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

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  • Career

    54 16.46%
  • Hobby

    160 48.78%
  • I get paid occasionally/not full time musician

    114 34.76%
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  1. #51

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    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.

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  3. #52

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    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

  4. #53

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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.

  5. #54

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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

  6. #55

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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 )

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarimbaGuitar
    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.

  8. #57

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

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarimbaGuitar
    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...

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Star
    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.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    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.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    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

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    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

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    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.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    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
    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...

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers
    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

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    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.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    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.
    When I saw Lage in L.A. it was $30 a ticket plus a two drink minimum for an hour long performance (two shows that evening). I guarantee you he got paid. How else do you imagine that he and the musicians in his band are able to go on tour?

    As far as teaching goes, I think most professional jazz musicians teach these days. Just the reality of the jazz music scene.
    Last edited by Jazzpunk; 03-17-2012 at 11:50 PM.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    When I saw Lage in L.A. it was $30 a ticket plus a two drink minimum for an hour long performance (two shows that evening). I guarantee you he got paid. How else did you imagine he and the musicians in his band were able to go on tour?

    As far as teaching goes, I think most professional jazz musicians teach these days. Just the reality of the jazz music scene.

    You should e-mail Lage and see if he thinks of himself as a professional musician or if he views everyone who can strum a G chord as a professional and an artist. Might be interesting to get someone at his skill level to chime in on the subject.
    Well, the accepted definition of "pro," here, in this thread, is someone who makes his living playing guitar. I never said I like the definition - but I'm willing to accept it for matters of discussion.

    My reasoning is this: if Lage were making his living playing guitar, why is he teaching? Of course the guy could make a living playing, but apparently it wouldn't be the kind of living he wants right now - or something like that. The reason doesn't matter. As the previous posters have defined the word, Julian Lage is not a "Pro." And there's only one other category, so he's a hobbyist. To become a pro, according to this thread, he'd have to give up his teaching job and make his living solely from playing. I assume record sales are permitted.

    Hope that clears things up some.

    kj

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    Well, the accepted definition of "pro," here, in this thread, is someone who makes his living playing guitar. I never said I like the definition - but I'm willing to accept it for matters of discussion.

    My reasoning is this: if Lage were making his living playing guitar, why is he teaching? Of course the guy could make a living playing, but apparently it wouldn't be the kind of living he wants right now - or something like that. The reason doesn't matter. As the previous posters have defined the word, Julian Lage is not a "Pro." And there's only one other category, so he's a hobbyist. To become a pro, according to this thread, he'd have to give up his teaching job and make his living solely from playing. I assume record sales are permitted.

    Hope that clears things up some.

    kj
    I've always considered teaching to be a respectable part of making a living for a professional musician. Do others not feel this way?

    I guess you could say one is not a professional performer if one only teaches but are they not still involved in music as a profession?

    Lage is one of my favorites btw. Definitely an artist in addition to being a professional.

  21. #70

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    Art and commerce are natural born enemies. Almost all career artists in any discipline of the arts depend on some income from teaching. More today than ever, it's just a fact of life. Very few exceptions.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 03-18-2012 at 12:24 AM.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    I've always considered teaching to be a respectable part of making a living for a professional musician. Do others not feel this way?

    I guess you could say one is not a professional performer if one only teaches but are they not still involved in music as a profession?

    Lage is one of my favorites btw. Definitely an artist in addition to being a professional.
    I agree - if Julian Lage isn't a professional guitarist, then nobody is. I think the definition of "professional" being used here is ludicrous when applied to an art. You have to make your entire living at it? Crap - Frank Vignola teaches private lessons! I think Julian Lage might, too.

    Yeah, Julian is the man. Jazz-wise, he *is* my favorite. By far.

    kj

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    Who said teaching music is not part of being a professional musician? I've never heard this statement until now. Was it said earlier in the thread or just something that you've decided upon?
    Dude, I think we're almost in agreement -- that's what I'm griping about! The definition is insane. They put it in place early in the thread. It's nuts.

    kj

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    Dude, I think we're almost in agreement -- that's what I'm griping about! The definition is insane. They put it in place early in the thread. It's nuts.

    kj
    Ah, got ya. I didn't read through the entire thread so must have missed it.

