When Did You Know You Were a Musician?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by LivingMyDream, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    It's one think to play an instrument(s), it's another to think like a musician. I have played a few different instruments in my life, but never really felt like a musician. I was always drawn toward the sciences, with a more logical mind.

    In my mid 40, I started to learn to play the guitar. The at 52, I started to play the drums, too. I still didn't feel much like a musician, but I was knew that I was engaging my creative, and that could only be good for me.

    To fast forward to why I started this thread, I had a unique (for me) experience this morning. I am spending a few days visiting my son in Denver, and I am staying in his apartment. In my room is a fan. This morning I awoke to hearing something in the room. I could barely make it out at first, but the more I listened, the more I realized it was a song with rhythm and melody. I thought it might be coming from another tenant, but then I realized that I was hearing music in the fan.

    I didn't think much about it through the day (this was ziplining day, and dinner at my son's fire station), but as I got ready for bed and heard the fan again, I remembered hearing the music. That's when it dawned on me that all this time that I have been playing music, my creative side has been natured, and for the first time I heard music in something other than the instrument was I was playing. I feel like an inner musician is awakening.

    I just had to say something, and then find out about when you realized you had an inner musician.
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  2. Roy Clark

    Roy Clark Synchromatic

    Jun 16, 2017
    Bat cave.
    Wait I'm a musician? :eek:
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  3. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    In a sense forever. In another sense when people started praising my playing. In another sense again, I’ll let you know hen I get there.
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  4. S Macp

    S Macp Country Gent

    Sep 6, 2009
    Glasgow, UK
    I, too, have an inner musician, but my outer hack has been breaking his spirit for years now, and I don't think he's ever coming out.
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  5. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    I tend to think like @dlew919 above ^
  6. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    On a good day, when a melody floats in my head and I can transer it to a guitar, I feel like a musician. On a bad day, when I don't even like my random noodling, I feel like I'll never get there.
    When I was 16, I thought I was a musician. At about 19 I realized how much I didin't know. Now at 49 I think I'm not too bad at what I'm doing; my bandmates accept me as the bandleader and composer. So when I wrote the first two tunes for the band at 46 I started feeling like a musician, more than 30 years after I picked up the guitar.
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  7. blueruins

    blueruins Country Gent

    May 28, 2013
    Savannah, GA
    I think that is a very cool story and epiphany @LivingMyDream

    I think I felt like a musician the moment I heard Randy Rhoads play guitar…I instantly felt a connection that I will never understand or be able to put into words. That moment changed my DNA.

    I felt like a musician until a moment that is also beyond words. After the band I spent my twenties in broke up and my publishing contract ended I had a crisis of confidence from which I’ve never recovered.

    Now I play worship for my church and I’m a fairly competent player. I can read a chart and transcribe passages pretty well.

    If I’m being honest with myself I often feel like I’m searching to make that connection between heart and music that I felt so strongly in my youth.

    Music has moved into my head and I feel like I’m always striving and never reaching.

    I feel like I’m a good player but not really a musician.
  8. PBO Blues

    PBO Blues Electromatic

    Aug 28, 2016
    Chatham County, NC
    Perfectly put. Describes my state to a T. :(
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  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I’ve never considered myself a musician. Not even in a fleeting fantasy. I want to play guitar, not be a “guitar player”. Sounds odd, it probably is.
  10. This is a trick question. I feel like the FBI or CIA are listening in, and when i say I’m a Musician, they tag me with some sort of chip, then keep there eye on me.

    The thread makes me think of the line in the Blues Brothers movie when Elwood tells Aretha, “No Ma’am, we are musicians”, and she has that look in her eye.
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  11. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Interesting question. Ever since I picked up a guitar at about 13 years of age, skill set and ability aside, I’ve felt like a “guitar player”. From day one a guitar in my hands felt natural.
    I believe the first time I really felt like a “Musician” was many many years later when I played at an old Blues Club where a number of my influences had performed and had to grab dinner, before our Show, at the Bus Station across the street from the Club. I honestly don’t know if it was the Club or the Bus Station that made me come to that realization LOL
    “Artist” would be a whole other issue IMHO.
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  12. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Had to be back in my teenage years (junior high) - the first time whatever garage band I was in at the time played in front of an audience. It was an after-school sock-hop type of thing in the school cafeteria, although being the 60's, nobody called them sock-hops anymore. We were one of three groups - everybody shared amps, PA gear (our one mic!) and drums. We did maybe a 20 minute set - House of the Rising Sun, Gloria, Wild Thing, etc. - basic three chord Rock 101 things. I'm quite sure we were terrible, but it didn't matter.

