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#1988738 - 11/19/12 10:46 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jjo]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: jjo
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?


Wow jjo -- you're hardcore...

There are of course "world class musicians", "good musicians" and "mediocre ones", "Pro musicians", "amateur musicians" and "weekend-warriors" , etc. So the label isn't so absolute.
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#1988741 - 11/19/12 10:54 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jjo]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 990
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: jjo
... 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?


Just add an adjective, a qualifier. The phrase professional musician carries more weight than amateur musician. For raw beginners, aspiring musician. For an advanced amateur, the phrase accomplished musician says a lot to me. To me they are all musicians, though the level of proficiency varies. I would consider all that uploaded pieces for the recital to be musicians, though perhaps only 5% or 10% approach the level of full time professionals. Most here are hobbyists, amateurs, and perfectly happy with their station in the musical world.
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#1988759 - 11/20/12 12:06 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jjo]
Devrie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: jjo
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?


There is a distinction, then, between a musican and someone with a musical hobby, right?

Since you've played all your life and you do not consider yourself a musician, your resistance to calling yourself a musican begs the question, how much of being a musician is pure devotion, and how much is natural talent? (and for the record, I would totally consider you a musican by default smile )

I knew a kid who was 18 years old when I met him. He played guitar and wrote music. He lived, thought, saw and heard life in musical vibrations. He was (and is) a really cool kid, but his affinity for music almost seemed to hang on the line right where it divides genius from insanity. He'd play any guitar, even if it had a bent neck and three strings. He'd just adjust to the new sound and make it work, and it worked like you wouldn't believe.

He started playing guitar around 9 years old. So, that gives him 9 years. Does that make him a musician?

I don't think we can measure musicianship by years, because a year for me with the piano equates to a few weeks in one year of that kid who played guitar for 9 years.

Perhaps being a musician involves two things:

1. An incredible drive toward learning and perfecting and being involved with music

and

2. The ability and drive to innovate and create.

Then again, Merriam Webster defines a musican as:

: a composer, conductor, or performer of music; especially : instrumentalist

So, technically, anyone who is consistantly learning and perfecting an instrument, no matter what level he or she is at, is a musician. The dictionary's example of the word in a sentence is "She's a very talented musician," which implies that the word "musician" carries less significance about the performer's skills and devotion than the qualifiers such as "talented," "amazing," "novice," and "awful."

So, if you can be an awful musician, anyone who plays an instrument is a musician.



Edited by Devrie (11/20/12 12:09 AM)

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#1988762 - 11/20/12 12:18 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 334
Loc: San Diego, CA
So are we down to this definition? A musician is anyone who claims to be making music. And it is up to others to judge if that person is a great musician, a good musician, or the world's worst musician.

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#1988772 - 11/20/12 12:48 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: SoundThumb]
Devrie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Florida
Well, when you put it that way... maybe not! smile

But than again, we revert to the definition of music. Are you making "music," if you're fumbling over keys (or strings or winds)?

I would expect a "musician" to have some mastery in his or her domain of music.

He or she should be able to comfortably and confidently play an instrument. You can't just learn Chopsticks and say, "I'm a musician."

But you don't have to play advanced levels of piano solos in all musical periods to be a piano player who is a "musician," either.

I know of some people who are very good at hearing music and playing the right chord phrasings to go with othe musical instruments. They can improvise by ear and on the spot. They play interesing runs and innovative musical impovisations, but their piano playing skills, alone, are not equivalent to a master classical pianist. They are musicians who often play several instruments and their musical domain is "jamming!"

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#1988852 - 11/20/12 08:17 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2412
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Anyone who puts paint on any surface is a "painter" but no one thinks that a preschooler happily finger painting on butcher paper takes anything away from painters like Picasso or Michelangelo.

Why is it not so with music?
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#1988874 - 11/20/12 09:17 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: malkin]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 990
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: malkin
Anyone who puts paint on any surface is a "painter" but no one thinks that a preschooler happily finger painting on butcher paper takes anything away from painters like Picasso or Michelangelo.

Why is it not so with music?


Painter is the person that paints the house or the fence. Artist is the person doing watercolors or oils or sculpture. The high level artist has their work at the gallery or at the museum. Even for artists, many casual observers might lump legends such as Rothko and Mondrian into a similar group as a kid with finger paints.
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#1988968 - 11/20/12 01:54 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Sand Tiger]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger

The phrase professional musician carries more weight than amateur musician. For raw beginners, aspiring musician. For an advanced amateur, the phrase accomplished musician says a lot to me. To me they are all musicians, though the level of proficiency varies.