    Most of the big names out there teach in some capacity. Pat Martino has been teaching privately for years and I doubt anyone here would challenge his authority on the instrument.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    Who said teaching music is not part of being a professional musician? I've never heard this statement until now. Was it said earlier in the thread or just something that you've decided upon?
    Jazzpunk . . . I think I might have said that in an earlier thread. I really don't care to go back and review all I've posted here. So, if I'm wrong and I didn't say it, then I'll say it now; If someone earns 100% of their income as a guitar instructor/teacher, then I would not consider them to be a professional guitarist. I would consider them to be professional educators . . . . capable of performing at a professional level if they chose to. That's not to be confused with those guitarists who perform professionally and also teach. I would then consider them to be professional guitarists as well as professional educators.

    A guy like Angelo Dundee spent his entire life teaching guys like Cassius Clay - Muhammad Ali . . . Sugar Ray Leonard, etc., how to fight and prepare for fights. He was paid handsomely for it. Did that make him a professional prize fighter? Or, a professional trainer (educator).

    Mick Jagger has made . . . "a few bucks" . . . performing on stage and writing/selling his works. He has also slung a guitar while performing one or two songs on stage. Does that make him a professional guitarist? Or, does it make him a professional entertainer who occasionally defiles a 6 string object? The crazy semantics could go on for ever . . . or is it forever? (sorry Kojo . . . I couldn't resist that )

    I think it was one of the Mods who warned earlier in this thread about arguing semantics as being a potential and silly pitfall. That was wise.

    Mr. Kojo . . . I appreciated your reply to my post comparing the literary world to the world of music . . . and I genuflect to your knowledge of it. (I've really got to learn how to use that multi quote button as well as you did.)

    If you want to call your obsession to jazz guitar a "passion" rather than a hobby, then I'm OK with that . . . (not that it's any of my business anyway). But, if I or others choose to be passionate about our "hobby" then you should consider being tolerant of that as well. (not that it's any of your business). But, I really do appreciate that you seem to have become less angry with the whole professional vs hobbyist debate. It's really not important enough to get upset over.

    All in all, it's been a really fun thread . . . could probably go on for days . . . . but, it's get rather repetative. Although, that certainly won't stop me from continuing to post.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
    Where did you come up with $45/hr? I can't even find a decent 'no name' teacher in L.A. for that lol.

    I agree that trying to make it as a musician is not the most financially sound decision one could make but life isn't always about making sound decisions. In fact, most influential artists made their careers based off of conventionally unsound decisions. Being risk averse and being a successful artist/musician rarely go hand in hand. Most of the jazz legends had pretty rough lives financially.

    I tried to 'make it' for about 15 years and finally threw in the towel. I actually enjoy playing now more than I ever did back when I was just barely scraping by but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

    The flip side is, I don't have near the time I used to have to dedicate to my instrument. I wish I did but that is the trade off for security. I certainly respect those who dedicate their lives to their craft and can't imagine looking down my nose at them because they are not making a lot of money.
    no doubt. it depends on where you live. and it depends on whether you are paying "standard" rates, as opposed to "name player" or "well known professor" rates.

    i lived in LA for awhile and still visit every few months. it's a very expensive city and part of a very expensive state. that's too bad. if it weren't i would move there in a second, along with 50 million others no doubt.

    so what does one pay an average (not jazz wizard) guitar teacher in LA? $55 per hour?

  27. #76

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    Incidentally, I actually invented Jazz and get a huge royalty check every week. But I mostly do smooth jazz jingles and music for restaurants on my casio but give all the profits to Invisible Children. So I don't know where that puts me in this poll...

  28. #77

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    The fact is, though, that to get sensitive about what is or is not "pro" seems to me to mostly just be an issue of ego. Sorry if that's a point already made - this thread is damn long.

    Going back to the original post, I suppose the whole side discussion could have been avoided had he asked "musicians: how do you make your living and are you starving and if not do you have kids" or something

  29. #78

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    I'm an amateur guitarist who is striving every day to become a professional. Of course, after reading the responses here, it seems like everyone has their own definition of what professional means. To me, a professional guitar player is someone who has multiple qualities that mark skill, dedication, discipline, and experience.

    Does a professional always get paid? Not necessarily.

    Can someone be a professional archer? Yes, but that doesn't mean that there is a "market" of customers that will pay archers to shoot arrows into targets and whatnot. Same goes for any professional that isn't as lucrative.

    It's all about what's in it for the consumer and consequent they put their own value on a product. So to me being a professional is more about having certain qualities rather than getting paid lots of money, if any at all.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeedsOfMusic
    I'm an amateur guitarist who is striving every day to become a professional. Of course, after reading the responses here, it seems like everyone has their own definition of what professional means. To me, a professional guitar player is someone who has multiple qualities that mark skill, dedication, discipline, and experience.

