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#3047282 11/18/20 05:46 PM
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After our nightly movie was over, one of the customers (chap I've never seen before) stopped on his way out to tell us that he was really impressed with the sound in the theatre. "This is the first theatre I've ever been in that has really top grade sound. I appreciate good, well balanced sound since I'm a musician."

I just said "Thanks." (Yes my theatre can really rock with the right movie.)

But my to my surprise, my wife said, "So is he," meaning me.

Er, a musician? Who me? I just fiddle around with my piano and entertain my bird. I don't really perform, except by accident. (My piano is in my office.)

I really don't think that makes me a musician.

So, this provides an opportunity for you fine folks to to define what a musician really is. smile

I'm pretty sure it ain't me. crazy


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We got both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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I have played out several times plus at church masses and at Christmas parties several times. But I still don't think of myself as a true musician. I just an average Joe plucking the keys LOL


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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My first reaction is to say a musician is someone who makes a meaningful portion of their livelihood from making music.

Then there's the large cohort that preface the term 'musician' with amateur. Are amateur musicians still musicians? Yes, but of a different sort. I get a totally different picture when someone says they're (for example) a meteorologist, versus when someone says they're an amateur meteorologist.


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I’d say you need to be at least “proficient” musically and technically

Last edited by Wayne2467; 11/18/20 06:14 PM.
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If you can make music on a musical instrument or by singing, you are by definition, a musician.

Whether or not you are any good at making music is beside the point.

One could be an amateur musician, professional musician, lousy musician, horrible musician, great musician, or any other modifier. But the bottom line is that you can make music.

From Merriram-Webster Dictionary:

Definition of "musician":

A composer, conductor, or performer of music, especially : INSTRUMENTALIST (Their Bold)


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I guess if I was asked I would not say I was a "musician" although I've played piano and bass for over 40 years. Only because I don't play out and don't make any money from it. But if pressed I might say I'm an "amature musician."

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Originally Posted by rocket88
If you can make music on a musical instrument or by singing, you are by definition, a musician.

Whether or not you are any good at making music is beside the point.

One could be an amateur musician, professional musician, lousy musician, horrible musician, great musician, or any other modifier. But the bottom line is that you can make music.
Using that definition or approach everyone is a musician as long as they realize the fallboard must be opened. Not a reasonable definition IMO.
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I've been accused of all sorts of things in my very long life, but never of being a "musician", not even by my worst enemies.

After all, I can only tickle the ivories a little, and sing in a croaky baritone (passably around the right pitch, give or take 100 Hz, on a good day), pluck a few strings on a guitar-shaped object, blow into a tin whistle.........and not much else.

So, I'd call myself an ivory-tickler (as the acoustic piano I perform on - a 85-key C.Bechstein grand circa 1900 - has real ivory keys). A few good friends might even call me a "pianist".......but that's why they are good friends.

However, as I'm not a generous sort, I call everyone who can play any musical instrument (including a hose pipe or a vacuum cleaner) a "musician".

Mozart on a hose pipe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5OqjubfiI

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There are professional and amateur musicians who play music in church a few times a year. The main difference is that people like myself don't perform as a full-time career. Some amateur musicians are advanced enough to perform P/T and enter music competitions. Even music students can be considered amateur musicians. Some of us uploaded videos & soundtracks online to reach out to an audience.

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I've been referred to as a 'piano player', but not as a musician.
But by dictionary definition, I suppose I am both.

Just like a little-leaguer can be a 'ball player', he (or she) is still not on par with an LA Dodgers ball player. The term by itself really doesn't allow for variation in skill.


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A musician is someone who plays music. Seems pretty straightforward to me. We are all musicians here.

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The Oxford English Dictionary, Vol X, Pg 129 defines musician as: 1. One skilled in the science or practice of music. 2. A professional performer of music, esp. of instrumental music.

For those of us that don't fit into either category, musicaster or "A musician of mediocre capacity" might apply.

Musicaster is a rarely used word. An example from 1838 is cited by the Oxford dictionary.

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Originally Posted by Stubbie
My first reaction is to say a musician is someone who makes a meaningful portion of their livelihood from making music.

Then there's the large cohort that preface the term 'musician' with amateur. Are amateur musicians still musicians? Yes, but of a different sort. I get a totally different picture when someone says they're (for example) a meteorologist, versus when someone says they're an amateur meteorologist.

I guess that makes me a "storm chaser" of a musician.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
A musician is someone who plays music. Seems pretty straightforward to me. We are all musicians here.

Sam
Agree!

I think that question can be just as open to interpretation as someone asking what's good music. I'm not any good but I still practice a ton, and do a lot with music. I'd consider myself a musician, any good? not really, but still putting a lot of energy, time, and passion into whether it's piano practice, lyrics, or listening to others.

Last edited by Sebs; 11/18/20 09:12 PM.
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According to the Cambridge dictionaire:
"someone who is skilled in playing music, usually as a job."

Oxford:
"a person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented."

Merriam Webster:
"a composer, conductor, or performer of music."

Wikipedia:
"A musician is a person who plays a musical instrument or is musically talented."

So we can agree on "makes music", some definitions require skill or talent, some don't. Doing it as a profession is totally optional though.

Edit: Oh wow I just checked, because I felt the German definition for "Musiker" is different. And I'm right, in German "Musiker" is the name for a profession, not just making music. Funny, that's quite the false friend there.

Last edited by FloRi89; 11/19/20 04:12 AM.
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That’s settled then- can’t argue with Cambridge and Oxford definitions

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There is of course a formal definition which is how the word should be used in the language and that is driven by dictionaries.

I have a personal definition, which is different. For me a musician is someone that creates music, professionally or not, and has the skills and knowledge to do so. There are degrees of proficiency. Of course writing a little tune or putting together a sequence of a few chords is within the reach of many people, which would be a very basic level of musiscianship.

Most of us, on PW, in particular in classical world, are pianists, ie people who play the piano. But to me the ability to push piano keys, however skillfully and with artistic content, based on somebody else written music does not make someone a musician, but a more or less talented executant.

I understand it is a restrictive definition.

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For some reason, in my mind the word "musician" immediately conjures up an image of someone skilled in making music together with others.

I've never thought of myself as a musician of any sort, but I do think of myself as an amateur pianist. ("Amateur" originally meaning someone who loves what they are doing).


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There are professionals who make a living by performing and the amateurs who can play at a high level, even enter a few competitions and play in concerts but are not F/T musicians.

And then there are a lot of people like myself who are between intermediate and advanced, perform regularly in churches and small venues or people who share their music on social media. There are many recordings of student performances made at home, in a studio or at a recital. We are not talking about beginners who can play a few easy songs. Do we consider students who can play up to a certain level musicians?

---

For the sake of the discussion, a few years ago someone posted a video of a 3-year old violinist in Korea playing Suzuki "Twinkle Variations" in her first recital. Like many beginner violin students the bow moved in a mechanical way. The video may have been uploaded by the parents or a teacher of a Suzuki school. Within a year, the video went viral & generated over 1M views. Viewers & comments kept coming in. Everybody who saw the 3 min video had something to say (positive & negative).

The young lady had only been playing for a year at most. She did not have a large repertoire under her belt. Someone who can play the Suzuki version of "Twinkle" isn't exactly a prodigy. Nonetheless, she attracted a large audience online. Do we consider her a musician?

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