Jazz Guitar

View Poll Results: Do you play as a job or as a hobby?

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  • Career

    48 17.14%
  • Hobby

    135 48.21%
  • I get paid occasionally/not full time musician

    97 34.64%
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  1. #51
    I am:

    A pro teacher

    An aspiring-to-be pro jazz player who has, up to this point, spent much more time practicing than networking and schmoozing, or even jamming with people.

    I don't gig as often as I'd like (that is something I am actively trying to change), but when I do play out it is definitely with pro "level" players. Whether I'm keeping up with them to their satisfaction I'm not sure, but I get the calls every now and again!

    So I'm a full time musician but not a full time player - more like part time teacher, part time practicer, and wee bit part time gigger. My thing with gigs these days is that I only take the gigs that seem interesting to me...no more rock or folk gigs, for the most part.
    Oh, hi - if interested, I post a lot of playing/practice clips at www.instagram.com/JakeEstner

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  3. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    I am jazz guitar player.

    AMEN.

  4. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Patrick: the English language (like most languages, I think) evolves, in almost every respect. Languages tend to expand; they seldom contract.
    Yes, 400 or so years ago, we had Shakespeare; nowadays, you have "Dude, I was like, duh!"


    "....... the hundreds of millions of people who speak American English".

    Much shuddering this side of the Pond by those of us for whom "English" is quite sufficient.



  5. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Patrick: the English language (like most languages, I think) evolves, in almost every respect. Languages tend to expand; they seldom contract. Dictionaries don’t determine a language; instead, it is the other way around. A good dictionary reflects the language as it is spoken by those who speak it. For American English, I think most linguists agree that The American Heritage Dictionary is the best. Nonetheless, if you want to use another, that is fine with me.

    Assuming that The American Heritage is okay with you as a document of spoken word meanings in America, we can look there and find that the word “professional” has more than one meaning. This is according to the hundreds of millions of people who speak American English.

    Again, the language evolves. But it evolves slowly. One person – whether a Heritage representative or a United States President – cannot, by merely deeming it so in an Internet forum, and by tagging it with “IMO,” change the meaning of the words that are the backbone and guts of the language itself.

    The American Heritage Dictionary on “Professional”:

    ADJECTIVE:

    1. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
    2. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
    3. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.
    4. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
    5. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.

    NOUN:

    1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
    2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
    3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.


    Now, Patrick, imagine for a moment that your exemplary guitar players -- Tommy Emmanuel; Julian Bream; and George Benson -- for whatever reason (the reason is irrelevant for the moment) got together and decided they were sick of performing, sick of the business – and what’s more that any further money from record sales, etc., would be forfeited.

    This is philosophy, Patrick - s search for the truth, which often involves hypothetical situations - so please don't ruin it by saying something like, "Oh, they'd never do that."

    By your proposed definition of "hobbyist," (and by no one else's) aren't Tommy, Julian, and George now only “hobbyists?”

    Isn’t each a “skilled practitioner; an expert”? (noun – #3 of "Professional")

    Doesn’t each “have or show great skill”? (Adjective – #5 of "Professional")


    People who earn money or a livelihood can obviously be “professionals” in their fields, too – but in our language, Patrick, an expert guitarist, or one showing great skill, need not be undeserving of the term, just because money isn’t part of the picture.

    And as much as you would like the language to accommodate your desire to be right in this discussion, it simply doesn’t.


    Now, as for your proposed label for people whose very lives revolve around playing guitar, or pursuing some other art I suppose -- the label "serious hobbiest (sic) musician" -- jeez, how awkward can it get? "What do you do?" "Oh, I'm a serious hobbyist musician."

    Are you serious? Evan as an answer to, "Do you have any hobbies?" This: "Yeah, I'm a serious hobbyist..." Come on.

    I often answer that question like this: "Are you asking me how I pay bills, or what I actually do most of the time?" And I wait until the person specifies. I'm polite about it and I smile a lot, and nobody has ever seemed to take offense -- but it starts some interesting conversations.

    Labels and "pigeon holes" are bad things, imo. They let people easily and quickly file other people away in neat little categories, rather than recognizing others' uniqueness and interest. It's another symptom of an assembly-line society. "Whaddayado - NEXT!!!"
    Quite the post kojo! Interesting that you picked out only those definitions in your dictionary that supported your own opinions. You seemed to miss/avoid focus on those that said . . . "engaged in a specific activity as a source of income or livelyhood". Or, where the definition referred to being an extension of "profession" . . . and then "profession" refered to "occupation . . . each of which referenced remuneration.

    To answer you question regarding the musicians I referenced . . . if Tommy Emmanual, Julian Bream and George Benson were to stop accepting remuneration/compensation for performing, then yes. They would indeed be hobbyists. Performing hobbyists, performing at the levels of professionalism I enumerated in my 1st post on this matter . . . but hobbyists none the less. If my own skill levels or yours, exceeded those of those 3 three guitarists . . collectively . . . (boy, wouldn't we be happy!) but, we chose to never play for anyone except our family and in our home . . . would that make us hobbyists? Or would we too be professionals? With regard to educators of guitar who never gig for compensation, but are paid to teach . . . they too are NOT professional musicians. They are professional educators, trained and qualified to educate in the field of music!

    No attempts here to rewrite the American English language to fit my desires. Just a more total and exacting interpretation of its already existing definitions.

