Are you a musician or a player of music?

Are you a musician or a player of music?

After reading a comment in the "Spots V Ears" thread where it was suggested that one should have to acquire certain skills before he/she could call themselves a competent musician, I recall posting this very early thread..

https://thesession.org/discussions/4188

I thought the topic was worth revisiting and would be interested to hear the views of the more current members.

As I stated, I’ve always been reluctant to refer to myself as a musican and prefer the term "player" as I tend to think of an actual musician as someone who has received or "aqcuired"the actual training and knowledge. He or she would also work within the field of music in one way or another. Perhaps as a professional player, compose, or, possibly, in an educational capacity.

What do you all think?
Also, in the field of trad music and sessions, country music, even jazz etc, it is not uncommon for even truly excellent musicians to refer to themselves as "players". So, maybe, it’s a genre thing too?

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An aspiring musician.

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If someone says they are a "musician" then I would take that to mean that music was their main source of income, in other words, they are professional.
For most musicians their status is based not on their ability to read or play by ear but on the music they produce.

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Yes, Donald.
That would roughly be my interpretation too although I also think this would include "teachers" etc who do not necessarily produce new music such. Of course, many will also do this as well and they do "interpret" existing music and "re"produce same.

Sorry about the typo in opening post. I meant to say *acquired*, of course. 🙂

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I read, or misread, DonaldK’s "music they produce" as meaning the musical sounds they produce rather than the new works that they create. I’d use "musician" for someone for whom playing music for an appreciative audience is significant source income.

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David, you were probably right. I now think he meant that as well.

It was myself who maybe misinterpreted his comment. The general content of my reply still stands though.

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Well I probably meant the sounds they produce, although that could be extended to the sounds produced from their compositions.

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You get musicians who also teach, but if you were a full time teacher in a school I would say that you were a teacher rather than a musician, although you’re still a musician.

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I’d use "composer" for that. (compositions that is)

Interesting that an edit on my last sentence must have ‘taken’ after Johnny Jay responded to it. I was including buskers but excluding the ones who are tipped out of sympathy.

I’m a player of music. I’ll take chips/fries if offered.

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I think of myself more as a “shouter” of music. But then I do love my melodeon.

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I class myself as ‘enthusiastic ’ rather than ‘accomplished ‘……..
Ear plugs are available

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I used to struggle when filling in my tax form over what to classify myself as. I couldn’t fit "Teacher, musician, transcriber, composer, arranger, luthier" into the available space.
Now I just put "Retired".

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Well, I put musician on my tax return, so there’s that.

Since 1999, after years of trying more normal day jobs (ack!), I’ve taught multiple fretted instruments from my home based lesson studio. I’ve gigged since 1977 with only a few years off to do some courtin’ and raisin’ up some youngones. These days I gig less (thanks be to the living hell that is Covid), write and record more, and go to bed at night knowing I have only tried to help people.

Musician.

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DonaldK, if it ever comes up again, just write "Renaissance Man".

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I don’t quite understand why income level or percentage should factor into whether or not someone is a "musician." A "musician," to me, is someone who plays music. The term "professional musician" is pretty useful for anyone who makes some or all of their living from doing so.

Overall, I’d count myself as a "musician." I work in the broader music industry (as a radio presenter, not performer), I have 2 degrees in music, I gig, I busk, and music is a very important part of my life. To be honest, that last bit carries the most weight for me by far. I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to set a skill level minimum or look at your tax returns to know whether or not you’re a musician. If you play music and it’s an important part of your life, I’d call you a "musician." But if you’d rather be called a player or a music-maker or "hey you!" then that’s fine, too.

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"Renaissance Man" - good one, Nigel. I’ll add that my the list of possible tune titles too.

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Could be a regional thing. Most people in my area define themselves by instrument, as in "I’m a fiddle player." Usually people won’t call themselves by the more generic term musician except when talking about one’s personal history or some wider subject.

