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Topic: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

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  1. #1

    The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    In todays day and age the contribution of people that call themselves hobbyist in music is actually quite remarkable. I find that some of the people with full time day jobs that compose after work really know what they're doing.

    On this forum and in other places I think that the hobbyist musician sometimes feels intimidated by those of us that make money doing music.

    I wanted to write this because I'm not sure that you know that a lot of musicians in the past that have made serious and lasting music were guys that had other jobs.

    Alexander Borodin is one of my favorite Russian composers and he was a chemist. Charles Ives sold insurance. One of my favorite clarinetist use to be head of CBS records--yeah, desk job. I spoke to somebody who knew this guy and he said that he would pratice an hour a day before work everyday for 40 years. Wow. That's more than I practice these days.

    So if you're one of the ones that feels intimidated by "professional" composers I would like to say this. We people that actually make money doing music are often forced to do things that are less interesting just to make ends meet if even we can make ends meet. We have to put up with the most stupidist comments about our music with a smile just to close a deal.

    I'm often envious of people that don't rely on the biz to make money. It gives you freedom to do what you love. I personally am so busy that if I get to doing something that I really love its by accident or just pure coincident. I guess I love music so much that doing almost anything in it is still pretty exciting for me, but I long for times when I could just sit down and compose whatever I could compose without fear of whether my "boss" was going to accept or reject my music or whether it's what they're looking for in my next deal.

    Keep 'em coming you hobbyist. Who knows? You just may out live us all.

    Just something that I had on my mind.

    Cheers,

    Jose

  2. #2

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Hah, busted! there's no such thing as a favorite clarinetist!

    No seriously, in my opinion people who devote all their time and energy studying music, given a certain amount of talent, will obviously excel in comparison to a hobbyist of any standard. Making money and pursuing art are two different things, and if you happen to be talented enough you might be able to combine these two things in the form of film music or similar and not have to put up with the idiocy that pesters the lower circles of the industry (but quite possibly the upper circles as well.. I have yet to get to that point ). It's not a given that a person with a deskjob is a hobby musician just because he writes music in his spare time. He may have the same level of competence as several professional musicians. It is mostly not by coincidence that we are working in this industry. It is a conscious pursuit driven by talent in most cases. I know a lot of guys who have great raw talent for music but never focused on developing it. For bystanding musicians it can be frustrating to see such immense talent go to waste. By the time they're 40ish it's probably too late to get to grips with the orchestra, although they could make good songwriters etc.. Unless we're talking prodigies it's not really a viable comparison between these so-called hobby composers and an educated composer with natural talent who has studied music since (s)he was 10 or whatever. Any hobbyist can be professional, though. Just load up a few loops in Garage Band and sell it to some local TV station. The minute you make money on your "work" you're really by definition a "professional composer". Of course these people are annoying, but there aren't too many of them. What I find more often is people with decent abilities stuck somewhere in the industry going nowhere, complaining that they're not fulfilling their musical needs, or getting the kind of work that would challenge their abilities. Like there's no reason a stockbroker can't play the violin on the side, there's no reason why a media composer can't compose what he likes in his spare time. Instead of doing a billion crappy B-movies waiting for that big break, why not do every _other_ crappy B-movie and do whatever you'd LIKE to do in between. It's just a matter of priority if you're reasonably well covered, financially.

  3. #3

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    True enough. I hope nobody feels intimidated! In fact, I'm surprised that you're surprised by the level of talent found among the ranks of NS'ers.

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    In todays day and age the contribution of people that call themselves hobbyist in music is actually quite remarkable. I find that some of the people with full time day jobs that compose after work really know what they're doing.

    On this forum and in other places I think that the hobbyist musician sometimes feels intimidated by those of us that make money doing music.

    I wanted to write this because I'm not sure that you know that a lot of musicians in the past that have made serious and lasting music were guys that had other jobs.

    Alexander Borodin is one of my favorite Russian composers and he was a chemist. Charles Ives sold insurance. One of my favorite clarinetist use to be head of CBS records--yeah, desk job. I spoke to somebody who knew this guy and he said that he would pratice an hour a day before work everyday for 40 years. Wow. That's more than I practice these days.

    So if you're one of the ones that feels intimidated by "professional" composers I would like to say this. We people that actually make money doing music are often forced to do things that are less interesting just to make ends meet if even we can make ends meet. We have to put up with the most stupidist comments about our music with a smile just to close a deal.

    I'm often envious of people that don't rely on the biz to make money. It gives you freedom to do what you love. I personally am so busy that if I get to doing something that I really love its by accident or just pure coincident. I guess I love music so much that doing almost anything in it is still pretty exciting for me, but I long for times when I could just sit down and compose whatever I could compose without fear of whether my "boss" was going to accept or reject my music or whether it's what they're looking for in my next deal.

    Keep 'em coming you hobbyist. Who knows? You just may out live us all.

    Just something that I had on my mind.

    Cheers,

    Jose

  4. #4

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Quote Originally Posted by Maraxalamanta
    It's just a matter of priority if you're reasonably well covered, financially.
    That's the crux of it though, isn't it? I like to think I'm reasonably talented in several directions. When I'm practising I play piano fairly well. The last thing I played was the Three Movements from Petrouchka, which scares the living daylights out of most professional pianists. But because I didn't have terribly good advise about the route to professionalism (i.e. practise like crazy while you're young, do festivals, etc) I've got stuck teaching classroom music for a living.