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    I guess the rift in my own interpretations lies in the difference between being a paid professional and being a hobbyist capable of performing at a professional level. In which case, it kinda makes it a play on words and semantics .. . doesn't it? Sometimes we all probably inter-twine the two . . . . . I know I do!!

  7. #56
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00190-0073.pdf

    Of course, he must be writing in Canadian English (huge amounts of ) but he's quoting the OED, so that's alright then........

  8. #57
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    Heh!! Oxford . . . . what the hell do they know about the English language???

  9. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Heh!! Oxford . . . . what the hell do they know about the English language???
    Yeh, exactly! Damn their Dictionary..and their University..and their Bags...and their Knot...

    and Inspector Morse too, for that matter.

  10. #59
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    A bit hung up on semantics in this thread I think.

    The OP did use the word 'career' in the actual poll.

    There are many occupations that are not generally considered a 'profession' were you could easily make more than 50k a year. A house painter, a framer, an accounting clerk etc.

    I think if you aren't pulling in 40k a year or more from performing music, you may be a great musician, but to me it is a stretch to consider that a viable career. And imo, I wouldn't consider you a professional performing musician.

    A 'Professional' that can't put away savings to buy a house, or save for retirement, or pay for health care. That makes no sense to me and some may consider that irresponsible.

    And if you can't agree with that, how about using the poverty level as the threshold, certainly if you can't get yourself more than the poverty level performing music, then you can't consider that a career or yourself a professional.

    Code:
    The 2011 Poverty Guidelines for the
    48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
    Persons in family	Poverty guideline
    1	                 $10,890
    2	                  14,710
    3	                  18,530
    4	                  22,350
    5	                  26,170
    6	                  29,990
    7	                  33,810
    8	                  37,630
    For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,820 for each additional person.
    Last edited by fep; 02-09-2012 at 01:47 PM.

  11. #60
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    So I'm a pro guitarist even though I don't make any money as a musician or gig much? Sweet, can't wait to add this to my resume!

  12. #61
    One phenomenon I've noticed in the UK is that people with formal music qualifications who teach (say) piano or trombone, and top up their income playing shows or in bands almost never describe themselves as professional musicians. Yet guitar players in similar situations very often do.

    I find it strange, and frankly rather narcissistic, that many guitarists claim "pro musician" status on flimsier grounds than people playing other instruments.

  13. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    A bit hung up on semantics in this thread I think.

    The OP did use the word 'career' in the actual poll.

    There are many occupations that are not generally considered a 'profession' were you could easily make more than 50k a year. A house painter, a framer, an accounting clerk etc.

    I think if you aren't pulling in 40k a year or more from performing music, you may be a great musician, but to me it is a stretch to consider that a viable career. And imo, I wouldn't consider you a professional performing musician.

    A 'Professional' that can't put away savings to buy a house, or save for retirement, or pay for health care. That makes no sense to me and some may consider that irresponsible.

    And if you can't agree with that, how about using the poverty level as the threshold, certainly if you can't get yourself more than the poverty level performing music, then you can't consider that a career or yourself a professional.
    I don't know that I would feel comfortable judging one's level of professionalism by their amount of income. There can always be extenuating circumstances affecting someone's levels of income. Do we start to say . . . "Ok . . . if you earn at least $80,000 per year gigging you're a pro. But, if you earn less you're not". Who gets to set the criteria and the thresholds? As you stated in the beginning of your post, there are semantics and subjectivity abound in all of these posts. However, I see only 2 truths as it relates to the term professional; Truth number 1; if someone is getting paid/compensated for performing music, they are either a full time professional or a part time (some time) professional. Truth number 2; there are people who are capable of performing at a professional level as it relates to skills, talents and disciplines . . . but are not earning as a result of their performances, thereby they perform as hobbyists.

  14. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Quite the post kojo! Interesting that you picked out only those definitions in your dictionary that supported your own opinions. You seemed to miss/avoid focus on those that said . . . "engaged in a specific activity as a source of income or livelyhood". Or, where the definition referred to being an extension of "profession" . . . and then "profession" refered to "occupation . . . each of which referenced remuneration.
    Patrick, I think the last encounter I had with you was in a thread in which you accused me of having called you a "snob" -- only to find, upon actually reading my post that I had NOT called you any name. You apologized ("Peace, man!") -- but still it sticks in the memory.

    This time you're accusing me of "plagiarism-by-omission," I suppose we could call it. Claiming to quote a dictionary, but selecting the definitions that I want and omitting the rest.

    Especially as a writer, I find this insulting, Patrick.

    I don't know whether you read this post of mine - the one you just flamed - but had you read it, you would recall that I offered you the use of any other dictionary for finding our word meanings. Selecting a dictionary other than The American Heritage might have helped; so you could have done that. What I really don't understand is why you didn't double-check the dictionary I used, to SEE for yourself the definitions it listed? The link is below - look at it. I added nothing, took nothing away.


    This is an Internet forum. Since we are "on" the Internet, and since I needed a dictionary, I decided it appropriate to use a dictionary that's also "on" the Internet. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is, entirely, online, and this is the source of my copied and pasted entry for the word "professional." You can look back at my post, and then at the source - or look at only one, for they are exactly the same. Copied, pasted. Then, if you still think I have plagiarized, I'd like to hear you explain how. Hearing an apology would be nice, too.

    American Heritage Dictionary Entry: professional

    kj
    Last edited by Kojo27; 02-10-2012 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Politeness

  15. #64

    There is a lot to say about Men's love for the guitar.