For example, I’ve always been a musician since an early age. I had years of piano instruction as a kid, I was a soloist in the church Boy’s Choir, then played drums in teenage rock garage bands. Then 30 years of acoustic and electric guitar, followed by 15 years of mandolin and then learning Irish flute in recent years. I’ve done minor paying gigs here and there. If that’s not a musician I don’t know what is. But I don’t strut around calling myself a musician. I play flute, I play mandolin, I play guitar.

As for competence — which is a different thing — I’ve always aspired to be a journeyman musician in the old guild system sense. No longer an apprentice, and will never be a master. Just competent to do the work reasonably well.

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Musician and developer of abominations of nature.

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This is an interesting question. I think of people who play music as musicians. My first inclination was to say that people who play music and are able to make it sound special, even to people that also play music, would be where I drew the line. But then I realized that there are people who I consider to be "bad musicians" because they just belt out the tunes without making it sound particularly musical. And I guess by default, I consider them to be musicians, too, as evidenced by the word ‘musician’ in the term…

And kudos to you for starting off the discussion about the semantics, instead of letting a broader discussion devolve into an argument about the semantics! 😉

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Gigging, tax paying starving artist still hoping for the big break, with side jobs and a savings account - or as I call it "Entrepreneur."

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"Are you a musician or a player of music?"

Both. I’ve no problem calling myself a musician.

I wouldn’t attach any importance to perceived status in the words "amateur" or "professional", since very often the standard of skill is at least equal.

I note that Francis O’Neill (1001 tunes, Music of Ireland), used the term "non-professional musicians" (as opposed to "amatuers") in his credits.

We are all musos. To us, we are artists. To our detractors, we are scrapers, tooters, blowers, crushers and thumpers 🙂

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If the question ever arises, I say that I am the owner of a fiddle.

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Renaissance man? Why not polymath? My new favourite word.
And yes, I would call everyone who comes to our local session a musician. Some are professional, some are not. Though professional might mean part time like myself.

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I must admit, I hooted with laughter when someone first introduced me as "a musician" - my usual response is "strictly amateur and enthusiast". But, on the other hand, I have been playing music for almost 70 years now, and I have a few grade exams and a fair bit of theory and composition behind me, and I play a number of different instruments, and in a couple of bands, and in one of which I have been given the dubious title of "music adviser". So what does that make me? I am now more comfortable with being called a musician, though I would still qualify it with the "purely amateur" phrase.
Love the definitions above: Jim Dorans, you forgot the squeezers!
And can I be "Renaissance Woman" please?
As for what you describe yourself as on your Tax Return, be even more careful with your insurance policies, especially car insurance! "Musician" is the pits, as they assume you will be doing lots of late night driving, maybe after a few illicit beers, and therefore more prone to accidents. My son found there was a world of ££££s difference between being "leisure centre attendant" and "swimming instructor"!

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@trish - the crushers are the more heavy-handed squeezers 🙂

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Hee-hee Jim! I hope I’m a bit more subtle than that!

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To me there is a significant difference between a player and a musician. I say this without being judgmental. They are not the same thing. A player plays, with varying levels of proficiency, sometimes stunningly well, sometimes not so much. A musician has studied the art of music, understands the theory and the practice of music. It’s kind of a four way chart. Some can play with a deep understanding of music. Some can play, and play well without understanding the music he/she plays (knowing why it works as opposed to feeling). Some can have a deep understanding but fall short in the execution. And last, some just can’t make it happen either way. I don’t have a better way to explain it than to say it’s a matter of skill and knowledge. They can exist in the same person at the same time, to varying degrees of each, on not at all. For me (to answer the posted question) I have a smattering of knowledge and a small skill. I guess that makes me more or less like everyone else I know. We’re a big family!

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As this discussion was going on, the winter edition of the MU journal came through my letterbox - the MU, for those outside the UK who don’t know, is the Musician’s Union and the journal is called The Musician…………I guess that decides it for me.

