Is music a competition?

DekeDog

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 12, 2019
Posts
1,749
Location
Carolina
I'd like to think music is purely for enjoyment, but I'd be lying if I said I don't ever envy another person's talent. And I heard myself once say that I'd never pay to hear a person play who couldn't play better than me and thought I was a jerk for saying it. But it's all true. I'll be the first to admit, that a musician ripping it up transports me to other realms, but at the same time, I often find myself listening for mistakes at live performances... looking for a reason to criticize a performance. Having high expectations and seeking perfection is a burden for everybody and can take the joy out of a lot of things, but sometimes, I can't shake it.
 

jman72

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 31, 2013
Posts
2,038
Location
Central Florida
I think it's all up to the musician. If you want to compete, why not? Many of my favorite musicians came up through the guitar, mandolin, and fiddle competition circuit. Chris Thile? Mark O'Connor? Don Ross? These guys are some of the most insane (and creative) musicians on the planet, and they all came up through the acoustic competition circuit.

I've heard Mark O'Connor talk about it a lot, and he absolutely believes that the drive and pressure of his early competition years forged him into the incredible musician he is today. He's very proud of winning the national championships on mandolin, fiddle, AND guitar- and he should be!



I also can't imagine the pressure (and competition) involved in getting into Julliard or a major orchestra as a classical musician.

So, while I'm just a weekend warrior playing for fun down at the local bar (or at a friend's place) with no competitive drive, MANY of the most successful bands have a strong competitive streak that helps them succeed.
 

Lochry

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Posts
110
Location
Princeton, NJ
Depends on your level of creativity and willingness to stand alone.

Four decades ago I was in conservatory playing “the canon” for my instrument. Most competitive environment I can imagine. Sucked much of the joy of music out of me.

On the other hand, I have friends who are not great players but are creative and love an audience. Not making a mint, but have a life in music.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
33,468
Age
62
Location
Maine
I see music sort of like research.

We are all trying to make our contribution to the whole body of knowledge.

Some theses/studies might be more relevant, comprehensive, or grander in scale than others. Some might not be relevant in the moment but relevant to research later. Some might not be novel contributions, but good summaries or meta analyses that have a practical/social function. In some instances methods used may be more relevant than the content.

And of course some research is just fishing for money, haha.
Methinks youthinks too much.

Ask me why i think that!
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
33,468
Age
62
Location
Maine
I'd like to think music is purely for enjoyment, but I'd be lying if I said I don't ever envy another person's talent. And I heard myself once say that I'd never pay to hear a person play who couldn't play better than me and thought I was a jerk for saying it. But it's all true. I'll be the first to admit, that a musician ripping it up transports me to other realms, but at the same time, I often find myself listening for mistakes at live performances... looking for a reason to criticize a performance. Having high expectations and seeking perfection is a burden for everybody and can take the joy out of a lot of things, but sometimes, I can't shake it.
Well in addition to the intellect, fine motor skills and 10,000 hours; theres the OTHER component known as soul, emotion, feeling, passion, and to some its even some sort of spiritual or religious practice.

Go to any prestigious guitar college and see row upon row of 22yo kids with vastly superior skills from the first group.

Without the second component group though, do you still want to pay if only to see a technician?

One ascends into high performance.
The other descends into depths of the soul.
I'm primarily moved by the soul component, assuming adequate skills are present.
 

gtroates

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Posts
680
Location
Seattle, Washington (USA)
People who are not from artist backgrounds or have no family members that do art as a living are often unaware of the subtle aspects of any of the arts. To someone like this it is easy to sell magazines or tv shows to by making them more familiar to the non artists majority by making it a winner takes all competition. Casual music listeners can be drawn into the “us versus them” nature of competitions because it is like having a sports team or athlete to root for. To present art as it really is, everyone has an individual trait and art is their voice to bring out their take on things as they see them, can be boring to people who want to be entertained by people winning and losing.

In college visual art classes students often have to do reports on museum trips and what moved them personally about the art they saw. It is common for the young artists to be impressed by art that is “so real it looks like a photograph.” The teacher uses these statements to ask the student, “then why didn’t he take a photograph instead?” The point being that art at its highest pursuit is a way to let the artist express the way they view things and provide unique perspectives on the world as they see it, The student who is impressed by the photo realism of an airbrush painting alone is being impressed by technique rather than content of the artwork.

Leaving the voting of singing contestants up to the viewers guarantees that the “winners” will most often posses impressive technique but their ability as a songwriter or ability to be different and unique which gives them longevity in the business is not as focused on. Very few of the contestants who end up winning are still popular years later.
 

String Tree

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Posts
18,147
Location
Up North
For example, there is a huge surge of excellent female singers happening right now. I follow them as I believe this movement will become the next big thing. What I like is these are solo artists, not bands. But not all people look at it that way, in many people's eyes it's a competition and the outcome is a winner, like AGT. Sad.

What I see in the comments is so much competition, "she's better than Adele" or "Angelina Jordan is the best singer ever, no one is as good" and so on. I read that sort of viewpoint and get bothered.

Music and serious singers are not playing sports where the goal is to win. It's different, singers compete with themselves to be their iwn best. And appreciation in the form of positive critique and applause should be the response from listeners. But not all singers can rise to this level, and some singers are just not liked or talented, and that blurs the line between being you best vs simply being the best.

Am I off? Should singers be competitive like it's a sport, or is it best to appreciate them for being them and evolving, or devolving?

Thoughts?
The Music BUSINESS is Competetive.
YEP!!!
 

Chiogtr4x

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Posts
14,198
Location
Manassas Park, VA
For me ( and various small gigs groups I play in) I think there is an element of indirect competition everywhere we play, in that we want to play better/put on a better show, than 'the other guys', to keep a good gig.

A lot us Baby-boomer ( IMO) play from the same pool of cover songs ( albeit many styles of music in a big pool to choose from).
And I know I want to bring something unique or different to a song that makes it ours, and I think that is competition, within frame of musicianship
 

roeg

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Posts
238
Location
canada
yes, all too much. we breed it that way.

we need less of it.tall order.
 

Mjark

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2011
Posts
14,934
Location
Annapolis, MD
Entertainers are competing for our money I guess but it’s business not so much like sports which is somewhat different business model.
 

adjason

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Posts
6,032
Location
virginia
I don't think of it as a competition between people but I do think artist tend to compete with themselves and music is tough because what artist wrote their best songs in the 40's and beyond.....
 




Top