to change and grow as you mosey along.

Just make music and be yourself. Judging yourself against other people is always going to leave you feeling inadequate in some way or another. I'm a good banjo player and I love what I do, but if I compared my achievements and training to that of a concert violinist I could start to feel inadequate. What we forget is that the violinist in question may also be comparing himself or herself to somebody else. Don't be distracted from your own personal journey by falling into this trap. Allow the learning process to work.

And keep in mind that the learning process never really ends. We are al, each and every one of us, a work in progress.


-Patrick
http://patrickcostello.blogsome.com/
http://pik-ware.com


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 03:26 PM

I have always thought of myself as a singer who can do a workmanlike job of accompanying his songs on a guitar. I have not felt that I was a musician because I have never played a tune on the instrument, not from lack of ability, but simply because it was not a part of what I wanted to do with music.

At best, I have felt that I was a good entertainer, and was happy with that.

Now, all you nice people have changed my outlook and made me feel that what I do is make music, so I guess I have become a musician of a sort.

Thank you, mudcatters, for that. It feels really good!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:20 PM

The term 'artist' is overused. Not everything a musician does is art (e.g. your least favorite rock band). Not everything an artist does is music (e.g. John Cage)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 06:18 PM

Small piece of serious advice from silly old man (me). Place what value you want on it:-

There are a number of aspiring pro musicians on this thread. Quite seriously I would counsel them all that, if you give monkeynuts for whatever people call you, you are too sensitive for this job.

get tough - develop the hide of a rhinocerous - or you will have trouble with this particular calling.

you are a musician when you have decided that is what you are going to do with your life, and no moron is going to deflect you from that path.

Pick up any music magazine and read the venom directed at people who have decided to grace this world with music. Listen in on any conversation regarding a major artist and you will understand that the world has written itself a licence to insult our musicians.

call youself what you want, you earn that right very dearly

best of luck

Big Al Whittle


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:26 PM

I am coming in late, but no one has made my point, which is that musicians think differently than non-musicians---you think in measures, rhythmic phrases, vertically and horizontally, but always sequentially--you count out the measures--you think about the order of sounds--and you are always totally focussed so that you don't miss a note, you also are planning and thinking at least two measures ahead--Some are born that way, some learn it, but you can always tell who does it and who doesn't--when you do, that's when you are a musician--


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: jimmyt
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:37 PM

I think this is a great thread. I started playing music when I was 9 in 1958 and got a cornet and instead of learning the Belwin Band Builder part 1, I started figuring out the harmonies of songs myself. I continued to develop my ear and not my reading until I was in the 8th grade and started playing in a Dixieland group because I could play anything I heard at that time (I played a minstral show in 1962 when I had only heard of 6 of the 17 ongs in the show until the performance.) In high school I started playing jazz and standards the same way and ultimately got serious about music. WHen I was 28 I decided I did not have the discipline to ever make it as a musician and found an alternative career.

As time went on, I have found myself back in music more than ever although I jump from Jazz to Standards to Do-wop to bluegrass to acapella harmony singing to ...whatever is around the next bend.

I love music,,, but I am an entertainer. I can please a crowd, period . I am not technically worth a crap at anything musical, but I am a great appreciater of good music and good musicians. I continue to explore new ideas musically just taking up the string bass 4 years ago and the penny whistle 2 years ago,   I am getting ready to sign up to take guitar lessons for the first time ever. 'cause when I hear those guys play those diminished 7th chords and flatted fifth/raised ninths, well it is just about more than I can stand. I still get tears in my eyes when I hear PERFECT intonation and a killer chord progression. Interestingly, I have never written a song.   I admire and envy musicians!! They are killer!


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: open mike
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 02:15 AM

this topic brings up two thoughts for me:
one based on the "how much practice time" thread is:
you are a musician when your performance takes up
more time than your practice.

the other is a thing i remember hearing recently about the diff. between
amateur and professional:
an amature practices until they can play it without making any mistakes.
A professional practices so much that they will not ever make any mistakes.
(something like that...not sure i got the wording right..did I hear that from mudcat?)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 04:44 AM

Please for give me, this is the second time I've done this in two days. I'm probably getiing soft in the brain (no arguments necessary there) but some of my lyrics seemed relevant:-

The Box of Music


They told me play in the sun
Go out and have fun
But your life is for real, boy
There's work to be done
And you best understand
That the fate of a man
Is in front of your eyes – you can't refuse it
So I'd run away from the light of the day
And I'd sit alone, and I'd sit and play
For I had this box of music
Strumming on this box of music

I was no more than a kid
When I taught myself
The chords that would bind me
And thus by great stealth
I hid in the places
I found empty spaces
Where dreamers can dream if they choose it
I was running away from the light of the day
And I'd sit alone, and I'd sit and play
Opening this box of music
Yeh strumming on this box of music

