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#1987833 - 11/17/12 02:07 PM When do you become a "musician"
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
New member second post.
Just looking for opinions on what makes a player a musician.
Does it occur the first time you play a song?
The first time you read music and play a song without a mistake for the first time?

Or do you need to be a paid performer to be classed as a musician.



Edited by Schroeder II (11/17/12 02:08 PM)

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#1987838 - 11/17/12 02:15 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Toastie Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
Interestng question and one that i've also wondered myself. I feel as though it comes with competence. I have been learning for a couple of months, but I definitely don't feel like a musician yet even though piano occupies most of my waking thoughts. I can't yet make any music that I would share as something that others would enjoy listening to. I ask my teacher every week how long before it sounds like music - even when I get it all right it still sounds amateurish and clumsy - hence not yet feeling I am making music.

It doesn't actually matter that much though as long as you enjoy it.


Edited by Toastie (11/17/12 02:16 PM)
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#1987847 - 11/17/12 02:40 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Mark... Offline
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Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
When playing become a major part of your life regardless of skill level...

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#1987853 - 11/17/12 02:52 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Mark...]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Mark...
When playing become a major part of your life regardless of skill level...


That would make me one, but I think you have to feel you are one too and I don't yet.
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
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#1987855 - 11/17/12 03:04 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Toastie]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 817
I've played a very long time, but I still don't feel like a musician. A music-MAKER, yes, but not a musician.

My partner is a director and he was giving a seminar to a bunch of local actors. He asked them not about what makes a musician but about what makes an artist. His definition resonates with me.

He says you become an artist when you get the letter.

What letter?

The letter out of nowhere. The private letter that says, "You don't know me but I listened to or watched X, and it really affected me. I play it over and over."

In this day of YouTube, it should be much easier for every one of us to become musicians now. It just takes the persistent application of elbow grease and a little bravery.
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#1987856 - 11/17/12 03:05 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
keystring Offline
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At the end of his life, Pavarotti said he was a student. So my aspiration is to be a perpetual student a la Pavarotti.

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#1987862 - 11/17/12 03:29 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1555
When you tell your audience "I take requests" and someone shouts out the request, you don't say..next! smile

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#1987878 - 11/17/12 04:14 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
jotur Online   blank
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Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5658
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
One time a caller for a dance phoned another caller about working with the musicians. The first caller asked if the 2nd caller thought it would be alright to call me at that time, 10 PM - would I still be up?

The 2nd caller said, "She's a musician, of course she's still up."

Guess that did it for me smile

Cathy
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#1987881 - 11/17/12 04:25 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Stephen300o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/12
Posts: 62
When you buy a hat.

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#1987888 - 11/17/12 04:45 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5375
Loc: Philadelphia
I think it occurs the first time you fail to get paid for a gig.. wink
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#1987896 - 11/17/12 05:13 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
I love the responses so far.
Here's the reason I asked.
I can cook fairly well, but I'm not a "chef".
I built and wired my own home theatre but I'm neither a "carpenter" or an "electrician".

Why? Because when someone asks me what I do for a living, it is definitely not chef, carpenter or electrician.

So for most professions I would have hard time classifying anyone as .....x..... unless they did .......x....... for a living.
High school bands don't get paid, but they're musicians, right?
My teacher can play anything, but has never had a paying gig
Think she'd be offended if someone told her she wasn't a musician?

It's a blurry area and precisely why I asked for other opinions.


Edited by Schroeder II (11/17/12 06:38 PM)

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#1987903 - 11/17/12 05:34 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Juliewharton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Florida
I think you become a musician the first time and every time you make music and derive joy from it.I don't think it has to be any more complicated than that.

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#1987915 - 11/17/12 06:23 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Sand Tiger Offline
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Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1098
Loc: Southern California
Every one that picks up an instrument is a musician. The skill level varies. The term professional musician is easier, one that earns a living from playing music (teaching would be separate).

The term real musician can be controversial. Playing with other musicians, reading sheets, improvising, playing by ear, performing live in a group or solo, accompanying singers are all things that musicians do. Someone that can do all that I would consider an accomplished musician. A person that can do one or more, is on the path and can call themselves a musician, though some may not always agree.

Most would not find fault with the term amateur musician, though again, there will be a wide range of skill levels. I like that term, and also use the term amateur songwriter.

The word musician is like the word beginner. Most outside casual observers probably wouldn't call the majority of the ABF recital participants, beginners, even though many are still self identifying themselves with the tag.
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#1987942 - 11/17/12 07:36 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
They say that you don't ever want to be the boss.

You always want to be second in command because

they always call the boss, manager, "first in

command" out first when something goes wrong.

I said to a friend of mine, well, I am not an

academic. He was a teacher and he said, "if you

think you are an academic, you are an academic."

When people ask me who I am I often say, "I am

just a little guy trying to get by in life."

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#1987945 - 11/17/12 07:48 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
The word musician is like the word beginner. Most outside casual observers probably wouldn't call the majority of the ABF recital participants, beginners, even though many are still self identifying themselves with the tag.

The term Adult Beginner suggest that the participants are Adults and Beginners but it also suggests those that began in adult life even though they no longer are adults beginners.

I didn't take lessons until I was an adult and I also returned after many years (still as an adult) and this forum has been the source of faster progress (and continuing progress) than any lessons I took earlier in life. It is in this capacity that I feel I am a member of this community. I am trying to give as much back as I have received.

And what are the alternatives? I'll take the Adult Beginners over the Beginner Adults.

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#1987960 - 11/17/12 08:39 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Devrie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Florida
If you can substantially entertain an audience or can accompany other musicians, then I think that makes you a musician.