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As a player of music, I am a member of The Union of Players of Music and subscribe to their journal, ‘The Player of Music’.

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I play a hammered dulcimer and box and in no way would I ever call myself a musician especially given the amazing talent around my area. I’m not into putting myself down but the term hack seemed more appropriate. I guess I can push it and call myself a player? It depends maybe who is doing the describing. Newbies or a non musical people call me a musician all the time. True trad musicians have been generous allowing me to play with them occasionally and some have been very generous in not (openly) expressing their opinion. I’m under no illusions though and keep a clear head of my place in the status quo.

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Ross Faison makes the most relevant contribution to this particular thread,being a member of a union , subscribing to a magazine or making comments on the session doesn’t change reality.

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Stamp collectors can be classified as philatelists even though they do it as a hobby.
We are all made up of many parts as we strut this mortal coil and I am happy to call myself a musician even though I don’t compose, teach or earn from my hobby.
I remember watching a young man trying out a guitar in the music shop as his son looked on. I said to myself " there are two kinds of people in this world, musicians and non-musicians, and I am a non-musician "
A few years later the conductor brought down his baton and I played all the right notes in the right order and thought "I’m a musician "
And I don’t apologise for it.

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For some reason, the question brought to mind Thomas Beecham’s quote: "The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes." It would be interesting to know the background to that grumpy-sounding observation!

And also Ennis’ story where the Fairy asks the disgruntled piper "and do you want to make music to please yourself, or music to please others?"

(Hmmm. Are there gruntled pipers?)

There seems a strong perception in the comments above that "musician" beats "player". But would you want to be a common musician, or "a real player!"?

And if the difference is technical skill, haven’t all of us wondered at some time or other about the extraordinary skills on display, but also wondered what happened to the music?

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atsunrise mentioned Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree. The problem was that the musicians were being replaced by a newfangled church organ and they were being made redundant.
Live music has been on a downward slope ever since.

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I’m a musician thank you! I don’t understand why anyone who can hold an instrument and play a tune would think any other way! I don’t understand the "I’m so humble but despite knowing my stuff I still doff my hat to those called ‘musician’".
Sometimes I am a gentleman amateur musician, sometimes I’m a pro musician. I prefer being the amateur as I am my own man and not having to do what I’m asked to do. At a session I am a gentleman amateur, at a gig I’m a professional.
I think ‘professional’ is a sadder sounding option because you are subservient to those paying you, literally a servant (like the professionals one would employ to do jobs one can’t be arsed with: driving, gardening, building, painting, workman and tools stuff! (Or professionals in a golf club)
Anyway, are you a footballer or a player of football?

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They are the same thing. I am both.

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I am a wooden flute player, never call myself a flautist. I am also a musician, after a lifetime of practicing and making music. I am not a professional musician, prefer to give it away, cast to the winds.

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On a good day I’m a musician. On an off day I’m a fiddle owner.

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//Hee-hee Jim! I hope I’m a bit more subtle than that!//

The comments in my fan mail are anything but subtle!

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For what it’s worth…I once came across an “ensemble” billing itself as “Butch Helamano & The Players of Instruments”. Does that help anyone?

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"and do you want to make music to please yourself, or music to please others?"

Begs the question am I a musician or an entertainer?
Because my body of work contains music that "I" find challenging I am a musician When a piece is learnt
It is then that it’s life begins.

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Player of dots, listener with lugs, musician or player, all correct
After nearly 65 years of playing I love my concertina and hurdy gurdy, literally
I maybe a retired luthier, but I am a musician and composer ( amateur, I know my place………ha ha ha)

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A player of music.

That’s me. Not a musician.

I have a very strong hobby, something I cannot live without that it’s to play music with musical instruments.

Usually I am pretty bad. Only sometimes I can do something that would be categorised as "not too bad" by a professional musician.