There I was walking on oceans
Drunk on the notion
I would transcend the stars with en-ough devotion
To the frets and the strings, making them bring
Forth a song of love, not excuses
Thats called running away from the light of the day
As I'd sit alone, and I'd sit and play
For I had this box of music
I was opening the box of music

Opening the box of music
Taking out the all notes and making them shine
Opening the box of music
They all seemed like good friends of mine



So the fingers get strong
You don't play the thing wrong
You don't even notice,
You practice so long
Be the world 'ere so wide
That small place inside
Is always your own, cos you choose it
You're running away from the light of the day
Just to sit alone, alone while you play
At strumming on this box of music
When you have the box of music

Perhaps I didn't have the right,
And I lacked the foresight
Turning away from the truth and the light
All the good that I done
It was all done for one
I'm sure most of my work
You'd abuse it
So I'm sneakin' away from the light of the day
And I'll sit alone, and I'll sit and play
For I have the box of music
I have the box of music

©Alan Whittle Wednesday, 20 October 2004


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 11:53 AM

> no one has made my point,
> which is that musicians think differently
> than non-musicians-

That's just a matter of training. It's not that musicians "think in measures" because we don't (and I don't know anybody who does) - musicians are just used to phrasing musical ideas in the structure of a series measure. Most of the time it's an unconscious thing.

It's not a matter of knowing music theory (I've known quite a few great players who couldn't explain the concept of a time signature if you put a gun to their heads), it's really a matter of coming to an understanding WITH music theory. The attitude is sometimes expressed along the lines of , "I don't know why it works, but it works so I don't sweat it."

As for thinking differently, training in any craft is going to alter your view of the world around you. That applies to weaving, karate or playing the banjo.

Any musician is going to miss a note now and then. Perfection is an illusion. The difference between a pro and an amateur is that the amateur will freak out over a missed note and the pro will either ignore it or act like it was intentional.

-Patrick


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 01:49 PM

"It's not that musicians "think in measures" because we don't (and I don't know anybody who does) - musicians are just used to phrasing musical ideas in the structure of a series measure. Most of the time it's an unconscious thing."

Ahh, so you *do* think in measures;-)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 02:21 AM

A Musician is anyone who plays a musical instrument - but an Artist now ....


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:07 AM

about 1/10th of a second before the applause begins (and thats not flippant either)


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:26 AM

Well, I listen to recorded music all the time, try to get to a live session each week, when I'm walking in thecountry or trying to get off to sleep I always have songs in my head. It's when they come out of my mouth that I know I'm not, or am ever likely to be, a musician.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:45 AM

A musician is someone who makes music, that's the end of it. It's got nothing to do with whether you do it for money; some of the most mechanical players I have ever heard do it for money, some of the most musical people I have ever met don't.

It's got nothing to do with having attained the level of musicianship; no matter how "good" you are a) you can improve and b) someone out there is better.

It certainly has nothing to do with learning how to read and write one particular cultural form and I am astounded that in a folk world where music has been passed on orally by illiterate musicians anyone would suggest that it does. (O'Carolan could not read music)

Once you are a musician you can become all kinds of things; Performer, entertainer, educator, technician but never lose the ability just to make music, just for the hell of it.
love Robbie


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Claire Z
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 05:09 PM

Well, in all of these responses, I have yet to see the answer that I would give to this question.

I have struggled with this concept. I clog, play bodhran, sing, call contra dances - basically all things intrinsically involved with making music without actually plucking, bowing, or strumming. I struggled with this because without thinking of myself as a musician, I felt inadequate to particpate in the creative process my band goes through when learning and arranging new material. I didn't seek the label so that I could call myself a musician, nor did I accept the label, when others would say I was one.

It took me about 5 years with my current band and 2 cds to accept that my contribution was as a musician. In my participation, I noticed that the others listened to my ideas and that as our songs took shape, I had responsibility and the ability to help shape them along with my fellow musicians. I also developed my intellectual grasp and knowledge of our music, and felt relaxed and in control enough to express my innate sense of how the timing and tones can change to really make songs special.

Now, I pretty much think of myself as a musician and accept that what I do with my voice or whatever I am doing is being a musician. This is partly because the music is so much a part of me that most of it comes from my body without any actual thought - it sort of blooms out. - you all probably know that feeling well.

That said, I also think of myself as a planner, a mom, a wife, a community member, many things. To fully do something with the confidence required to do it well - you need to on some deep level know that you have the knowledge and instinct that gives you a right to express yourself. That is why it is important to think of yourself as a musician - not so that you can put it on your promotional materials.

Claire Z


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: Dug
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 05:35 PM

I don't agree with you, PoppaGator, about being a musician when it's what you do most.