    If there money down the jazz rabbit hole well why not.If not money Love there it be.

  16. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Patrick, I think the last encounter I had with you was in a thread in which you whined on and on about my having called you a "snob" -- how dare anyone call you a name, blah, blah -- only to find, upon actually reading my post that I had NOT called you any name. You apologized ("Peace, man!") -- but still it sticks in the memory.

    This time you're accusing me of "plagiarism-by-omission," I suppose we could call it. Claiming to quote a dictionary, but selecting the definitions that I want and omitting the rest.

    Especially as a writer, I find this insulting, Patrick.

    I don't know whether you read this post of mine - the one you just flamed - but had you read it, you would recall that I offered you the use of any other dictionary for finding our word meanings. Selecting a dictionary other than The American Heritage would have obviated your tantrum, so why didn't you take the offer? Moreover, why didn't you double-check the dictionary I used, to SEE for yourself the definitions it listed?

    There's a well-known phenomenon in clinical psychology, understood now for a hundred years, called "projection." We assign to other people the motives and actions that we, ourselves, would feel or carry out in the same situation. I can see no other explanation for your accusation, Patrick. Had you been presenting proof of a word's meanings, in order to make a logical point, you would have stooped without a thought to using only the dictionary entries that served your unethical purpose. And you would have left out the rest. If you can otherwise explain your jejune fit of accusations, sensibly, please do, and I'll apologize. But I think this is what you've done. You've shown us how YOUR mind works.

    This is an Internet forum. Since we are "on" the Internet, and since I needed a dictionary, I decided it appropriate to use a dictionary that's also "on" the Internet. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is, entirely, online, and this is the source of my copied and pasted entry for the word "professional." You can look back at my post, and then at the source - or look at only one, for they are exactly the same. Copied, pasted. Then, if you still think I have plagiarized, I'd like to hear you explain how. Hearing an apology would be nice, too.

    American Heritage Dictionary Entry: professional

    kj

    I really don't recall the "last encounter" you referenced, but obviously you do. And it seems that even though you indicated that I came back and apologized for my misiterpretation of what ever it was that you wrote, you still hold a grudge about it. That was evident in your pointed comments in your post #50, to which I responded. I have re-read your post and my reply to it. I stand by my reply to that post and I apologize for nothing within it. It seems clear to me that you want to engage me on the matter, but I'll not have it. The "tantrum" is not mine.

    And now, back to jazz guitar.

  17. #66
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    Gosh, you guys. Keep it civil. This pedantic stuff helps no one. Just play!

  18. #67
    Gents, arguements of semantics are often embarrassingly trivial, on both sides.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  19. #68
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    The day that Spanky gave me a dollar to knock out Big Ralphie's front tooth elevated me from amateur dentist to professional. They called me Doc Gumbo after that.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 02-10-2012 at 04:57 AM.

  20. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    I really don't recall the "last encounter" you referenced, but obviously you do. And it seems that even though you indicated that I came back and apologized for my misiterpretation of what ever it was that you wrote, you still hold a grudge about it. That was evident in your pointed comments in your post #50, to which I responded. I have re-read your post and my reply to it. I stand by my reply to that post and I apologize for nothing within it. It seems clear to me that you want to engage me on the matter, but I'll not have it. The "tantrum" is not mine.

    And now, back to jazz guitar.
    Hey Patrick - sorry I let my temper snap at you there. I've cleaned up the post of anything offensive that I can see. If there's anything else not purely factual, or politely opined, send me a PM and I'll see what I can do.

    Apologies, sir.

    kj

  21. #70
    You guys handled that in a very professional manner.

  22. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Star View Post
    You guys handled that in a very professional manner.
    HAH!

  23. #72
    Hey, I didn't say they were professionals, only that they handled it in a professional manner. For all I know they only argue as a hobby.

  24. #73
    I am hobbyist. The guitarist I know that make a living at it are really pro's in the sense that they can play most anything at a gig as needed. One guy is a great jazz enthusiast but he makes most of his money playing country & alt-country, plus the usual assorted wedding gigs where all sorts of pop gets called. He can play most any tune from memory, amazing. And of course he does private lessons plus has a day job.

    I work a corporate gig, the money is good, nice vacations & all that, but its not that special, but playing music always is.

  25. #74
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    I have a full time music teaching gig at a private school pk3-8th grade I teach music to all grade levels, beginning band and middle school band. I own a private lessons studio where I maintain a roster of 30 private students. I play fusion every wednesday night, and I play trad jazz brunch every saturday and sunday( a six hour gig each day) In addition I pick up around four or five private functions a month. I have released three of my own cd's and have been a sideman on several others. I'm married no kids (we are in our 40's). I practice at least two hours a day. I have so much more to learn I wish I had at least two more life times. I don't network, I make friends,I don't promote I tell people what I'm up to. I am a lifelong student and lover of the guitar. I just want to improve.

  26. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy b. View Post
    I have a full time music teaching gig at a private school pk3-8th grade I teach music to all grade levels, beginning band and middle school band. I own a private lessons studio where I maintain a roster of 30 private students. I play fusion every wednesday night, and I play trad jazz brunch every saturday and sunday( a six hour gig each day) In addition I pick up around four or five private functions a month. I have released three of my own cd's and have been a sideman on several others. I'm married no kids (we are in our 40's). I practice at least two hours a day. I have so much more to learn I wish I had at least two more life times. I don't network, I make friends,I don't promote I tell people what I'm up to. I am a lifelong student and lover of the guitar. I just want to improve.
    Go, Eddy, go. I wish I had two (or four!) more lifetimes, too. Getting better is what it's ALL about for me, too.