I cannot be a musician because I consider music a hobby. It has to be like this for me, there is not other way. For example if I was running a session as many musicians do in Ireland, I would end up not enjoying music at all. I know myself, I would start feeling like it is an obligation for me and that would be the end of it.

I change instruments quite often, I am jack of all trades and master of none. I try one tune and I don’t wait to get it even acceptable, I get tired of it and then I go for another tune. I played about 12 years 100% by ear: that means that I didn’t know the notes in the instruments or in the melody. Imagine if I know music theory or not. I really messed the ornamentation up with the tin whistle. My harmonica playing is quite simple. I am playing the box with a mobile app and I am enjoying it big time. With all of this for sure I cannot be a musician.

But I cannot live without music, I must play, well or bad, I must play. I am very thankful to this hobby that I have and I don’t really need to be a musician. In fact, I must not be a musician to enjoy music.

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Thanks for all the responses, folks.

The general consensus so far seems to be that a musician means something more than a person who plays musical instruments.
However, if and when we play in public even in an amateur capacity, we are probably regarded as and referred to as musicians.
The compere might say "We’ll have a raffle now while the "musicians" have a break and so on.
So, in this sort of situation, the average punter will probably think of us as such albeit they may consider us "bad", "average" etc depending on how well we play and on their own appreciation of the music, of course… They might not have much of a clue either way. 🙂

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In the Scots Trad Awards, a musician was not necessarily a "player" either but could also be a singer. That’s fair enough but we could actually argue that we are ALL singers even those who don’t play instruments.
So, is everyone a musician? Probably not.. So, this implies a certain level of skill and, perhaps, some professional and/or work aspect as has been suggested.

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Am I a musician or player of music?
It’s not either one or the other. My answer depends on the context of the question.
I’ll try to get back to a better answer, Johnny, but for now that’s the best I have until I have more time to sort the context of this original post; not to mention sorting information from the (previous) original post linked in this thread’s O.P.

A.B.

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Why does this question need a binary answer? When I’m in a car I’m a driver, when I walk I’m a pedestrian, but in both those cases I’m also a traveller. When I play fiddle I’m a player, when I sing I’m a singer, and in both those cases I’m also a musician. But if you ask me what I am, I’ll tell you I’m an instrument maker, or I’ll tell you I’m a man, or I’ll tell you I’m an Aries. Life isn’t just one dimensional black and white.

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I have a degree in music. But I make my living as a software developer. I wouldn’t say that I therefore ceased to be a musician some point along the way.

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I would say you are whatever defines your passion. Ability, income, competence, acclaim, marketability, or years of involvement, study or practice don’t enter into it.

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No one is completely defined by passion alone.

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If you inferred that I said they were, I did not imply it. However, if playing music is your passion, you are both a player and a musician. If playing music is not your passion, you are neither.

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Ailin, I was not inferring.
Take care.

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I wonder if this discussion reflects regional differences in what is meant by the term “musician.” Unless the context suggests otherwise, I’d never assume that calling someone a musician implies that they support themselves with their playing. I’m a passionate amateur - I’m glad I don’t have to live off what I earn from occasional paying gigs - but I certainly consider myself a musician.

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To me, ‘musician’ doesn’t imply or confer any special status. It’s just a general term that describes a person who makes music in some capacity or another. One can be a good, bad, virtuosic, amateur, advanced, beginning … musician.

Much the same goes for ‘player,’ although that term could preclude conductors, composers, and so on, who might not necessarily have an instrument in hand.

And most specifically, one can be a fiddle player or piper or pianist, etc. (As an aside, the former flute player in me is a flutist and not a flautist, but that’s a separate issue.)

