Music is not Work

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Patric_Bernard, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 8, 2004
    As an educator I also dislike the term "play" when talking about music. We play at recess, we work at music.

    Every time a gig is done for free or little pay another professional is being shorted. As professionals we all deserve compensation.

    I understand what you are trying to say, that musicians have a great situation where they can make a living doing something they love. My father was a police man, he was honored to protect and serve and retired a well respected member of the community. He was praised on one day and spit on by a drunk the next. He had a long career of 25 years, but I dont think the mortgage company ever said "since you do what you love, forget about this months payment. Its on us"

    I often advise young people to try and do for a career what you would do for free. But the reality is living costs money, and the music business should be no less honorable or viable than any other career. My 2 cents, i gotta go grocery shopping :-)
  2. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Getting paid to play is no different than a scientist being paid for their job. Both work hard at it and should be paid. Both wouldn't have taken the job unless they liked it. It takes a lot of prep time to be able to do the job.

    I would love to know how the whole idea of a musicians pay scale got set up. I don't think I have ever met an accomplished musician that wasn't really smart. The idea of a union pay scale seems below the caliber of the job. The union idea is the same thing as a factory worker on an assembly line.

    I am a true believer in "what the market will bear"
    If management is making so much money, why don't some musicians get together and manage a whatever and be rich?

    I think it's simple. A job is offered and if it pays enough, you take it, if not you don't. If only the musicians take the job that play for free or a little, the people hiring them don't get a good job. They get a cheep job.
  3. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Exactly. If you have a job playing your instrument, yeah that's great. You're doing something you love, but you better get paid doing it too or you're gonna have to find something else to do. It's a nice happy, idealistic concept to say that we all play for fun because we love the music and playing generally, but just like any job there are times that you would enjoy it and times you wouldn't. And just like any professional job out there, on those bad days, you better not let your clients (audience) know that you're not enjoying what you're doing!
  4. Hags888

    Hags888 Pianissimo User

    Aug 31, 2006
    Corpus Christi, TX
    As a professional musician, I agree with Wilmer. Making music is work. If you're a professional, then you perform that work at a much higher level than an amateur. Loving the work has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's defined as work or not. Musicians provide a service, and those that perform at a high enough level are free to charge more for their services. It's like any labor trade (in fact, that's what we are...a trade...if you've never looked it up, that's how we're classified on our taxes). I love making music, but that doesn't mean that every job I perform is one I love. I've played many gigs where I did not like the music. But it's a job, it's work, and I when I make music, I expect to be compensated for it. B15M made some good points also about what the market will bear.

    It boils down to this. If someone wants to put on a musical performance, they need to find musicians. The very best musicians know that they are the best, and therefore their art is made at a premium. The person doing the hiring has a budget and therefore can afford to spend X amount and get X quality of music. If you don't' have any money to spend, then you're not going to get a very high quality product.

    I've turned down plenty of gigs that don't pay enough. It's not because I'm arrogant or stuck-up, or unwilling to play for free, but it's because I know what the market is, and I know where my place is in the market.

    The funny thing about making music is, that anybody can do it. But it's the quality of music making that matters. Musical Hobbyists see music making as something fun to do, and for them it's an escape from their everyday world (heck, even their "job"). But, for professional musicians, we approach making music totally differently. The main distinction between a musical hobbyist and a music professional is simply the quality of music making. And this is more often than not, directly related to how much time, energy and resources a person has spent on perfecting their craft.

    Look, Patric, you can think that music isn't a job...but making music is just like any other trade. Do you think hobbyist wood workers look down upon the master wood workers and tell them that what they do isn't a "real job" because they should be doing wood working, "because they love it"? What about someone who fixes cars on the weekends for fun, do they go up to a car mechanic and tell them that what they do isn't a "real job"? Nobody does those things, because it's understood that the master tradesmen are "professionals" who do their work at a much higher level than amateur hobbyists. The same is true in music.
  5. siarr

    siarr Pianissimo User

    May 18, 2007
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    From a Zen perspective there is intrinsically no difference between work and any other activity. Work is a term we use to describe any task to be accomplished. Work as a definition is neither good nor bad; it's a neutral concept. You can love your work or hate it, but that's your concious decision - it doesn't affect the basic nature of the work. Whether you do something for a living or as a volunteer, a gig is a gig, work is work. Not bad or good, just work. If you hated playing music, would that justify calling it work? If an assembly-line worker enjoys his/her job, does that mean it's not work? I think we're getting too attached to the idea that work has to be bad or tedious in order to qualify as work. And, of course, on the financial level, anything you do for money, pleasant or odious, is considered work. Just ask the IRS!

  6. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    I'm with Wilmer. If you "play" for nothing you'll spend your practice time saying: "would you like fries with that?"
  7. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

    Dec 21, 2006
    New Jersey
    I agree with Wilmer and the others who say musicians must be compensated fairly for the service they perform.
    I also think I know what Patric was eluding to. That if you do something you love, something you would do anyway regardless of the circumstance, your life will be far more enjoyable than if you wake up each morning and say "man, I have to go and do..( ) again today how will I ever get through the week.
    Having an occupation that fulfills your spirit in some way can be a form of compensation in itself.
  8. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

    Nov 12, 2003
    Mr. Wise says it all! I was going to respond, but I would just be repeating what he said.
    Roy Griffin
  9. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

    Oct 25, 2007
    So you guys are telling me that if you didn't get paid you wouldn't play at all? If I had a chance to play a gig with people there who wanted to see me, and I wasn't being paid... I'd give them a damn good show. Who cares if you not getting paid one gig here, or one gig there. Music is for the joy in playing. People who play music for the sole purpose of making money are sell outs.
  10. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Its the two sides:
    1.) music as a business
    2.) music as something we enjoy doing

    We all do both (well, hopefully everyone does the second) but the first allows to continue with the second. We need both parts and its definitely work, even practicing.
    I was talking to some teachers and upon calculating their pay on a per hour basis, a grocery bagger is paid more than they are. That said, there is still nothing they'd probably rather be doing.
    Enjoy playing music, but its still a job. And work.

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