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Playing Music for Its Own Sake

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by matthewbrown, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I read THIS article in the NYT, "In Praise of Mediocrity" and it resonated with me. There's NOTHING WRONG with playing a musical instrument just for the fun of learning how to do it and for the joy of performing for the your own pleasure and the pleasure of your listeners. It is, after all, as the author points out, one important reason we have leisure time. I love my work. But one reason I work is so I can play music more and enjoy it more richly.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Novarocker, jamro217 and lowplaces like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Playing for the pleasure of the listener is not something I associate with mediocrity. Being a hack is, cutting corners, not practicing on your own time. I believe as long as you give a damn you're past mediocrity.
    dbsfgyd1, DrayMiles, bearfoot and 9 others like this.
  4. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    Personally I just enjoy the act of creation. It reminds me of when I was a little kid drawing pictures with crayons at the kitchen table. No illusions of "making it", no goals and no reason other than just having fun exercising my imagination. Music is my "grown up" version of that same activity.
  5. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    I spent over 50 years working/getting paid for playing music. Now I do it at home (almost every day) just for the love of it. I'll stop when I'm 6' under.
  6. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ? Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    I host an open mic on Wednesdays at a friend of mine's neighborhood bar.

    I received no compensation but a couple of beers, and I had to purchase a small PA.

    It's worth it to me just to get to play out.

    I've been trying for 2 years now to get a Americana Originals project going but I can't find people willing to commit to a minimum of three rehearsals/sessions a week yet.

    So in the meantime, hosting the open mic at least gets me out of the living room lol
  7. leftiebass


    Oct 17, 2009
    There is what Pete Seeger and others called the folk process. He greatly encouraged playing one's own music, making one's own art and so on. Alone, and together with friends and family, whatever. The notion that music is for professionals is a distortion - nothing against professionals. (I confess to not reading the article - so I hope that I am not too off point. Someone once asked me why I create art? (I'm not professional), I thought and said that I COULD handle not being a 'very good' artist, but I could not handle NOT being an artist at all.
    BMGecko, retslock, Joebone and 3 others like this.
  8. Yeah I think it's pretty unrealistic to ask for a 3x/week commitment for an originals band with no paying gigs lined up.

    My suggestion instead is this: Hire some musicians to be your "house band" for the open mic night. Every week, get up and perform a couple of your original songs with the house band. Think of it as a paid rehearsal, with an audience. Over time, playing with the same group of people every week, you will get pretty tight, and then you can think about getting some additional gigs as a unit.
    Joebone, plong123, HolmeBass and 3 others like this.
  9. The chances of you finding someone to do that is pretty much zero. As you may have noticed. Once a week is plenty.
  10. My Wife plays piano, violin, and a little guitar. She has absolutely no desire to get on stage and play for an audience. We have the upstairs living room of our house dedicated as the "piano room." It has our baby grand, our viol family instruments, a couch, and two comfy chairs. That's where she plays (and I do as well sometimes). She loves it just like that. She plays for herself.

    Piano and Cello.JPG
    pcake, spvmhc, G-Z and 8 others like this.
  11. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    I gave up playing live, partly because I would rather write and record originals than be in a bar band, playing Margarettaville to tipsy patrons every weekend. So now I'm a one-man writer/player/engineer/producer. I post my songs online, make the odd video, and almost nobody listens. But as pointed out by many above, I do it for myself. Other than my offspring, it may be all I ever leave behind to posterity.
    MonetBass, rtav, bass10bfb and 9 others like this.
  12. I belong to a small band -- 4 musicians, all retired teachers or social workers, no pro musicians. We play 20-25 gigs a year, mostly at nursing homes, retirement or senior centers, some busking. Today it was a soup kitchen, a week ago a nearby fall festival. We almost never charge to perform -- we play music that we like, just for the fun of it. Still we get donations and tips, and pay for any band expenses (recently a new PA speaker) out of that. If you ask me, it's well worth it.
    dbbltime, rohi, interp and 1 other person like this.
  13. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    Isn't this how virtually every musician starts out? Of course, 99.99% never go any further, which is fine. But even the greats started just as people who wanted to play just for the sheer pleasure of it.
  14. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ? Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Well, I do have an excellent fiddle player and an excellent drummer who will commit the time. But they both want me to find two or three other members first.

    And I know they're serious because they stay in touch with me. They like my bass skills, vocals, and both are especially fond of my lyrics.

    I need two guitarists who sing and we're set. And of course they have to have arrangement skills as well.

    I'll find them. Just a matter of time.

    As far as hiring people to back me up that's not going to happen. That would be getting into pay-to-play territory.

    Anyhow, that once a week practice thing just isn't going to cut it for me. I saw it too often in the late 70s and early 80s in bands I was in. They all want to do it on the weekends and there's always somebody that has a birthday or something coming up and can't make it and then another band member or two decides unless everybody's going to be there we might as well wait till next week... Yada yada yada
    928cat and Rock Salad like this.
  15. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    3 rehearsals a week for a band with no gigs is not a realistic thing to ask of anyone. Maybe once a week for a rehearsal band is the most you should ask.
  16. Ghook


    Sep 25, 2018
    Eastern US
    Ahhhh, music for the sake of music. It's therapy. It has no endpoint, just joy, distraction , progress.
    MonetBass, rtav, 928cat and 7 others like this.
  17. JDT36

    JDT36 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2018
    New York City
    I saw the NYT article and drew the same conclusion. It's a wonderful thing to mentally compartmentalize (a) the relentless pursuit of achievement central to one's professional aspirations from (b) the satisfaction of simply engaging in the creative process for its own sake for one's personal ambitions and hobbies.
    matthewbrown likes this.
  18. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    If I didn't play, I'd drink more, mebbe drug again, and beat my kids.

    OK, that's meant to be funny - just ask my kids.

    But I'd certainly lose my little mind.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  19. Mili


    Nov 14, 2015
    To me music for anything but music is not music. It's business... i don't give a rat's corpse to audiences generally.
    G Aichele likes this.
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    playing music for music's sake does not have to be mediocrity … there are many very good musicians with good day jobs
    JRA, Spectrum, Rock Salad and 2 others like this.

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