    Does a professional always get paid? Not necessarily.

    If Kenny Burrell play a gig and gets paid for it, he's a professional. If he play a charity and doesn't get paid for it... he's still a professional guitarist . . . but, that's because he does do gigs for monitary compensation.
    Can someone be a professional archer? Yes, but that doesn't mean that there is a "market" of customers that will pay archers to shoot arrows into targets and whatnot. Same goes for any professional that isn't as lucrative.

    A professional archer?? Sounds like a hit man to me
    It's all about what's in it for the consumer and consequent they put their own value on a product. So to me being a professional is more about having certain qualities rather than getting paid lots of money, if any at all.
    We've all decided that there are many acceptable definitions and interpretations for the use of the words . . "professional" and even for the word . . "semantics". However, if the term is to be understood in its truest sense, there needs to be some form of compensation, somewhere along the way. Otherwise, I see it as "very skilled hobbyist guitarist capable of performing at a professional level".

    (not trying to stir the pot here .. . just seeing if I've got this multi-quote procedure correctly understood)
    Last edited by Patrick2; 03-25-2012 at 07:03 PM.

  31. #80

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    I'm a twelve year old, but I had to put down get paid occasional/not full time.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theza101
    I'm a twelve year old, but I had to put down get paid occasional/not full time.
    Looking forward to see you become a real pro.

  33. #82

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    Now I'm beginning to understand why folks think getting a degree from places like Berklee will make them a pro. Because a piece of paper says so! No career needed. I bought a diploma somewhere online for $5 at the same place that sold me a dentists license.


  34. #83

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    Lot`s of nit-picking on this thread..

    Back to the original question:

    I make most of my income playing music playing around 200 days a year (or so)besides Jazz I also play bluegrass (flatpicking) and acoustic blues. I told myself years ago that I would rather grind it out playing music for money than anything else I can think of. I feel pretty lucky to be able to make money with a guitar. I started out as a band nerd in school (trombone) and playing guitar when I was 13 (I`m 49).

  35. #84

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    Don't know, or care what a couple of members here deem a pro.
    I have made a living, albeit sometimes a poor one, for the last 40 years, playing music.
    I currently teach full time, yes, by choice.
    I gave up gigging some time ago and therefore relinquished my status as a "professional". At least, that is what I've deemed from this thread.
    So be it.
    This place is getting tiresome.

    The preceding message was sponsored by E&J Gallo.

  36. #85

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    I'm a jazz studies major in college student, but all my money comes from doing local country, blues, and rock gigs. I don't consider myself a great jazz guitarist, but I would like to get there. There are a lot of cons to music like odd hours, but a pro is typically musicians make more money per hour while working than the typical joe smoe, but musicians don't get as many hours at work. It is not un common for a musician to charge from 40 - 75 bucks an hour teaching private lessons or making $200 for a 4 hour gig, but if you only get 2 gigs a week you end up with a lot less money than someone working full time.
    Last edited by S_R_S5; 04-24-2012 at 03:40 AM.

  37. #86

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    Hobbyist here. While I love to play out and will gig as much as possible, I harbor no delusions about making my living playing guitar.

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by pantz
    Hobbyist here. While I love to play out and will gig as much as possible, I harbor no delusions about making my living playing guitar.
    That's pretty much true of many of us here. But, if you occasionally earn money playing guitar . . . then, you are "mostly a hobbyist, but, occasionally a professional". As such, you are now officially inducted into the "semi-pro" league . . . . with no interested in ever "going to the show". (Tim Robbins . . . Bull Durham)

    Can't believe this old thread is resurrected.

  39. #88

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    The profession of musician has changed a great deal in my lifetime and will change more still. I don't know that the role of performing jazz musician is still viable.

    I'm almost at the level of hobby jazz guitar.
    Last edited by Spook410; 09-17-2012 at 10:57 PM.

  40. #89

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    I play as a career. And have for many years. Supporting a family of five. In music I've done many things to pay the rent. Most enumerated here...

    Pro Guitar Secrets: Making a living as a guitar player...

    Love to hear about music related jobs you all have done to keep the lights on.