    Shun labels, for they only tear you down.

    kj

  27. #76
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    Thanks Kojo, I wanted to add along the way my other day jobs have been, bike messenger, furniture delivery guy, furniture salesman, waiter, grocery guy, cell phone salesman, grass cutter...and anytime anyone would ask me what I do I'd say I'm a musician. I believe most of the top tier pros would say hard work and being in the right place at the right time have put them where they are. Keep on keepin' on my jazz brothers..

  28. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy b. View Post
    I have a full time music teaching gig at a private school pk3-8th grade I teach music to all grade levels, beginning band and middle school band. I own a private lessons studio where I maintain a roster of 30 private students. I play fusion every wednesday night, and I play trad jazz brunch every saturday and sunday( a six hour gig each day) In addition I pick up around four or five private functions a month. I have released three of my own cd's and have been a sideman on several others. I'm married no kids (we are in our 40's). I practice at least two hours a day. I have so much more to learn I wish I had at least two more life times. I don't network, I make friends,I don't promote I tell people what I'm up to. I am a lifelong student and lover of the guitar. I just want to improve.
    Right on Eddy.

    I'm sure you've got good or great musical skills. And it looks like you're a real hard worker, organized, and a good business man.

    I'm thinking, that's probably what it takes for many to make a good career out of music... (unless you get a gig with something like the Letterman band, or you're a 1st call studio guy in one of those cities, or you rise to the celebrity status. Not many of those kind of jobs to be had)

  29. #78
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    How do you reply to folks who ask you, "What do you do?"

    Do you say, "I'm a 'butcher' (or 'baker' or 'candlestick maker')."? (or, perhaps, "pediatric dentist" LOL!)

    Or, given some of our ages, "a 'retired' butcher, or ....."?

    Or do you reply, "I'm a jazz guitarist."?

    I know this, most people at a restaurant gig look at you the way most people look at concert performers. They see a "professional". And for those coupla hours, you are exactly that. When you get home you're a spouse, a father, or just another old fart cussin' the gummint again.

  30. #79
    Nuff Said Guest
    Who'ever is successful and makes a good living playing Jazz as a career must be very, very, very talented and hard working. Full credit to them all and best wishes.

    Nuff

  31. #80
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    Hobbiest

    My $$ is made outside of music

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    My advice to a younger person who wants a career in music is not easy. Go get a B.A. degree in Music from an accredited university. It doesn't have to be a big name school, but it ought to be a real university. (No, I'm not going to define what a real university is, but here in Taxifornia, I'm talking about a Cal State campus or better, ok?) If you're a real hotshot, try to get into North Texas State, Indiana, Julliard, or Eastman, for example!

    I'm just a hobbyist or amateur. I do it for the simple love of the instrument and jazz material. My favorite situation is playing in a "pick up" or rehearsal small combo. That's when you have your "ears on" and there's max interaction, or should be. Currently I don't have that kind of situation available but I'm keeping my eyes open for opportunities. In fact I have a keyboard guy lined up who is interested in jamming. Jamming with a piano is fun but a real challenge, with two chordal instruments, and a lot of piano players are used to pounding away with no "interference", leaving the guitarist no space to work in. But I digress.......

    I've been a jazz fan since high school, and finally got to the point where listening wasn't enough. I took a lot of guitar lessons starting in mid-life, and set out to learn sight reading from the beginning, which I did (that meant I had to dump a couple of teachers----you know----they taught "strums" and folk singing...nothing against that but it wasn't my goal).

    Right now my reading chops are rusty but I like sitting down and working on reading, and will be getting back to it real soon. I held down a competitive guitar chair in a modern big band, which functioned as a night class (and also performed here and there) at a local junior college, for twelve years. Each fall, every chair was open for competition. 95% or more of the guitar players who showed up on the first night each fall couldn't read squat.

    For the first couple of nights, the leader would rotate hopeful people to sit in the various positions in all the sections, pass out another chart, and count it down. After that, he arbitrarily chose one regular player and one substitute for each chair (except that he had awesome returning lead players in each horn section). I'm not bragging, but just trying to illustrate in my own insignificant way how learning to read, it seems to me, would be a fundamental skill set for any aspiring pro since it is so competitive out there, and is also crucial to understanding all the theory that goes into jazz....just my opinion.

    Anyway, my strong advice to a young person is: do NOT short-change the education! It's a lot of work and time, but get a B.A. degree in music and take it from there. (Better yet, get a double major with something else that'll give you a backup day job. Heck, you could go on and get an M.A. and then teach at a junior college.)

    Don't say you can't afford college. If you say that, you don't want it bad enough. Work your way through if you have to. Also, remember that rock is the dominant genre in the real world (along with C&W, and maybe worship?), so making money with jazz is always going to be difficult.

    I'm so glad there are a few young people around who want to continue and preserve jazz!
    Last edited by Section Player; 03-02-2012 at 12:08 PM.

  33. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Section Player View Post
    My advice to a younger person who wants a career in music is not easy. Go get a B.A. degree in Music from an accredited university. It doesn't have to be a big name school, but it ought to be a real university. (No, I'm not going to define what a real university is, but here in Taxifornia, I'm talking about a Cal State campus or better, ok?) If you're a real hotshot, try to get into North Texas State, Indiana, Julliard, or Eastman, for example!