I don't perform all that much these days, but when I do I interpret songs and that interpretation comes from inside myself. I don't think about what I'm doing
with my fiddle as I sing- it just comes out with the notes that help my voice. When I perform I don't think about the technical aspects of my playing, but I do think about the song and how it makes me feel.

I know that I am a musician.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 06:33 PM

Hey, Dug. Whatever I said a while ago, I myself may not agree with now!

So many of the ideas expressed here are well-articulated and seem quite valid, even ideas that seem to contradict each other. Nevertheless, we all seem to know what we mean by being a "real" musician, or at least to share most of the same ideas.

When I stated that you're a musician when playing music is the way you spend most of your time, I think I was proposing one arguably correct case. Certainly, anyone spending most of his/her waking hours playing music has to "qualify" ~ but that is not the only criterion for being a musician, and if I implied that it was, I take it back.

I certainly know a few players who never perform in public, only for themselves and those close to them, and who have a deep understanding of the music they play. They're musicians, probably moreso than many self-absorbed performers, even some big-time music-biz celebrities.

Perhaps someone who ever in their past life has devoted serious full-time effort to playing remains a musician forever, even if they become less active later on.

Perhaps you and I both fall into this category. I certainly recognize the state of mind you just described, where one can play without self-consciousness and without worry about technical details, with much greater depth and expressiveness than was possible back when one was just learning.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 06:42 PM

"you are a musician when your performance takes up
more time than your practice."

Hmmm... I've known some folk who NEVER practice, then go out in public to render (rend?) tunes or songs with instrument and/or voice. Given the above criterion, they are musicians. Listening to them, though, I think the results are different from what openmike implies.

"an amature practices until they can play it without making any mistakes.
A professional practices so much that they will not ever make any mistakes."

I've heard a variant on that... an "good" performer (whether paid or not) is one who can cover mistakes in a way the audience never notices. "There are no mistakes, there is only Improvisation". We never achieve Perfection (at least, not while we are living humans) so the trick is to keep the audience from paying attention to the imperfections.

Personally, I think a Musician is anyone who chooses to create music so others can hear it. "Creating" in this case means making the actual sounds & arrangement of notes, i.e. performing with voice or instrument, as opposed to playing back a recording that someone else has made. Of course, not all Musicians make music that *I* think is "good", but that's just a question of personal aesthetics.


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:57 PM

M.Ted wrote:

Ahh, so you *do* think in measures;-)
--------------------------------------

Not really. The structure of the measure is always there, but when I'm playing it's not something I pay much attention to. I've been playing for so long that keeping the phrasing of a song just comes naturally.

That's kind of the trick to practice. Nowadays we tend to view practice as memorizing individual pieces of music, but the way I was "taught" - I never took a formal lesson when I was starting out, everything I know was picked up at jam sessions and hanging around with old players - was to view practice as a way to make the whole process of playing something natural.

How do I put this . . . ? Okay, a good example off this is picking up a chord progression on the fly. If you don't practice working with chord progressions then every time you want to learn a new song you have to consciously think about what chords are played and where the chord changes fall in the song.

If you put some real effort into working with chord progressions you can, in time, develop an instinctive feel for them. Instead of sitting down and working out a song you just "know" what and when to play.

It's the same way with measures. If you have a grasp of what a time signature means it's not that big of a deal to work up a practice routine to make learning how to phrase melodies in 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8 time. Once you "get" the interrelationships between scales and chord progressions improvising melodies becomes something natural.

The trick is to take it in sensible steps. People usually want to get into what they view as the "advanced stuff" right away. The other mistake is to assume that traditional musicians were musically illiterate. O'Carolan may or may not have known how to read standard notation, but then again the dude was blind so bringing it up isn't exactly cool. If you listen to his music there is an almost frightening level of complexity in a lot of his work. You don't pull that sort of thing out of your ass or out of your genes. The guy was one hell of a musician - and he wasn't alone. Clarance Ashley and Riley Pluckett both knew more than a little bit about the language of music. It's a lot more comforting to think their ability was based on drinking out o the right well or some genetic fluke, but the reality is that these guys spent their lives pursuing pretty unique artistic visions.

Learn the language. I don't mean you have to sit down a play note-for-note from sheet music. That's not doing anything but mechanical work. I mean get under the hood and becomes familiar with how and why this stuff works. That will give you the tools to find the right way for you to express yourself and communicate with other musicians using this wonderful thing we call music.

It's not a matter of talent. When one of my students ask me about talent I always say, "Ah, talent. Many are called, but few bother to practice."

-Patrick
http://patrickcostello.blogsome.com
http://pik-ware.com


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Subject: RE: When do you become a musician?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 10:33 PM

You are a 'musician'
as distinct from just a 'singer' or an 'instrument player'

when noting down the words to a song you also insert

[Instrumental break - full verse]
[Instrumental break - full verse & chorus]
[Instrumental break - chorus only]
[Instrumental fill]

etc...


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