  41. #90

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    I'm definitely on the 'semi' side of 'semi-pro'. I have a serious/secure very well paying day gig in software R&D and play occasional jazz guitar-related gigs. That said, I have studied music formally for many years and still seriously 'shed' an average of 15 hours per week for most of the year. My aspiration is to be as "complete" of a guitarist/musician as possible and hopefully by the time I retire from my day-gig (in 12 years or so) I'll have the depth and breadth of ability/repertoire to be considered a true artist. Fortunately I can buy world-class custom guitars and great gear without having to make a dime from music. I can also focus on only playing music that I love because making money from it is not an issue. The only down side is that my professional commitments along with consistent jazz guitar practice means that I don't have much of a social life and only a few friends. Thankfully my wonderful wife is very understanding in all of this and totally supports my musical endeavors!
    Last edited by SevenStringJazz; 10-03-2012 at 11:16 PM.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenStringJazz
    I'm definitely on the 'semi' side of 'semi-pro'. I have a serious/secure very well paying day gig and play occasional gigs. That said, I have studied music formally for many years and still seriously 'shed' an average of 15 hours per week for most of the year. My aspiration is to be as "complete" of a guitarist/musician as possible and hopefully by the time I retire from my day-gig (in 12 years or so) I'll have the depth and breadth of ability/repertoire to be considered a true artist.
    What an absolutely unfair assessment of yourself that is. Given that you're currently proficient enough to be playing the occasional gig . . . and that you have studied music formally for many years . . and you can still devote 15 hours a week to honing your skills . . . .why the hell wouldn't you already consider yourself a "true artist"???

    Is there a certain number in the repertoire catagory that one must achieve to be considered a "true artist"?? "Gimme a break" . . . (Warner Wolf, ABC News). You've already achieved the "true artist" level stature as far as I can see. You just might need to increase your repertoire. No one knows all the tunes!! If you have the ability to learn the tunes . . . you're already there. No one ever stops learning.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    What an absolutely unfair assessment of yourself that is. Given that you're currently proficient enough to be playing the occasional gig . . . and that you have studied music formally for many years . . and you can still devote 15 hours a week to honing your skills . . . .why the hell wouldn't you already consider yourself a "true artist"???

    Is there a certain number in the repertoire catagory that one must achieve to be considered a "true artist"?? "Gimme a break" . . . (Warner Wolf, ABC News). You've already achieved the "true artist" level stature as far as I can see. You just might need to increase your repertoire. No one knows all the tunes!! If you have the ability to learn the tunes . . . you're already there. No one ever stops learning.
    Thanks for the encouragement Patrick! It's quite possible that I'm too hard on myself. In any case here are links to some recordings I did in the spring of 2012 that approximate whatever level of artistry I may have already obtained. The 7-String archtop takes were done with a plectrum, although I'm predominately a finger-style player now.

    Trenier Excel 7 takes:

    Four-2-the-bar Bop
    Stomp the Into
    Walkups
    Alice Low
    Alice High
    Ballad Intro
    Chords High-to-Low

    Trenier Mofif take:

    Motif. Brouwer's Estudio 6.
    Last edited by SevenStringJazz; 10-04-2012 at 07:29 AM.

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenStringJazz
    Thanks for the encouragement Patrick! It's quite possible that I'm too hard on myself. In any case here are links to some recordings I did in the spring of 2012 that approximate whatever level of artistry I may have already obtained. The 7-String archtop takes were done with a plectrum, although I'm predominately a finger-style player now.

    Trenier Excel 7 takes:

    Four-2-the-bar Bop
    Stomp the Into
    Walkups
    Alice Low
    Alice High
    Ballad Intro
    Chords High-to-Low

    Trenier Mofif take:

    Motif. Brouwer's Estudio 6.

    MAN - I love your comping sound clips. Right now, comping this kind of stuff (four to the bar!) is my main interest. I do it on acoustic archtop. Could you tell me where you learned these? Are they yours, or are they from a book? There's a great comping book you probably know of -- Jim Ferguson's "All Blues Comping Styles and Grooves" -- or something like that. Great book.

    Let me know - super playing you're doing there!

    KJ

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    MAN - I love your comping sound clips. Right now, comping this kind of stuff (four to the bar!) is my main interest. I do it on acoustic archtop. Could you tell me where you learned these? Are they yours, or are they from a book? There's a great comping book you probably know of -- Jim Ferguson's "All Blues Comping Styles and Grooves" -- or something like that. Great book.

    Let me know - super playing you're doing there!

    KJ
    Thanks KoJo! I appreciate your kind words. Recently, I spent a year or so playing a lot of traditional four-to-the-bar in two different local Big Bands. The first track is a Bb Bebop exercise from Charlton Johnson's excellent book on Swing and Big Band Guitar. Mr. Johnson was the first guitarist to take up Freddie Green's chair in the Basie Band after Freddie died.