I like this explanation/phrasing the best! +1!

From now on I'm calling myself an aspiring musician!:)
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#1988983 - 11/20/12 02:59 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jazzwee]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 661
Loc: Illinois
I have heard two people play the same arrangement and the one who moves me emotionally has a certain something that is very hard to define. Both will be technically perfect but one is just carried away with it to a different plane...and it comes out in their playing. ??? They just seem to be so at ease with their craft. Just my opinion of course
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#1988994 - 11/20/12 03:39 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
The problem is that putting some talent type of measure is hard because there's ALWAYS someone better than you. You could be playing for 50 years and you'll still feel this. So on that basis, one may never have a chance to call oneself a musician.

Reminds me of the same kind of topic: Do you call yourself a Pianist or Piano Player? Many reserve the word Pianist for someone with Classical chops. But I just add that I'm a "Mediocre" pianist...
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#1989018 - 11/20/12 04:52 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jazzwee]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 624
Loc: Chicago
I guess I am kind of hardcore on this!

I don't think talent really plays a role; that's part of whether you are a good or bad musician. It's the devotion to the art form, making it your life rather than a hobby, even a serious hobby. I have a lot of respect for those who devote their life to something, particularly an art form, which rarely leads to lucrative employment. If you devote your life's work to it, you are a musician. I realize the term can be used very differently, and very legitimately in different ways, by different people. This is only how I use it.

Part of this probably grows out of the small amount of guilt I have when I play a gig. Am I worthy of playing the gig, yes. Do people really enjoy what I do; yes. I get great feedback. But I know how hard it is for so many "true" musicians in our town to get consistent gigs that I always feel (a little bit) like they should be there instead of me.

My therapy session is now over.

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#1989027 - 11/20/12 05:20 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jjo]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: jjo
I guess I am kind of hardcore on this!

I don't think talent really plays a role; that's part of whether you are a good or bad musician. It's the devotion to the art form, making it your life rather than a hobby, even a serious hobby. I have a lot of respect for those who devote their life to something, particularly an art form, which rarely leads to lucrative employment. If you devote your life's work to it, you are a musician. I realize the term can be used very differently, and very legitimately in different ways, by different people. This is only how I use it.

Part of this probably grows out of the small amount of guilt I have when I play a gig. Am I worthy of playing the gig, yes. Do people really enjoy what I do; yes. I get great feedback. But I know how hard it is for so many "true" musicians in our town to get consistent gigs that I always feel (a little bit) like they should be there instead of me.

My therapy session is now over.


I hear you. And I can't say I feel different. I compensate by hiring "real musicians" in my band. I'm the wannabe. They need the money. But I get them the gigs. So for that, I get to "play" and they get the "pay". smile

The venue has to refer to us collectively as musicians, in any case, like "you musicians are awful", "we don't feed the musicians", "we can only give a small pay to the musicians", "you jazz musicians need to play some rock and roll", "you musicians ought to be glad you're playing here" ...and so on...

So a musician is a service provider. Kinda like house maids, custodians, street cleaners, etc. That way they don't have to refer to us as "Hey you---use the employee back entrance". wink

(and the above isn't that far from the truth...)
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#1989051 - 11/20/12 06:25 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jazzwee]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 624
Loc: Chicago
Last gig I played was a charity event (for free) and the venue first asked us to provide an insurance certificate. While they eventually waived the requirement, I was thinking: Hey don't you know I'm not really a musician?

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#1989067 - 11/20/12 07:30 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1989142 - 11/20/12 10:07 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: aTallGuyNH]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2412
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!


"insufferable blowhard" just makes me laugh!

I'm not hoping to be a musician, I just want to avoid being an insufferable blowhard!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1989194 - 11/21/12 01:08 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Devrie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Florida
I think that's it!

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#1989209 - 11/21/12 03:14 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: malkin]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2409
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!


"insufferable blowhard" just makes me laugh!