    I'm just a hobbyist or amateur. I do it for the simple love of the instrument and jazz material. My favorite situation is playing in a "pick up" or rehearsal small combo. That's when you have your "ears on" and there's max interaction, or should be. Currently I don't have that kind of situation available but I'm keeping my eyes open for opportunities. In fact I have a keyboard guy lined up who is interested in jamming. Jamming with a piano is fun but a real challenge, with two chordal instruments, and a lot of piano players are used to pounding away with no "interference", leaving the guitarist no space to work in. But I digress.......

    I've been a jazz fan since high school, and finally got to the point where listening wasn't enough. I took a lot of guitar lessons starting in mid-life, and set out to learn sight reading from the beginning, which I did (that meant I had to dump a couple of teachers----you know----they taught "strums" and folk singing...nothing against that but it wasn't my goal).

    Right now my reading chops are rusty but I like sitting down and working on reading, and will be getting back to it real soon. I held down a competitive guitar chair in a modern big band, which functioned as a night class (and also performed here and there) at a local junior college, for twelve years. Each fall, every chair was open for competition. 95% or more of the guitar players who showed up on the first night each fall couldn't read squat.

    For the first couple of nights, the leader would rotate hopeful people to sit in the various positions in all the sections, pass out another chart, and count it down. After that, he arbitrarily chose one regular player and one substitute for each chair (except that he had awesome returning lead players in each horn section). I'm not bragging, but just trying to illustrate in my own insignificant way how learning to read, it seems to me, would be a fundamental skill set for any aspiring pro since it is so competitive out there, and is also crucial to understanding all the theory that goes into jazz....just my opinion.

    Anyway, my strong advice to a young person is: do NOT short-change the education! It's a lot of work and time, but get a B.A. degree in music and take it from there. (Better yet, get a double major with something else that'll give you a backup day job. Heck, you could go on and get an M.A. and then teach at a junior college.)

    Don't say you can't afford college. If you say that, you don't want it bad enough. Work your way through if you have to. Also, remember that rock is the dominant genre in the real world (along with C&W, and maybe worship?), so making money with jazz is always going to be difficult.

    I'm so glad there are a few young people around who want to continue and preserve jazz!
    +1 on one of the better posts I've read on this thread. But, then again, this is only section player's 19th post. Give him some time . .. he'll get just as goofy as the rest of us

  34. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    +1 on one of the better posts I've read on this thread. But, then again, this is only section player's 19th post. Give him some time . .. he'll get just as goofy as the rest of us
    Patrick...thanks, but there is NO doubt at all that I will get goofy, because I already am, but just hiding it!! Just ask my wife!.......

  35. #84
    well I am surely only a hobbyist by any definition, have never played out, but I do thoroughly enjoy playing music, to the best of my ability...just holding a guitar feels good to me.

    Myself, even when I was young was never cut out to be professional musician or artist...I chickened out of going to art school, believing then that you needed more than talent to make a living and was not willing to take the chance (just not devoted enough I guess).

    I have always admired the people, who for the love of their craft went ahead to pursue their dream of being an artist no matter what. In all of the arts it is usually the most devoted that are most sucessful.

    Nowadays I make a living as a graphic artist, so I do get to be creative, and I'm not rich but I'm not starving, so it is not all that bad. I enjoy photography as well and shot one wedding a couple of years back and found that I never want to be a pro-photographer, as it then became work.

    With music, I do want to improve, but I don't really care how good I get as long as I keep enjoying it, and I do enjoy it very much. So I am happy to only ever be an amateur.

    I have to say this has been a very interesting thread. ..I think it is pretty cool to hang out here with such varied group of musicians. this internet thing can definitely be a good thing.

  36. #85
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    Interesting

    I know this is an aging thread, and I've been finger-wagged already for using a dictionary (OMG, he brought in a dictionary, the pedant! This sh*t ain't gonna solve anything!)... but:

    I really, really, really dislike this whole thread. I'm amazed (dismayed, maybe) by the number of guys here who went right along with the notion that you're either one... or the other. Pro, or hobbyist. Make a living at it? PRO! Don't make a living? Hobbyist.

    Bullshit.

    Why do musicians have to accept a stupid pigeon hole label, and wear it like a crown, by god? Do artists - painters, sculptors, writers - do they put this question to each other? Being a writer, I can tell you, No. You're either a writer, or you're not. If you write, you're a writer. Of course, if you're talking about imaginative writing, almost 0% of writers "make a living" at it, so you could go to the huge, yearly Maui Writer's Conference and I guarantee you that nobody would say anything like, "Hello: are you a pro or a hobbyist?"

    I guarantee you that almost nobody would ask at all about how money figures into your art. Is creative writing a higher art? A finer art? When I see threads like this, I tend to think maybe so. No, on second thought, it's more likely that the art isn't a finer art; rather, the artists are perhaps a little more artistic, and a little less uneducated, as a group. By "artistic" I mean, among other things, being unconcerned with whether they ever make a dime from it -- or, being inclined such that they'd be doing it regardless of money - it's an art, not a job. Guitarists sometimes seem all confused about this, and sometimes lose perspective altogether and even quit playing because "it doesn't pay," or something similarly stupid.

