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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Toadtele, Jul 25, 2021.
I am a guitar player. I would like to become a musician. What do I do?
When you play with others complement what they are doing so it fits together and makes "music".
Learn to read music.
Buy a Rickenbacker and a Gretsch and wait for a Beatles band to come calling.
A couple of things. I think if you can contribute to a group sound with other musicians, that would make you seem like a musician.
In order to thrive in multiple settings and styles, it would help if you had a working knowledge of music theory and written notation. Being able to improvise is something that other musicians can do, so maybe you would want to be able to fit in, and understand what your role is (even better, understand what the others think your role should be).
I think learning how to interpret your listening experiences and becoming curious about what you find will help you become a better musician, at least in the eyes of other musicians.
You’re probably a musician already. “Musician” occupies a large part of the continuum between having first picked up an instrument and earning one’s living with it. So where does musicianship start? To me it starts when one gets serious about it; where one studies music and makes a serious effort to raise his skill level. There are musicians who play for their own enjoyment, for friends, and for crowds. Don’t overthink it. Enjoy it. That works for me.
Piano lessons aren't a bad idea. I took a year of piano and theory at my local community college back in my '20s.
Go see as many live bands as you can. Not just talking about concerts, but local bands at the brew pub and such. I've probably seen over a thousand bands over the years. See what works and what you don't like. I personally can't stand bands that talk a lot or that do unprofessional things like noodling between songs. As a pro you are there performing a service for money; it's a job and you should treat it as such.
No matter what you are playing, get your material DOWN. Practice until you can do it without looking at the fretboard except for major leaps up and down the neck. There's an old saying that amateurs practice until they get it right, pros practice until they get it right every time. Be honest with yourself if you can't practice the same thing over and over again for hours, 'cause that's what it takes.
Remember - good guitarists are a dime a dozen. Other skills that will make you marketable would be learning to sing, learning to sing and play at the same time, songwriting and composition, or taking up the bass.
It’s not the dictionary definition, but I equate a musician with songwriting. Plenty of guitar players who learn some Dave covers and can play around a campfire, and that’s good. But a musician to me is someone who is contributing creatively to something.
I know that’ll piss off the cover band folks, but that’s just how I think about it.
All great advice here. Mine is simple and it has been alluded to. Learn songs to entertain people. Without an audience to play to your just a player. Musicians communicate with people.
Lessons always helped me.
I like to study chord melodies.
They inform you about harmonization and arranging.
YouTube tutorials are also very helpful.
Remember, kids: Symphonic players aren’t real musicians because they just play covers!
For me, being a musician as opposed to "just" a guitarist means your focus is on the general music and not specifically on the guitar parts (though the way you contribute to the music is via the guitar).
A guitarist hears a Van Halen song and drools all over EVH's tapping and other hot licks. A musician does too, but also appreciates that Eddie was a hell of a rhythm guitarist, not to mention the rhythm section and harmony singing, and recognizes that many of the best Van Halen songs don't have a solo and wouldn't necessarily be improved with one.
A guitarist gets into Hendrix because of the dive-bombs and "Machine Gun" and "Voodoo Child" and because he's at the top of every list. A musician does too, but also appreciates Hendrix's chord-melody type of playing, and the blues and R&B in his parts, and how Electric Ladyland is a freakin' journey, maaaann and the radical (yet logical) sight from that to what ended up on Band of Gypsys.
A guitarist obsesses over the solo in "Stairway to Heaven". A musician wrote and arranged and performed and recorded (not just the solo on) "Stairway to Heaven" (but also the solo).
A guitarist buts lots of time and effort and energy and thought into the best possible guitar part every time (and that's great!). A musician first asks if the guitar parts has to be anything stand-out or special, or if there even has to be a guitar part at all (and that's better!).
It's a broader, less self-centered (and so you might say more mature) view on something that your self nevertheless contributes to.
Not that I'm a great musician, but I have learned a lot from several of the regular posters on the Tabs, Tips, Theory and Technique subforum.
I won't try to list the ones who've influenced me, for fear of leaving some out by accident or slighting others who are also worthy, but LarryF in this thread is definitely one of them.
You’re right! They’re violinists, cellists, timpani players...
Yup, probably not definitive. Right or wrong though, songwriting is when I began to think of myself as a musician than “just” guitar player. @JL_LI ’s post about “becoming serious” about music is probably also part of the characteristics. Most likely a combination of a few attributes that make up a musician. I see it as a process and evolution instead of some sort of “becoming”.
Play or compose music for the entertainment of other people.
Any and all competent guitar players are by definition musicians. Same for any other instrument. There is no reasonable counter argument. Writing songs is just another tool in the musician toolbox.
Write a song. A complete one with lyrics and everything (beginning, middle, end). Then another...