    If I'm doing my job properly it occupies all my time, so I don't have time to maintain my technique, certainly not to maintain a broad repertoire. So it's a bit Catch22. If I were to win a festival now, the prize would be a series of concerts, possibly a record deal, but I would have nothing to play other than the two or three pieces I used to win the festival. If I give up my job, and take something with lower pay, that allows me time to work on the piano, then I can't support my family. So yes it is a matter of priorities, but it's also a matter of breaks, and when they happen. Only an incredible idiot would jeopardise family life to 'follow the dream.' The fact that I'm not playing to packed audiences doesn't mean that I had less talent than Pollini, nor does it mean that I didn't have enough drive. It means that I've got to a point where it's no longer an option to slob around like a student and shirk responsibility. But I'm darned if I don't have the right to bemoan my lack of breaks occasionally.

  5. #5

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    I find that some of the people with full time day jobs that compose after work really know what they're doing.

    We people that actually make money doing music are often forced to do things that are less interesting just to make ends meet if even we can make ends meet. We have to put up with the most stupidist comments about our music with a smile just to close a deal.

    I'm often envious of people that don't rely on the biz to make money. It gives you freedom to do what you love. Jose
    That's why I've been a secretary for too many years to count...it gives me the time to pursue my passion, to create powerful, moving forms without the constraints of small minded producers/directors.

    And why I'm going to be richer than Midas some day...because I know what it means to be passionately, powerfully committed to creating moving works of Art.

  6. #6
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    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    The only thing I am interested is writing music for japan (jpop) score anime even though I am not japanese. Some day I tell ya Every project I do is just so I can get a job writing music for a game or movie in japan LOL!
    of course I would like to wake up publishers for classical music but's that's not happen'n Thanks God for Jazz, because all styles of Jazz are still super popular and marketable!
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

  7. #7
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    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Like there's no reason a stockbroker can't play the violin on the side, there's no reason why a media composer can't compose what he likes in his spare time.

    That's always the dilema for me. If I'm snowed under from composing or performing for a media project, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting down and writing a piano sonata even though I'd much rather do the latter if money wasn't an object.

    I was at the Purcell school from the age of 7 and a lot of the most talented performers (and composers) I knew then did not pursue music as their main source of income. Martin Toyer, possibly the greatest Oxford organ scholar I've ever heard perform, pursued a career in accounting but that doesn't mean he can't match anyone else living in performance just because he decided on a different day job. Another, Tansy Castledine, teaches at a primary school, and she is a magnificent musician with acclaimed CDs to her credit who would put many a professional to shame. Several staggeringly gifted composers I've known have gone on to lecture and teach, or involve themselves with the administrative side of the arts after graduating but that doesn't mean they don't know the orchestra as well if not better than a competent paid composer. And I'd argue their craft is often higher and more sincere than those who chase a pot of gold with their mouse and DAW.

    Seriously, there are many expert musicians out there who would consider that media composition and hack pop performing is about as low a form as art as exists and only credit them as professionals because of the size of their bank accounts. About the last line of work they'd consider stepping into would be media composition. Its a snobbery and an abhorrent one at that to my mind, but it exists on both sides of the fence and, as respectful as I know the original post was meant, it comes across as similarly patronising.

  8. #8
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    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    Alexander Borodin is one of my favorite Russian composers and he was a chemist.
    He is one of my favorites too...and true is that almost all from "mighty handfull" was nonmusicians - Korsakov, Cui, Mussorgsky....
    And music of all of them is BEAUTIFULL!

  9. #9

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Quote Originally Posted by JonP
    [b] Like there's no reason a stockbroker can't play the violin on the side, there's no reason why a media composer can't compose what he likes in his spare time. .
    That's one advantage the part-time musician is we are not burned out from doing music as a full-time job. In addition, unlike my full-time work, I do not have deadlines for creating their music.

    I am a lawyer as my full-time job (I know, quit screaming), so the music production side a great change of pace from legal work. Once I complete a full CD's worth of music, I will more fully explore its marketability. Who knows?

    jeffn1
    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  10. #10

    Re: The contribution of "hobbyist" musicians

    Quote Originally Posted by JonP
    Its a snobbery and an abhorrent one at that to my mind, but it exists on both sides of the fence and, as respectful as I know the original post was meant, it comes across as similarly patronising.
    Fair enough.

    It's actually the opposite. I'm not being patronizing at all. I'm a bit of a student of people's mind set. I'm always studying people.

    And, what I've found is that the partime musician is actually in far better shape psychologically than most of the even very successful musicians.

    It's the dream that keeps people alive. As long as people still dream about making it big and doing great music I'm noticing that they're in fairly good shape. While, the people that actually achieve those dreams actually go down hill really fast.

    So as I dream. I'll need to dream about something more than just making it in the biz. Which is all I really dream about these days. It's sad. Before I actually made any money doing this I use to think about uplifting the world. Now I only think about uplifting my bank account. Which needs uplifting desperately.

    I'm hoping that I can recapture my original purpose for doing music in the first place.

    Cheers,

    Jose

    Keep writing please.

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