    A "real writer" can't NOT write. I'd say a real guitarist (artist) can't NOT play -- at least in his head. Imprison him and he'll go on playing.

    When I first joined this forum, I had no intention of staying. I needed some "stuff" - and I'd planned to move on as soon as I'd gotten that. But wow! The guys here are VERY smart and educated - so I wanted to stay (despite my having come across as two different people by then - long story). The members here seem smart and educated in general, as with writers. No, to be a good writer of literary fiction, the keenness of mind and the education (formal almost always) is a must. We can play damn good guitar and not *necessarily* have any real education. With jazzers that's probably rare, however.

    Being aware of the intelligence of this group is probably why this thread's seemingly unquestioned acceptance surprised me, almost nauseated me. Two pigeon holes, two labels? 1) Pro 2) Hobbyist. Where does "Artist" come in? All pros probably aren't real artists - many are closer to journeymen. They can play many styles, can play in time and in tune, and can drop into almost any band and make the band sound more complete, or whatever -- but many of these "pros" aren't artists. Yet many, MANY guitarists whose music simply is not commercially viable, are unquestionably artists. Pat Metheny is certainly an artist, and he obviously makes a handsome living with his music. But he's busted his ass for 35 years! The same band of guys, give or take, playing show after show, night after night -- this builds a tremendous fan base. A big fan base brings big money - or bigger money. Bigger than he'd have if he played on the weekends, in the Northeast, except for finals and mid-terms...

    I just think "Pro" or "Hobbyist" - pick one -- I think this is ludicrous, and I'll be forever surprised that anybody here discussed it seriously.

    What was Vincent van Gogh? A hobbyist. Haha! It should be criminal to assign a word with derogatory connotations (look it up!) to van Gogh, or to Mick Goodrick, or to a certain mandolin player who lives down the road from me. Maybe it's the wordsmith in me that balks at calling serious, and talented, and hardworking artists "hobbyists."

    I know I rambled a bit, but God, I feel better.

    Kojo

  37. #86
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    Kojo27 . . . . That was probably one of the most opinionated and senseless posts I've ever read on this forum. Your comparisons and analogies are way off base and very unrelated to what the OP was questioning.

    Realizing that you and I have had contentious dialog in this past, and most specifically on this very thread, I know I should have just let this one go by without a response. But, being the dick head that I am I just couldn't . . . especially when it reads as though you are scolding us for even taking part in it and sharing our opinions. It's as though you are saying to us . . .

    "how dare you fools pidgeon hole all musicians into just two catagories? That's not my opinion and therefore it's wrong!!"

    That's what I'm hearing you say in this post.

    Your comparisons to someone in your own walk of life . . writing . . do not equate. You and your peers are "writers" for sure. We and our peers are "musicians" for sure. No one is doubting or challenging that. As mentioned here repeatedly, it's just a matter of semantics. Here are a few different ways of saying the same thing;

    Question; "Are you a professional musician? Or a hobbyist?
    answer; "well, I'm a musician. I have played professionally in the past and still do so occasionally, but it's not my main source of income"

    Question; "are you a professional musician? Or a hobbyist?
    answer; "well. I'm very capable of performing at a professional level. I could walk into a Broadway theater pit tomorrow and fill the chair of guitarist quite competently. (probably one of the most demanding jobs for a guitarist) But, I have no interest in doing so. I play at home for my own enjoyment"

    Question; "are you . . . .
    answer; " Playing an instrument is all I ever do for my income . . so, yeah . . I'm a professional.

    Question; "are you . . . .
    answer; "well, let's see . . . I can't read charts, I show up late and unprepared for gigs. I miss rehearsals, I have no clue about how to improvise over anything other than E9, my amp constantly buzzes and breaks down, I usually get very drunk between sets at gigs . . . but, ya know what, I do get paid at the end of the night . . . so I guess I'm professional."

    I have no idea why you would let a casual discussion on this topic get you so angry.

    Some people choose to catagorize anyone who might be remunerated in any way for playing their guitar . . . . as a professional.

    Some choose to catagorize anyone who plays guitar, at any level, and never receives compensation for doing so . . . as a hobbyist.

    So what?? Why would that upset you??
    Last edited by Patrick2; 03-17-2012 at 11:00 AM.

  38. #87
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    Kojo27... I asked this question and poll because 1) I'm 15 years old, and really interested in a career in music, and most of these people seem to know what they're doing, so I was curious as to what the level of skill you need to be a jazz musician is 2) to see what percent of them just do it for the love of music 3) to just start a healthy discussion. No need to be offended

  39. #88
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    ditto that Patrick2. besides Kojo27, any fool can write a little bit. most would not be expected to make a living at it.

    by the same token, there are millions of hacks who play the guitar. it's been that way for a long time, especially since the Beatles became popular.

    the original question was clear enough for me.
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 03-17-2012 at 01:22 PM.

  40. #89
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    A hobbyist does it for the love of music.

    I like the term hobbyist for me as I do do it for the love of music. It's a term one can be proud of. I'd rather be a happy hobbyist than a jaded pro (not to say all pros are jaded).

    (Oops, I said do do )

  41. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarimbaGuitar View Post
    Kojo27... I asked this question and poll because 1) I'm 15 years old, and really interested in a career in music, and most of these people seem to know what they're doing, so I was curious as to what the level of skill you need to be a jazz musician is 2) to see what percent of them just do it for the love of music 3) to just start a healthy discussion. No need to be offended
    Marimba......I admire you, and thank you, just for asking about this. Here's a pat on the back and good for you! You raised a good subject and you are doing the right thing by inquiring. There's a ton of knowledge and experience here (excluding me) so stay motivated, and don't let some of the off-topic back and forth bother you. Keep posting and asking. You are the future.

