9.24.2013

Amateurs

I am an amateur musician. That doesn't mean I am inexperienced or that I suck. I am using the correct definition of amateur here, which means I essentially do music for the fun of it, underwritten by an alternate source of secure income. It is sort of the opposite of a professional musician, whose livelihood depends on success in musical endeavors.

Not beholden to musical benefactors, I have a lot more freedom and flexibility to pursue my art on my terms. Professional musicians are much more at the whimsy of others because to make money, they must fulfill client needs, not their own needs. They can still pursue their own art, but that is not often where the rent money comes from. Even if a musician is lucky enough to be commissioned for some music (recording or licensing deals) they often do this contractually, with terms that very much favor the client, and may even result in the musician being unable to pursue their own art (many contracts are for a period of time during which anything the musician creates is stipulated to be a work for hire of the client).

So while being a professional musician is often glamorized as a way to escape the grind of a real job working for THE MAN, it is often no kind of freedom at all, with long hours and low pay. Still, if music is a labor of love, it can still have a lot of value for the musician.

Being underwritten by THE MAN, as I am, offers me a lot more artistic freedom in music, but the sacrifice is a lot of creative time sacrificed to THE MAN.

Even though I am an amateur musician, I seem to have a greater passion for it than a lot of the professional musicians I know. Maybe because, for them, it is their grueling day (and night) job, they seem less invested in it. Maybe they have lost the passion. For example, when I have band practice or shows with pro musicians, I practice really hard and show up fully prepared and excited to play, but they often seem to be a little lax on preparation and practice. They wing it, similar to the way I wing work at my day job for THE MAN, since I don't care about that.

Or maybe they are just on drugs.

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