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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Toadtele, Jul 25, 2021.
Nobody remembers or likes geologists either... go ahead and name a famous one...
Some of the best musicians I've seen didn't have formal training, couldn't quote theory, couldn't write or compose songs.
The one factor they all had was a mastery of the fundamentals: playing in tune and in time. These are a given. If the fundamentals aren't there then reading and all the theory in the world won't make you a good musician or get you gigs.
Along with the fundamentals, you also need an understanding of the craft of playing the instrument (chords, lines) and understood how songs are put together (sections, intros, repeats, common progressions), and good ears so they can listen to and play with other musicians.
There are many roads to get there and there are endless side trips but every good musician I know of has these basic skills.
A guitarist plays a song. A musician plays music.
Learning theory and taking lessons is not a prerequisite to becoming a musician, but they sure as hell are a short cut. If you want to be a musician, you need to understand the different aspects of music and how they all work together. Yea, some people pick it up as they go along, but that's the hard way.
And everybody tells the tale of a musician "they know" that doesn't know how to read or write music and doesn't know any theory but is spectacular. It's been my experience that for every one of them there are a bunch that can't read or write music, don't know any theory and just plain suck.
I'm not sure why so many people dismiss the value of education for musicians.
I would bet money that a lot of famous musicians the put themselves out there as "not reading music" can actually read music quite well. (ICBW)
Go to some jams and open mic's, network..
Learn to sing harmony. Which note. Why that note. How it relates to the chord progression and the melody.
Learn to play some jazz standards - nothing complicated - simple stuff at first. "Fly Me To The Moon" was a big one for me. Learn to play the melody. Learn the chords. See how they fit together. Learn another jazz guitarist's solo. See how it fits with the chords.
That's a start.
Music, some wright it-some play it-some sing it-and some just listen.
But we all feel it!
The other thing that always gets missed is that a lot of these big names were playing 6 nights a week when they were starting out and a lot still do; and they were playing with great musicians. You look at who Hendrix was playing with; Little Richard, B.B. King, Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers to name a few. You can bet your ass that the supporting musicians for those groups knew their stuff. Some kid sitting in his basement practicing once a week with other people as clueless as himself is going to have a tough time without some formal training.
Do it like this:
Congratulations, if you make music you are a musician.
There's a whole world of possibilities in your question, so maybe it would be helpful to clarify your question. The responses here thus far seem to point in a few possible directions. There's the creative/artistic bucket, the technical bucket and the professional bucket. The first two buckets certainly feed each other, the professional bucket begs the question of what kind of professional you hope to be? Full time contractor? Weekend Warrior? The composer who makes their own music and puts it out in the world without concern for the money?
Buy a van.
I drive past a place with a piano bar twice a day and hear the (one of several) singing piano player plus the drunk crowd singing along.
These piano player singers are certainly trained and knowledgeable "musicians", they know all the chords and all the songs, every damn pop tube the crowd of the night will recall the words to and sing along.
The noise of drunks and a "musician" just murdering song after song, is almost unbearable.
It works though?
Few live music audiences of bar bands are that excited by a music performance.
Long line to get in every night. 35-70yo age group, on vacation.
At the other end of town is an old movie theater where they have small live bands out front most summer nights.
Most are not the sing along style but I did see one guy hopping up and down with his guitar and singing some '80s soft pop tune he got the small crowd to sing choruses of. I kind of wanted to shoot him.
I'm sorry, it's a gut reaction, a revulsion I cannot hide or keep to myself.
Other performers include a guy who plays acoustic and sings, kind of soul/ R&B/ uptown Blues, with a good voice.
I'd like to sit in with him but he really needs nothing added and never seems to have a partner, probably makes a living at it.
One duo was bass & guitar that sounded like practicing scales. Skilled players, sort of Jazz but maybe obscure prog rock?
There's a guy with a Silvertone acoustic fitted with a mag pickup who plays slide Blues & original roots Rock stuff. Cool tunes.
My wife thinks I should play with him but he's lead rhythm and vocals. She's a funny gal.
Last summer there were some bigger classic Rock & Rock bands that were pretty good, but they added a food section and reduced the band section.
I guess if i can identify an identity?
If they performers have something other than the ability to carry the tune?
Then they are musicians.
The piano bar guys are technically 100% musician, but by that standard I'm not sure it's anything to aspire to!
For the most part they can barely sing, but they remember the words and bang the keys close enough to musically.
Just a traumatic horror to musicians everywhere.
Things that go into how I answer this question include 1) Art is not the same as crafts or as illustration, and 2) A Berklee grad friend who can probably do anything with a guitar that can be done with a guitar and do it well; responded to a family friend who pointed out that he and I were both musicians: "No, he's a musician, I'm just a guitar player".
If a Berklee degree brought him an understanding where advanced guitar playing doesn't make you a musician, I have to consider that info in the larger question. No accept it as fact, but consider the educated claim.
The problem with these questions is they are fair enough but they really don't help the art community trying to add something good to culture.
I have a very good artist friend who insists that icons like the STOP sign at every intersection is "art" just the same as a Caravaggio.
I decided to just not argue that with her.
Those two opinions both came from smart educated people.
I don't think there is an acceptable answer to questions like "What is art?" and "Who is a musician?".
But IDK, hopping up and down singing soft pop sing along?
That's a musician?
This gets into similar territory as civil liberties.
If I label others, it changes me into a closed minded tyrant.
If you can play 2-3 chords, and play/sing a whole song, you are a musician. The word "musician" isn't based on how talented, or gifted player you are. Vocalists are musicians, so are harmonica players, Conga/bongo/percussionists, etc., etc. Just because you don't play in a band, or for money doesn't mean you aren't a musician. You say you play guitar, then you ARE a musician!
Man, you should know that geologist are the sexiest and coolest men alive. If you don't know, is just because you have never had breakfast with a Geologist
And if you don't know any famous geologist that only shows your lack of knowledge, not the inexistence of them. But for the hell of it, here are some famous ones:
This man (Bond, James Bond) saved Sarah Connor from a volcano so she could have her son and kill all terminators:
This other man, he loves geology so much that changed his name to "The Rock". He can fly a helicopter, use Conan's wild sword, and watch ho LA looks like Lebanon:
This man saved the few humans from a false Aztek prophecy back in 2012. We have recovered from that strike eventually:
Those men... saving the world again and again... saving airports buildings whatever... and he is the father of Liv Tyler!!!
And last but not least... a girl... She can play with baby T-rex, come on!! I am not saying do it better, just try to equal it... And she is a valkiria tooo. She is so famous that is on the Big Lebowsky, the best film ever
You need to watch Pete Thorne series on "So you want to be a pro musician?". He goes over everything, including attitude, chops, auditioning, session work, touring, singing (yes, singing), etc, and even having a YouTube presence as a means of marketing and income.
Or owning the P.A.
Very good. Harmony is the one I neglected the most. At least a formal functional knowledge of harmony. The musicians I listen to most have a good understanding of harmony and use it to keep things interesting.
Yup, but then you're the guy who is always having to set up the PA on top of your own rig. I've been PA guy for about 25 years.
I think it's a great question.
To me, a musician is someone who can play songs cleanly with few or no mistakes and plays in front of an audience.
I've done neither so I consider myself a guy who plays guitar.
I love Pete Thorn videos.
He still needs to work on getting his fans to spell his name right though.