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As Winston Churchill reportedly once said about Clement Atlee…. "A modest man who has much to be modest about"
🙂
Maybe that sums things up for some of us who are reluctant to call ourselves musicians.
I am even more likely to state that "I play the fiddle/mandolin" than refer to myself as a fiddle/mandolin player. Or I might say that I "play guitar" rather than call myself a guitarist.
🙂

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If a person plays football two evenings per week and every Saturday morning, watches lots of matches on tv and never misses MOTD, is that person a footballer?
p. s.
I’m only Messi-ng!

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I don’t believe that being a musician or a "player of music" is necessarily about skill and proficiency. I think that there is an even deeper distinction to be made here, and that is the person’s actual identity, or their relationship with music. For myself, I identify as a musician because the practice of music, the cultivation of musical knowledge, and the spreading of musical and artistic awareness, are major priorities in my life. These things shape my lifestyle.

As a music collector, I have set times throughout the year when I focus on building and restoring new and old music collections, respectively. As an instrumentalist, I play music recreationally and professionally; As a soloist and with friends and peers. As a music enthusiast, I talk about the joys and pains of music to whoever is willing to listen; I advocate for and promote the significance of teaching the arts to youths; and I even write essays whenever I want to share my ideas with musical communities. And finally, as a student of music, it is always a priority to be in one music class or another, even if that music class is a dance class. I have an annual budget set aside for musical expenses. And three of my long-term goals are centered around music:

1: Go back to school to study music therapy.
2: Build a charitable organization donating musical instruments.
3: Acquire a professional-tier concertina.

This is my life, these are the things that matter to me. All of this is what I believe makes me a musician. That’s not to say that I set the standard for what a musician is, or that any of this is what I expect from my peers. This is just what my life has become over the years. It’s just to make the distinction that it’s about more than being a "professional" or not. On that note, as noted above, people who utilize music as a form of income are afforded the distinction "professional" musician; So whether or not someone is working as a professional doesn’t determine their status of the general.

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"The general consensus so far seems to be that a musician means something more than a person who plays musical instruments."

Not exactly a consensus. I read some posts (including my own, previously) that indicated the opposite. Or at least the idea that some arbitrary level of competence isn’t implied by the term.

There are good musicians and bad musicians, I don’t know where that magic line would be that confers musician status based on how well one plays. Or as suggested earlier, how deeply one has explored all aspects of music.

That’s an idea similar to a phrase I’ve heard in another forum about being a "well-rounded" musician or player, a phrase implying that one can read sheet music and also learn by ear, know Western music theory, and know all the notes up and down your fretboard if you’re a string player. I think that’s a fine thing to aim for if it makes you happy and a better player. On the other hand, I’ve been astonished by the musicianship of players who can’t read dots, couldn’t tell you the key of the tune they’re playing, and never get past first position (or the equivalent on other instruments).

Anyway, this is just me, but I’d rather describe someone messing up a tune as a poor musician, or more charitably a "learning" musician, than reserving the term only for more accomplished players. Because I don’t know exactly where you’d draw that line.

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

I’ve also noticed that most of us are more likely to use the term "musician" to refer to someone else or other players but less so when describing themselves.

For instance, I wouldn’t normally refer to the other people in sessions as merely "players" but normally as musicians especially if I was talking to a punter, bar staff or general members of the publican. On the whole, they will invariably accept this and not query the use of the term.

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I would say that anyone who plays music - and certainly anyone who’s actually in the act of playing music - is a musician. Just as Christmas Eve’s amateur sportsperson is definitely a footballer… At least, whenever they’ve got their boots on.

Long before I started making a living from playing music I would announce myself or the band as "tonight’s musicians", when I/we got to a venue. "Two pints of Vicar’s Pimple for the musicians", would be another thing I’d say, if we were lucky enough to get free drinks.

This is a genuinely fascinating forum. I’ve never known so many people to be concerned about such things as this topic or whether learning pieces of music via notation or by ear is "better". It’s very interesting!

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It is interesting, to me, in philosophical - or teleological respects. Not the "either/or" question, but what it means.