  42. #91
    There aren't just two categories, there are three. Pro, hobbyist (amateur), & somewhere in between.

  43. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarimbaGuitar View Post
    Kojo27... I asked this question and poll because 1) I'm 15 years old, and really interested in a career in music, and most of these people seem to know what they're doing, so I was curious as to what the level of skill you need to be a jazz musician is 2) to see what percent of them just do it for the love of music 3) to just start a healthy discussion. No need to be offended
    I apologize, MG - I should have been clearer. I don't dislike the thread as you started it - I understand (esp. now - thanks) what the question was, and for YOUR purposes, these categories are what you wanted and are fine and dandy. And, BTW, I'm not "offended" or any of the other things ("angry," "upset") I'm charged with. When I write stuff like this, I'm quite detached and tranquil.

    What I find bizarre is how quickly and unquestioningly so many of the posters here slapped on their appropriate arm band and jumped in the appropriate line, as if there are no gray areas, and no areas excluded by these two money-based categories.... It's "Pros over here; hobbyists, over here. That's everybody? Good."

    In other words, who decreed that just two categories exist? And who decided what they'd be based on? Probably only in a country with an economy so absolutely dependent upon maintaining an earn-and-spend, earn-and-spend mentality in its populace would you get these two categories only, accepted as sufficient by a forum of fine players, after seeing them thus defined. Your identity as an artist - as a guitarist, a musician -- is decided by what? Yep - how much money you grub up with it. Or whether your art can be fed into the money machine such that a meal ticket comes flapping out the other side.

    As mentioned above, some players make no pretensions to art. "I made $210,000 last year pickin' this thang." Same licks, night after night, basically in tune and in time, and that's a "product" that people will pay for, for whatever reason (the guy played on the record? He's good-looking? It doesn't matter!) - so there's MONEY. In this case it has *nothing* to do with art, but it tells us just about all we're interested in about this guy and his guitar playing. "A pro, aye? Cool!" Or: "Oh, just a hobbyist? Well, there's nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy."

    I think YouTube might be good for music in this respect. What you hear is what you get - pro or no, it helps a whole lot if you're a fine player. Julian Lage teaches - not many want to hear his music on the radio, and he doesn't sell out arenas; yet he's one of the best guitarists in the world, at 23 or 24. An artist's artist. But in this society (and on this forum) his guitar playing is just a hobby. Keep playing, Julian - as long as it makes you happy...

  44. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Star View Post
    There aren't just two categories, there are three. Pro, hobbyist (amateur), & somewhere in between.
    THANK YOU. One of the definitions of "hobbyist" *is* "amateur." Which is probably why having it as the only alternative to "Pro" seems wrong (and "Pro" is utterly meaningless, outside an economic application of some sort: economics and art - mmm, boy.)

    What about "Artist" as a category? I don't know - just a thought.

    What if we asked, "Are you an artist -- or not?"

    How would our forum respond? Oooo! We'd have to think more deeply about ourselves and our playing than the thickness of a checkbook. Am I an artist? Yes. So there - I think it would make a great thread. Few would respond, though. I predict.

    To clarify: am I saying I'm a musician-artist? Yes. (I suspect a few might have wondered...) Am I a chord-melody artist? A bebop artist? Hell no! But some things just don't come up on a jazz forum.
    Last edited by Kojo27; 03-17-2012 at 06:24 PM.

  45. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    I think YouTube might be good for music in this respect. What you hear is what you get - pro or no, it helps a whole lot if you're a fine player. Julian Lage teaches - not many want to hear his music on the radio, and he doesn't sell out arenas; yet he's one of the best guitarists in the world, at 23 or 24. An artist's artist. But in this society (and on this forum) his guitar playing is just a hobby. Keep playing, Julian - as long as it makes you happy...
    I was under the impression that Lage made his living from playing and teaching music. Is this not the case?

    Why do you feel so compelled to attach the term 'artist' to the term 'professional'? A professional musician may or may not be an artist and an artist may or may not be a professional.

  46. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    A hobbyist does it for the love of music.

    I like the term hobbyist for me as I do do it for the love of music. It's a term one can be proud of. I'd rather be a happy hobbyist than a jaded pro (not to say all pros are jaded).

    (Oops, I said do do )
    Wow, Frank - that is extremely surprising to me, that someone would be proud to be called a hobbyist. The word does have some slightly negative connotations. It's a synonym for "amateur," which is freighted with bad connotations.

    However, I know you're a smart and educated man, so I'm curious as to how you came by the notion that "hobbyist" is a good thing to be called. I'm not saying you're wrong to feel how you do; I simply had never imagined it this way. Every day we learn something new, I suppose.

    Oddly maybe, I've never been asked, "Are you a professional or a hobbyist?" If asked, I'd probably say, "Neither of those," and leave it hanging, unless the person wanted further explanation. I couldn't, with a straight face, call it a hobby. It's to intense for that word to fit. "Hobby" has the "in your spare time" meaning, and this is a full-time, almost-never stop, passion - except for the few hours a month I spend working. I'm suffering a pretty crappy illness, so I don't get to play as much as I would otherwise, but it's as fast as the old jalopy will go. Full throttle, man.

    kj

  47. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
    I was under the impression that Lage made his living from playing and teaching music. Is this not the case?