    The performance aspect of it, that I was there "on stage" and these people were paying attention (sort of) to our playing. Pretty cool. That was probably the first time I ever felt like a musician.

    I still like that feeling, although it's been years since I've been on a stage.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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  13. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I believe you are a musician when you can actually play music and communicate with the band through your playing. Playing a guitar does not make you a musician, playing songs with your band does not make you a musician. When you can play and understand where each instrument sits in the song and the music syncopated where each member is playing off of each other. It’s a form of communication without words. Especially if the music you play has any improvisation to it. Does the band follow your solo like they are riding the wave you are creating and following your energy? Can you get your audience to hang on every note or fall into rhythm with your playing or are they drinking and talking? Can you make them feel something with your playing? That’s what makes you a musician. Years ago when I owned a property management company I remember a tenant, a young kid telling me his wife was a talented musician, should could play 8 instruments. He went to work while she stayed home smoking pot all day. And just because she could make noise on 8 instruments doesn’t make her a musician, just a stoner that hasn’t grown up yet. When are you a musician? When you can get up and do all this every time even if you don’t feel up to it. Or when you are sick and you realize for the first time what it means when they say the show must go on. There are no sick days for working musicians just work days.
    My old drum teacher used to say there are two types of musicians professionals and really good amateurs.
  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    For me, the question is answered best my saying that I always saw myself as a musician. From my earliest years, I wanted to play music and believed that I could play music. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it, so when I came to roadblocks along the way, I just kept trying. If there was an epiphany, it was perhaps in my 30s, when I realized that not everyone had songs running through their minds night and day and that not everyone wanted to play music.
  15. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    I was a musical rug rat. Always singing or toying with grandma`s piano or my godfather`s guitar. There was always music around me and my parents supported my talent very early.
    Until my 20th birthday I really thought that there will be no other option to earn my money outside of music.
    In fact I never took my professional education as a banker serious because it was totally clear for me that I will work in the music business.
  16. larryr

    larryr Synchromatic

    Mar 6, 2012
    Camarillo, Ca.
    What a great tale of awakening. My path as musician has been a series of moments of realizations along the way. I believe self doubt plagues most creatives that I know and certainly the imposter syndrome sets on from time to time. I had a music teacher in 2nd grade, much like Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash. I was terrified of him and was studying trumpet for years . Decades later I found out he was let go for verbally abusing sudents. In 1969, sitting in class all day, drawing pictures of guitars is when I began my transition from trumpet to guitar. It was a matter of time. Been on this journey since. I know for myself that everytime I said I was not and tried to quit being a musician , eventually I came right back to it as if I had but no choice but to embrace the music and stop judging it. People still pay me for it so I need to let others decide and just keep doing what I do because some inner voice compels me to. Anyway, heres a little video that can help sniff out a musician in the room.

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  17. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Synchromatic

    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    Like @LivingMyDream described, I have heard music everywhere, and for as long as I can remember. In High School and college, people thought I was a pretty talented multi-instrumentalist, though having been self-taught I knew I would always need a day job. After life got in the way of playing anything but the radio for about 30 years I joined our local community college band as therapy for my brain post-prostate cancer (I'm in remission and all clear now). Since then I've ended up playing/learning more than ever in terms of "real" musicianship, and started guitar about a year ago. No one would mistake me for a pro, or even semi-pro musician but I contribute what I can to the 3 groups I play (horns) in, and they haven't kicked me out yet.
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  18. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Nick, I think what you're describing are the attributes of being a GOOD musician. You have to allow for all us bad ones, too! LoL!

    And speaking of your teacher, another old favorite bit of musical wisdom I picked up somewhere that stuck with me: "Amateurs practice until they get it right, Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong." I think there's some real truth to that.

    Carry on ...
  19. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
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  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I really agree. Getting your music across is another matter, apart from simply being able to play the right notes.

    One thing I have stood in opposition to, is the idea that music and drugs go hand in hand. Drugs don’t make anyone a better player and they don’t serve as a gateway to creativity. Sitting around stoned all day and jamming is not the same thing as woodshedding a song to perfection.

    Music may be as natural to me as breathing, but that does not mean that I didn’t have to work at it. Playing effectively requires learning the techniques (scales, arpeggios, etc.) to the point that they are are natural and don’t require conscious thought. The work pays off for many years, but one has to do the work.
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