Personally, I’ve always been a musician, empirically - I make *music* (compulsively, but that’s another matter) evidenced by listeners’ reactions - movement, dance, engagement, and ostensible enjoyment. It’s been easy for me to identify as such, as I’m one of those who makes musical sound from anything in my environment. It’s as natural for me to do as eating and drinking. I also spend much time pontificating on music: its origins, practices, relations and ramifications in society, the psyche, etc.

I listen to a lot of unconventional musical expressions - avant "jazz," "art" music, noise, et al. Most of what I enjoy listening to is what the vast majority of folks call NOT music. Then there is the natural phenomenon of *sound* and audition - it compels us in myriad ways. Interestingly, much of what Jerone will be dealing with as a therapist is this essential aspect - not necessarily music, per se. Music is such a compelling natural phenomenon, yet is still a mystery to us. Looking at the snow gently falling outdoors, I see, or feel, music. Essentially, everything in my life is, in one way or another, transfigured into music - or musical understanding. It’s my preferred modality of experience. Music, then, is a heuristic - not only do we play/perform/execute, but is a vehicle for understanding.

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I remember growing up in west Offaly in the seventies and eighties, and trad musicians being quite often referred to as “Musicianers”, particularly by elderly people. I think I’d like to be referred to as a musicianer!

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Since Johnny Jay has mentioned bar staff, if there is a tab at the bar for “musicians” you can go and order your half pint of shandy confidently stating “I am one of the musicians”!

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Catty ー "Music, then, is a heuristic - not only do we play/perform/execute, but is a vehicle for understanding."

Thank you for that word, "heuristic". It’s very useful. And you’re absolutely right. We all perceive things a certain way, and ultimately, people like us perceive the world through music/sound. Then, things that we may not totally understand in context, is given c0ntext. Ah! I’ve needed this word so many times!

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Thinking of bars I guess it’s all context. Having said I don’t categorise myself as a musician when I arrive for a session I don’t hesitate to sit at one of the tables marked "reserved for musicians".

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I’m just a fiddle player. They don’t pay me enough to parse complicated issues such as this.

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I’d certainly call myself a musician, as I have an ongoing relationship with music through various instruments including my voice

I’m surprised to hear others draw lines of musicianship based on income or education. Did the world have no musicians prior to the invention of institutionalised academia, or before the development of specialisation and professionalism?

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Indeed, what constituted "legit" at the time? 🙂

Really I like to just play the fiddle too. But for purposes of discussion, I heard the other night - an elder in the "free scene" from the 70s in New York put forth her "credo"as it were, saying - the approach was based in "interrogating sound." That’s sometimes my feeling of putting an instrument under the chin for how many thousands of hours.. I suppose that’s maybe a common thing? All the neurons firing in the brain, excitement, relaxation, creativity, inspiration and all that sometimes comes about when immersing in the music for, well, ever. It’s too much time alone for any health come of it 🙂

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In a more serious note, I’m with John Hill. I’m not sure ‘musician’ needs to be a quantified and calibrated title. There are phenomenal players who had no formal education, and there exceptional musicians playing in community orchestras, churches, and sessions, who seldom or never make a buck.

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A recent Karen Tweed interview was posted on melodeon.net - in which she speaks of the instrument as a living, breathing thing, and the wide range of influences on playing. https://youtu.be/K0ZaylhLlgk?t=1110


Neither ere nor there I suppose, but it all sounded very familiar to me.

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Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

I would, in appropriate contexts, describe myself as a semi-professional musician, inasmuch as I earn part of my living playing music (I could equally refer to myself as a ‘semi-professional player of music’, but that seems needlessly pedantic and perhaps falsely modest). Apart from the fact that I rely on music for part of my living, I am fundamentally no different from any other person that plays or sings. It does not mean I am half as good as a professional musician, nor any better than an ‘amateur’ (there are many amateurs that are streets ahead of me). In fact, most traditonal musicians/players that consider themselves amateur will, once they have reached a certain skill level, probably be asked to play for payment at some point in their lives – the only difference is that they are sufficiently skilled in some other line of work to make their living at it, so that whatever money they earn from music is merely a bonus.