    FWIW - my Trenier Excel 7-String was strung with bronze strings and recorded completely acoustically for that take. I played with a heavy gauge Cool Pick brand plectrum and recorded in our tiled bathroom with a ribbon mic to get as natural as sound as possible. I believe that I muted out the low A (i.e. 7-th string) on all of the four-to-the-bar stuff.
    Last edited by SevenStringJazz; 10-04-2012 at 08:13 PM.

  46. #95
    making music usually money is made as something off to the side.Like your family is rich or you have a business that the males can relate to while in the band.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by tstrahle
    I play as a career. And have for many years. Supporting a family of five. In music I've done many things to pay the rent. Most enumerated here...

    Pro Guitar Secrets: Making a living as a guitar player...

    Love to hear about music related jobs you all have done to keep the lights on.
    "It's not a career for the easily discouraged or for someone who likes or needs job security."

    Very good point on your webpage. At 18, I seriously considered going to college for music, but in the end, the financial part scared me off. I am a little anxious by nature and would not have coped well with financial uncertainty and/or financial stress. I think it would have taken away from my enjoyment of playing music. I also didn't think I would enjoy teaching guitar that much. So instead I got another career, took tons of private lessons, and have always practiced a lot within the confines of having a "day job" (2 hours per day of practice on average). At 45, I am not unhappy with how it all turned out. I'd love to have 3 or 4 hours per day to practice, but I still play in a quartet and do play gigs fairly regularly now. I do have a lot of financial security that I probably would not have had with a music career. It hasn't been a bad tradeoff for me. But again, your point is a great one. I think that in addition to talent, it takes a certain type of personality to do music as a career.

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick5
    "It's not a career for the easily discouraged or for someone who likes or needs job security."

    Very good point on your webpage. At 18, I seriously considered going to college for music, but in the end, the financial part scared me off. I am a little anxious by nature and would not have coped well with financial uncertainty and/or financial stress. I think it would have taken away from my enjoyment of playing music. I also didn't think I would enjoy teaching guitar that much. So instead I got another career, took tons of private lessons, and have always practiced a lot within the confines of having a "day job" (2 hours per day of practice on average). At 45, I am not unhappy with how it all turned out. I'd love to have 3 or 4 hours per day to practice, but I still play in a quartet and do play gigs fairly regularly now. I do have a lot of financial security that I probably would not have had with a music career. It hasn't been a bad tradeoff for me. But again, your point is a great one. I think that in addition to talent, it takes a certain type of personality to do music as a career.
    I think most of those who end up doing it full time are those who felt they had no choice. It's a calling almost. It's like imaginative writing: poems, stories, essays -- no money in it, but those who excel at it can't stop. It's part of who they are. Same with guitar, I suspect. Just my opinion.

  49. #98

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    Kojo27,

    I am sure that's true for many people. I can only speak for myself. I personally know I would not function well emotionally with financial uncertainty or financial stress. It's just part of my psychological makeup. I'm not a risk taker. I'd have sleepless nights all the time. I'm quite sure of that.

    I respect the people who can make it work though!

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandor
    Have you actually talked to these guys about their gigs at restaurants? I'm curious if they are unhappy. I see lots of people talk bad about these kinds of gigs, but personally I would be happy to have a regular gig at a couple of restaurants playing background music. Its a low stress venue, and you can get away with a lot more. (I haven't played restaurant gigs, but i've played Business functions, I assume the atmosphere would be about the same)
    I love restaurant gigs. You don't get much feed back while playing, but as people leave they usually tip well, compliment and offer very short discussions. It is a skill to be unobtrusive, you are there to add to a dining experience. You can get fired VERY easily (thankfully I've dodged that bullet!) but the rotation is biweekly as opposed to monthly or less in music venues, which pay far less.

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    I think most of those who end up doing it full time are those who felt they had no choice. It's a calling almost. It's like imaginative writing: poems, stories, essays -- no money in it, but those who excel at it can't stop. It's part of who they are. Same with guitar, I suspect. Just my opinion.
    I think that's largely true for me in the creative sense. I would have to create even if I didn't play guitar. In fact I started writing songs when I was seven even though I didn't start playing guitar until I was nine. For my current hobby, I write screenplays. I've written 4 features and a pilot. I still practice guitar, but not the eight hours (no kidding) a day I did for 20 years. But I probably play eight hours a day for work.