At which point can you call yourself a musician?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Cambass, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. Cambass


    Jan 25, 2001
    When do you think the term 'musician' can be applied to you? For example if someone says "What do you do?", would you say, among other things, that you are a musician? Do you have to be playing professionally to be considered one or do you think that simply playing an instrument, as a hobby or professionally, is enough?
  2. anon5458975


    Apr 5, 2001
    If you can't let a day slip by without thinking, practicing, playing or writting music than you are a musician. If you're getting paid, you're a professional musician, whether you're a part timer or full time.

    That's how I look at it anyway.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The minute you pick up an instrument with the intent of making music, you're a musician. You spend your entire lifetime becoming a "good" musician.
  4. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    When I filed my taxes two years ago, I told the guy preparing my return, that I wanted to be listed as a musician for my occupation. He told me that since what I was doing was not supplying me with any verifiable income, I couldn't use "musician" as my occupation. I had to go with "laborer," even though I was making more money working as a musician than I was making packing boxes. Apparently, the IRS doesn't consider you a musician until you are making enough money to share with them. :(

    Before that incident, I would probably have agreed with Big Wheel.
  5. its when u get groupies...

    *shudders* and very LARGE groupies :eek:


  6. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    I agree.
    If you're trying to get a "how long do you have to play before you're a musician?" response, I'd say after you actually create your first song.

    So, I'd say one of those two. :)
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    when you make music.
  8. anon5458975


    Apr 5, 2001
    Hey there Ed, I understand what you're saying.

    I certainly wouldn't say that anyone who goes out and purchases an instrument is instantly a musician, but the way I look at it is that if someone truly has a passion for understanding and creating music and is purposefully intent on putting in the work (listening, thinking, practicing, writting, playing) to attain a greater level of musicianship like you have described, than I certainly would consider that person a musician. The person may not be a great musician, but certainly is a work in progress. Maybe I'm bias? ;)

    And personally, I too find a good deal of musical inspiration from things that have little or nothing to do with music. From sunsets to everyday conversation.
  9. Ah, but does one have to create their own music to be a musician?

    Let's consider say, Bruce Springstein and Al DiMeola.
    I think more people would say they like Springstein's music compared with DiMeola's, but, I doubt if Springstein could keep up with DiMeola after 1st gear, and yet they both create their own valid music.

    Now consider some unknown studio player who never wrote his own stuff, yet plays on the recordings of top money makers.

    Very insidious question, but, good. Kinda like: When is someone considered an actor, or an author.

    BY JOVE, I HAVE IT ! We're dealing with art, that's why it's so hard to nail down. But nailing down things would be carpentry, and that's a trade. :D

    Mike J.
  10. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    I think it's when you do your first gig, you know, perform in public.
  11. john turner said...

    when you make music.

    Best definition I've heard so far.

  12. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    The question is when do you call yourself a musician...and when taken literally I think it's just about any time you feel comfortable with referring to yourself as a musician. In this context I particularly agree with Darrel's first reply.

    When other musicians consider you to be a musician is another story altogether.

    Last time I checked there was no central authority that conveys the title of "musician" upon only those that qualify by meeting a set of strict standards.

    I think the title of "musician" can be worn, much like a coat. You can wear it whenever you want to, but you and everyone around will notice immediatly if it doesn't fit.
  13. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    The verifiable income part is key there. If you make more as a musician than at any other job, but it's not on the books are far better off not listing 'musician' as your occupation. When it comes to IRS matters, never reveal more than is absolutely required. Keep your cards close.

    Giving them a reason to think you have more income is just inviting them to get their grabby hands in your pocket. I'm not anti-government or anti-tax or anything like that, I'm just saying that if the income is not on the books, do your best to keep it that way.

    It's kind of like wait staff. They must claim their wages, plus a minimum amount to account for their tips. They can claim the actual amount in tips if they like, but naturally, they always claim the minimum ( I believe as a percentage of their booked wages). They are usually paid only a nominal wage, the tips comprise the bulk of their income in most cases. They make out because the tips are not verifiable income.

    The tax laws change so often because the IRS continually wants to close loopholes in the code. You wouldn't believe what people have gotten away with in the past just because the law makers lacked the foresight to see how the code could be exploited. Beware though, they've gotten a lot better at it over the years. Taxation is largely a matter of avoidance, not evasion, but avoidance.
  14. Take it from JT and allan - that's all it is. The music you make is the critical factor.

    You don't have to be a pro. There are "amateur" bassists who can smoke me off the fretboard or write much better basslines than I. They are better "musicians" than I. But I am still a musician because I can create music.

    Take someone in their school band - Most people, including those people in their school bands, would consider them "students." But, they are also musicians in that they have the ability to make music.

    Don't get hung up on the "musician" or "pro/amateur" thing. It has nothing to do with the level of "musicianship." Besides, my J.A.P. sister-in-law knows I sustain myself by playing bass......yet she considers me an "unemployed bum" to a large degree, because that isn't a "real job" in her mind.
  15. I think the answer is: " the point where you can make music" (as has already been said...). However, this brings up the next question, which is: "At what point can you call yourself a GOOD musician..."

    Oh, by the way - I'm not talking "entertainer" - I'm talking "GOOD musician"

    - Wil
  16. chipmolter

    chipmolter Guest

    Aug 27, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    This begs the question "What is music?"
    If we talk about music as a commodity, then anyone who makes money making music is a musician. If we talk about music as an art, then the defintion of musician must be more selective. Not everyone who picks up a paintbrush in Painting 101 is an artist. Not every painting of poker-playing dogs is a piece of art.
  17. lesfleanut

    lesfleanut Guest

    Sep 25, 2001
    Syracuse N.Y.
    when people ask you what you 'do' there asking what your job is. if you are a profesional musician you would tell them you are a musicain. but i think you realy become a musicain when you start writing music.:)
  18. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    It's a subjective question. When would you consider yourself a musician? I am not nearly as knowlegeable as Ed. But I love to play. I love to write songs, and come up with interesting grooves for them. I do want to be able to sight read and I do want to know music theory front and back. But so far I do not. However, I am a musician because I have made the decision to be one. What others might consider me doesn't matter to me.
  19. cap


    Aug 8, 2001
    Hickam Hawaii