I don't think you have to be a master of your insrument to "be a musican," but I think "musicians" have a sense of musicality that enables them to produce music.

So if you just learn to play chords on the piano and how to phrase them to sound well with other musicians, then even though you might not be able to play advanced piano pieces, you'd be a musician.

If you can sight read simple music pieces and do so for your own pleasure or for the listening pleasure of others, than you are a musician. If the pieces are simple, but you're playing the correct dynamics and with emotion, then I'd consider you a musician.


Edited by Devrie (11/17/12 08:43 PM)

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#1988027 - 11/18/12 03:49 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Stephen300o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/12
Posts: 62
You can play on you own for years and years, but no musician till you bring pleasure to someone else's ears.

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#1988069 - 11/18/12 08:39 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3600
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Originally Posted By: Schroeder II
New member second post.
Just looking for opinions on what makes a player a musician.
Does it occur the first time you play a song?
The first time you read music and play a song without a mistake for the first time?

Or do you need to be a paid performer to be classed as a musician.



Yes, any and all of the above - but, also you have to join the union...
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#1988623 - 11/19/12 05:26 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 211
Loc: USA
There's two ends of this spectrum: The soft fuzzy end. From the very first time you draw a bow or pluck a string, you are a musician. You may not be very good, but a musician, all the same.
The other end is the cold hard end of the spectrum. Indeed the card carrying, site reading, all theory knowing, expert, professional. A player's player.
I personally tend to error on the side of caution and humility. Ima fiddle player. Unless, it gets me through the buffett line quicker or, gets me a good parking spot, or in through the backstage door, i don't generally go by the title musician.

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#1988683 - 11/19/12 08:19 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Juliewharton]
Morodiene Online   content
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Juliewharton
I think you become a musician the first time and every time you make music and derive joy from it.I don't think it has to be any more complicated than that.



Agreed. In fact, I don't think you even have to play an instrument. Many people are musicians with their voices. smile

Everyone is capable of being expressive through music, but I think the term "musician" has many different levels of musical ability attached to it depending on the person using the term.

Strangely enough, I know many adult students who would not call themselves musicians even though they clearly are, and I think that is a shame.
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#1988696 - 11/19/12 08:53 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2749
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Too bad the word doesn't use our normal friendly suffix -er for 'one who.' The -ian makes it sound like there are some real qualifications needed.
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#1988702 - 11/19/12 09:04 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: malkin]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: malkin
Too bad the word doesn't use our normal friendly suffix -er for 'one who.' The -ian makes it sound like there are some real qualifications needed.


Like a "musicker"? laugh It might catch on.
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#1988706 - 11/19/12 09:11 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2749
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I like it!
Maybe "to music" could become a verb too while we're at it.

"I will music at 7:30."
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#1988707 - 11/19/12 09:18 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: malkin]
Morodiene Online   content
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: malkin
I like it!
Maybe "to music" could become a verb too while we're at it.

"I will music at 7:30."


How long do you have to music before you become a musicker?
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#1988712 - 11/19/12 09:23 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Jacob777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/07
Posts: 103
Maybe this is a semantics thing but I think I prefer the term "a communicator of music" rather than "a musician". There is something too solid and "boxed in" feel to the term "a musician". It also feels to me like too much of a trap set up by our ego, as if we play for people to earn their applause rather than to prioritize liberating them and ourselves through music. Isn't this why we became interested in the first place? Or was it simply another way to land a trophy on our lap like so much of life seems to be about? I prefer to think of music as something grander, something that reaches much farther, something to unite us all and not just another accomplishment to satisfy our insatiable hungry ego.

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#1988717 - 11/19/12 09:28 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Jacob777]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jacob777
Maybe this is a semantics thing but I think I prefer the term "a communicator of music" rather than "a musician". There is something too solid and "boxed in" feel to the term "a musician". It also feels to me like too much of an ego thing, as if we play for people to earn their applause rather than to prioritize liberating them and ourselves through music. Isn't this why we became interested in the first place? Or was it simply another way to land a trophy on our lap like so much of life seems to be about? I prefer to think of music as something grander, something that reaches much farther, something to unite us all and not just another accomplishment to satisfy our insatiable hungry ego.


But musician is easier to say. Let people who hear us play decide if we can communicate smile.
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#1988722 - 11/19/12 09:36 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3187

Back to the original topic of "when" do you become a musician, I recall that a while back there was a thread that tried to describe "what is music".

That did not prove possible, at least in anything resembling a complete description. Some said music is "rhythm", others "sound", and so forth, but to no satisfying end.

I think this question of "when" one becomes a musician is similarly impossible to describe.
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#1988724 - 11/19/12 09:38 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
CraigG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Canada
Maybe once you've moved beyond focusing primarily on what is written in the score and you begin to explore what is not written in the score?
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#1988728 - 11/19/12 09:44 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: CraigG]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: CraigG
Maybe once you've moved beyond focusing primarily on what is written in the score and you begin to explore what is not written in the score?


But I think the demeans all the work that goes into the foundational parts of learning to play an instrument. Certainly, one is a musician then, but perhaps less effective at communicating?
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#1988736 - 11/19/12 10:36 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Morodiene]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 656
Loc: Chicago
I have played piano all my life. 5 or so years ago I took up jazz. I play almost every day, take lessons, listen all the time, and I have played some paying gigs, and many, many, non paying gigs.

I absolutely DO NOT consider myself a musician. To call myself a musician is to eliminate any distinction between the true professionals who have devoted countless hours and years of their lives to this art form, and who play light years better than I do. If I'm a musician, then what terminology do we have to distinguish my amateur efforts from the efforts of those those who have dedicated their lives to it?

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