    Why do you feel so compelled to attach the term 'artist' to the term 'professional'? A professional musician may or may not be an artist and an artist may or may not be a professional.
    Maybe I'm wrong here, but what I meant was that Lage has a day job of teaching. Yes, he teaches guitar and improvisation, I imagine, but they pay him to TEACH, not to play.

    I don't "...feel compelled to attach the term 'artist' to the term 'professional'." I pointed this out myself -- how being a "pro" has nothing to do with art, necessarily. So I'm missing your meaning - sorry. Any examples you can cite?

    kj

  48. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    A hobbyist does it for the love of music.

    I like the term hobbyist for me as I do do it for the love of music. It's a term one can be proud of. I'd rather be a happy hobbyist than a jaded pro (not to say all pros are jaded).

    (Oops, I said do do )
    I have to say: if the definition of "hobbyist" is one who does it for the love of the music, and if that's a fairly widely-accepted definition, then by golly I'm a hardcore hobbyist.

  49. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27 View Post
    Wow, Frank - that is extremely surprising to me, that someone would be proud to be called a hobbyist. The word does have some slightly negative connotations. It's a synonym for "amateur," which is freighted with bad connotations.

    However, I know you're a smart and educated man, so I'm curious as to how you came by the notion that "hobbyist" is a good thing to be called. I'm not saying you're wrong to feel how you do; I simply had never imagined it this way. Every day we learn something new, I suppose.

    Oddly maybe, I've never been asked, "Are you a professional or a hobbyist?" If asked, I'd probably say, "Neither of those," and leave it hanging, unless the person wanted further explanation. I couldn't, with a straight face, call it a hobby. It's to intense for that word to fit. "Hobby" has the "in your spare time" meaning, and this is a full-time, almost-never stop, passion - except for the few hours a month I spend working. I'm suffering a pretty crappy illness, so I don't get to play as much as I would otherwise, but it's as fast as the old jalopy will go. Full throttle, man.

    kj
    Hi Loren,

    I'll quote a previous post of mine in this thread (post #42).

    I'll also add, I think if I have to have a label, amateur or hobbyist is the suit that fits me best. To tell you the truth, I'd find it a little embarrassing if I was considered a pro. I just don't think my skills measure up to what I'd want them to be if I was is making a career out of music.

    People on this site have heard me play plenty of times. To me that's all that matters. I am what I am and everyone can have their own opinions. Regardless of my skill level or the way anyone wants to label me, this is my passion and I love playing music. No one can argue with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    I don't have a problem with the word or definition.

    A lot of folks are passionate about their hobby. Car collectors, horse owners, golfers etc.

    Same with amateur. I think you can be proud to be classified an amateur.

    "Latin source, amtor, "lover, devoted friend, devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of an objective," and from its Latin-derived French source, amateur, with a similar range of meanings." Amateur: Lover of...

  50. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    ditto that Patrick2. besides Kojo27, any fool can write a little bit. most would not be expected to make a living at it.
    I don't know how "into" literature you are, ff, but it's different from music, regarding making money - IMO. A master musician, it would seem to me, could at least eke out a living, somehow, with music, if he tried.

    However, a master writer would probably starve to death, no matter how hard he tried. Great writers might (and probably do) write in a unique style, or about unusual subject matter, or they might write in a style that is too difficult for most to read -- or whatever; there are as many barriers between a writer and his reader as there are writers and readers, and most great writers (vs. writers of "McFiction" and K-Mart Fiction) would starve very quickly if they relied upon the money their poetry or fiction generated in this society. A century ago, things were different. Ours is the age of music-video, after all. To wit: YouTube

  51. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Hi Loren,

    I'll quote a previous post of mine in this thread (post #42).

    I'll also add, I think if I have to have a label, amateur or hobbyist is the suit that fits me best. To tell you the truth, I'd find it a little embarrassing if I was considered a pro. I just don't think my skills measure up to what I'd want them to be if I was is making a career out of music.

    People on this site have heard me play plenty of times. To me that's all that matters. I am what I am and everyone can have their own opinions. Regardless of my skill level or the way anyone wants to label me, this is my passion and I love playing music. No one can argue with that.
    Cool, Frank. I admire all the things you do here - honest to goodness. To the OP, these labels were necessary; beyond that though, what good are they? Why label artists according to the source of their income? These are the things I wish the players here would take a closer look at - and think about.

    I'd be embarrassed to be called "pro" as well. I'm fraught with limitations, could never make it as a studio musician, etc. But if I wanted to sing (I can sing) and play in carcinogenic, redneck dance clubs, I could probably make enough money to live on. Barely, but people do get by on less. For the love of God, though, don't call me a "pro" because of it! I'm not a pro! Tommy Emmanuel is a pro.

    And no, I don't know how I define "pro." : )

    I sincerely dig your attitude toward playing, Frank. I am with you. If I never play a solo over Giant Steps, I'll play on just the same and love it and wallow in it daily. BTW, you are playing very, very well. I want to join you guys on the Berklee book, though it will be review for me. At first I'll have to upload audio.... such a grand idea to work the books that way - kudos!

    I just hijacked my own thread. EDIT: What? This ain't my thread!
    Last edited by Kojo27; 03-17-2012 at 11:38 PM.

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