I have side-stepped the original question so far, because I really don’t see any fundamental difference between the two terms. Perhaps ‘musician’ carries a bit more weight in some situations – someone that plays music professionally is less likely to be referred to as a ‘player’ – but in its primary sense, it means nothing more than someone that plays a musical instrument and, by extension, someone that sings, composes, arranges or conducts music. Perhaps, in terms of skill level, there is some arbitrary cut-off point (which may vary enormously, depending on the arbiter), beneath which a person does not qualify as a ‘musician’, but does that not apply equally to ‘player’?

I like the term ‘musicianer’ the best. But I feel it would be a trifle pretentious to refer to myself as one.

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

I should probably clarify what I mean by ‘appropriate contexts’. This discussion is one such context, I think. But I would generally only call myself a ‘semi-professional musician’ in answer to the question, "Are you a professional musician?" – and perhaps when it is somehow advantageous to me, e.g. when applying for financial assistance (or subsidised custom-moulded earplugs).

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

catty - that was a wonderful listen, thanks very much for posting the video.

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

To me it’s silly arguing about semantics.

Reminds of the absurd (even if true) circular definition of "art" and "artist"

Art is that thing made by Artists.
Artists are those who make Art.

I was a member of Local 7 American Federation Of Musicians so as far as the Income Tax people were concerned I was officially a Musician. (This had the advantage that I could "write off" my instrument purchases.)

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

When I was a music major in college, the professors and instructors whom I got along with the best were the ones who occasionally performed for an audience. I did have trouble and did not get along with the professors and the instructors who just wanted to hide in a classroom and either never, or rarely if ever, perform for an audience.
One example of this was the woman who taught Techniques of Accompanying. Not only was she a good teacher but as the college’s staff accompanist, she performed regularly in concerts put on by the school.
I don’t remember any comments or discussion or hearing the terms "musician" or "player" or "musicaner" or "musicianer" or hearing any distinctions between "player" and "musician" while I was a music major in college.

Laurence

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

I have been playing music for fifty something years now and I still enjoy it.
I guess I could be classified as a "non-professional musician" instead of an "amateur". No I am not a professional musician and have never been one. However, when I was younger and less experienced, I had the pleasure of sitting in and playing music with some very good semi-retired professional musicians at various jam sessions here. When these semi-retired professional musicians would offer me suggestions and advice, I did have enough sense to keep my ears open and my mouth shut. I don’t remember hearing any comments about any differences between the terms "player" and "musician". However, they did make a distinction between the people who could actually play and knew what they were doing as opposed to the people who couldn’t play well enough to save their lives.
Playing music does help me in one important way. Speaking as a military veteran, playing music helps me deal constructively and positively with my PTSD and any other psychological, mental, and emotional problems I have.

Laurence

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

On the tax forms used by the IRS (Incomprehensible Revenue Service) here in the United States, I usually enter the official title of my day job instead of something else because I do not want to confuse the tax agency employees or make them suspicious. Several years ago, I wasn’t careful enough when I filled out my tax form and I got audited. It was not a pleasant experience.

Laurence

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

I really hate the idea of letting capitalism define who we are. You may do accounting 60 hours a week to earn your living, but if you have music going through your head at any given moment and can’t wait to get home and play your instrument, then you have as much right to call yourself a musician as anyone else as far as I’m concerned. Let others add professional in front of that if need be.

Re: Are you a musician or a player of music?

Who knows. It depends on my mood and who’s asking. Maybe I’m a musician (at least I play music), but I make an effort to perform as seldom as possible. Maybe I’m a composer, but I also hate recording stuff. This being said, the other day, royalties were paid.