I'm not hoping to be a musician, I just want to avoid being an insufferable blowhard!


laugh
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#1989213 - 11/21/12 03:40 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Teodor Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 944
Loc: Bulgaria
It happens when you accept that you are a musician and allow yourself to be one without comparing yourself to how good someone else is. It's when you do your own thing and walk your own path and share something of your own through music. smile
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#1989319 - 11/21/12 10:05 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: SoundThumb]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Hi,

Originally Posted By: SoundThumb
So are we down to this definition? A musician is anyone who claims to be making music. And it is up to others to judge if that person is a great musician, a good musician, or the world's worst musician.


As I see it, this definition, maybe a bit oversimplified, fits in well.

Then there are pros and amateurs, but a pro is someone that makes money doing an activity, an amateur is someone who does something for pleasure or hobby. It (pro or amateur) can be applied to musicians, runners, painters, farmers, etc.

A musician is someone who plays music. A pro musician is someone who gets paid for playing music. An amateur musician is someone who plays as a hobby.

Then there are good pro musicians, bad pro musicians, good amateur musicians, bad amateur musicians. It's possible for an amateur musician to be a lot better than some pro musicians, bad usually pro musicians tend to be better than amateurs (so somebody will pay them for hearing how they play).

So I am an amateur musician (I play piano music and nobody is going to pay for hearing me to play). I am not amongst the good ones. I am not even near the good ones (in case of doubt my teacher can corroborate that). At least I hope not to be an insufferable blowhard, but I am not the one who has to judge it. Up to know my neighbours are not complaining when I play so that proves that I have achieved that... or at least that my apartment is sound-proof smile

This is my view on the subject... but sometimes semantics are tricky and there are multiple uses for the same words.

Regards,
Kurt.-

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#1989570 - 11/21/12 08:08 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: griffin2417]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!


"insufferable blowhard" just makes me laugh!

I'm not hoping to be a musician, I just want to avoid being an insufferable blowhard!


laugh





Just curious
Would there be such thing as a sufferable blowhard?

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#1989610 - 11/21/12 11:02 PM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4217
Loc: Arizona.
To me, music is a form of communication. A universal one. It's a form of communication that can clearly express true emotions and meaning through the input and expression of the performer.

So, in a sense, a good musician is similar to a good communicator in that there message has to be sent and (hopefully), accurately received.

Whatever musical message you want to send is up to you. How it gets received is usually dependent on how it was sent which will usually go back to the transmission (the performance) to begin with.

So what does this all mean you ask??,....well nothing. I'm just screwing around.

The real answer is so simple. Without over thinking this, if others enjoy your playing, then your playing is music to there ears.

Now let's eat!

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#1990016 - 11/23/12 09:34 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: Schroeder II]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: Schroeder II
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!


"insufferable blowhard" just makes me laugh!

I'm not hoping to be a musician, I just want to avoid being an insufferable blowhard!


laugh





Just curious
Would there be such thing as a sufferable blowhard?


Perhaps... i.e. a blowhard who is unpleasant, but marginally tolerable smile

in·suf·fer·a·ble/inˈsəf(ə)rəbəl/
Adjective:
Too extreme to bear; intolerable.
Having or showing unbearable arrogance or conceit

blow·hard/ˈblōˌhärd/
Noun:
A person who blusters and boasts in an unpleasant way.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1990020 - 11/23/12 09:58 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: malkin]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Isn't it much like the term "expert"?

If you give yourself the label, you sound like an insufferable blowhard. You just have to wait for someone else to give you the label, which is completely subjective of course!


"insufferable blowhard" just makes me laugh!

I'm not hoping to be a musician, I just want to avoid being an insufferable blowhard!


I am finding it absolutely hilarious that you have made this your sig line.

Of course, I find myself in a job interview the other day and I am asked regarding a particular area of my experience: "would you consider yourself an expert?"...

Ummmm... uhhh... "Yes, I guess so" was my bumbling answer. Rather than professionally conveying my opinion that saying so of myself would make me sound like an insufferable blowhard, I instead said the exact opposite of what I think people should say in order to demonstrate having a modicum of humility.

Arrrrrrghhhh!!!
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1990589 - 11/25/12 05:49 AM Re: When do you become a "musician" [Re: jazzwee]
Stephen300o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/12
Posts: 62
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Originally Posted By: jjo
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?


Wow jjo -- you're hardcore...

There are of course "world class musicians", "good musicians" and "mediocre ones", "Pro musicians", "amateur musicians" and "weekend-warriors" , etc. So the label isn't so absolute.



Typical musician, never think they're good enough.

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