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amateurs, take heart

GUEST,leeneia 19 Jan 16 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Jan 16 - 10:25 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 16 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 19 Jan 16 - 11:54 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Ray 19 Jan 16 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Jan 16 - 02:00 PM
Will Fly 19 Jan 16 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 19 Jan 16 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jan 16 - 10:04 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 16 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jan 16 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Ray 20 Jan 16 - 10:23 AM
GUEST 20 Jan 16 - 10:43 AM
olddude 20 Jan 16 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 20 Jan 16 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jan 16 - 09:49 PM
gillymor 21 Jan 16 - 04:31 AM
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Subject: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:01 AM

My husband brought home a library book written by Bill Heavey, a fisherman, hunter and editor of Field and Stream magazine. In his intro, he had this to say, and I thought it applies to music as well as to sports.

"...the public has been hoodwinked into believing that being good at what you like to do is of great consequence. It's not. Enthusiasm is a lot more important than skill. On numerous occasions, for example, I have traveled thousands of miles to catch certain types of fish, failed utterly, and had a hell of a good time doing so. A competent person who did likewise -- even the competent get skunked occasionally -- would have been miserable.

I'm able to fail and have a good time simultaneously because I am, by nature and by preference, an amateur rather than a professional."

It seems to me that here at the Mudcat we have too much discussing of music and not enough playing. Are people discouraged because they don't sound like the top ten? If so, don't be. Music belongs to all mankind, so pick up your ax and play.

Me, I am never gonna master barre chords, and C still eludes me. But yesterday I put my piano book on the dining-room table, tuned my guitar and played along with the classical music running through my head.
==========
The name of the book is 'You're not lost if you can still see the truck.' I recommend it.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:25 AM

.. except... I've known many amateurs who are far superior in terms of skill, knowledge, and experience than pro counterparts.

Definitely in photography, where pursuit of excellence is a great satisfaction in itself
when unhindered by commercial considerations, pressures, and constraints.

The same also applies to a vast number of amateur musicians....

The key is to have fun no matter how crap you are at your chosen hobby...

Though, it is perhaps more important to be aware of how crap you are
if you aspire to inflict your crapness in public on discerning audiences... ???


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:49 AM

It seems to me that here at the Mudcat we have too much discussing of music and not enough playing.

How would we all know? I enjoy a good and reasoned discussion (and a little fun from time to time) on Mudcat. I'm also an active participant on a watch forum - and a moderator on a watch repair forum - but it doesn't stop me from practising every day and doing a fair amount of recording and playing two or three evenings a week, often for cash). That might apply to several 'Catters - or not, as the case may be.

I've always been a little sceptical of the terms "amateur" and professional" in some respects. For many years it used to be applied to people such as musicians who either played purely for fun (amateur) or for money (professional), but these days I prefer to think of it as an attitude rather than a question of income. It's possible, for example, to make no money from music - and not want to make any - but still be professional in one's attitude towards performing, i.e. practising hard, perfecting technique as much as possible, trying to be as competent as possible, etc.

So I would consider working hard, and doing one's best to be as good as one can, to be one measure of professionalism, even as an "amateur". As PFR says above, pursuit of excellence is a great satisfaction - and I would call such a pursuit very professional.

And, of course, we can all "fail", however you define that term, and still have a good time.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 11:54 AM

Of course , if you are enthusiastic, hopefully you will practise and improve.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 01:11 PM

Enthusiasm is essential.I am still enthusiastic after more than 50 years.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 01:29 PM

In terms of musicians, amateurs play what they want to play and professionals play what they think other people want them to play.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 02:00 PM

Leeneia is bringing into spotlight that interesting problematic qualitatitve divide between 'amateur' and 'amateurish'.....


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 06:36 PM

Ray: That may well be true in some cases. Among the musicians I know and play with, the most important purpose of playing in front of people is to have fun - and people book us only because they want to hear what we play. but that's just my circle of friends.

PFR: Good distinction - and one that's been discussed a few times on this forum!


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 07:01 PM

My mum used to say "If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well." I've taken that further and would add "If a thing's REALLY worth doing, it's worth doing badly". I think I intended that to mean "enthusiastically without worrying too much", but now I'm not sure ...


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:04 PM

It's so easy to get hypnotized by the computer screen while the instruments sit neglected. And if the posts make you think, "I'll never be an expert like all these other people posting," that's even more discouraging.

It's even all right to be amateurish!


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:15 PM

But of course it is anathema to say "Good enough for folk", isn't it?


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 10:18 AM

Depends who the folk are, Richard.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 10:23 AM

Will - I was thinking of the literal definition of "professional" meaning "someone who makes a living out of it" and "having fun" doesn't necessarily pay the bills.

Personally, I have engaged in "professional" activities which have made me far more wealthy than if I stuck to being a musician and I know many people who play to a "professional" standard who have chosen to earn a living in another field.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 10:43 AM

Most of us actively enjoy sex to some extent, but not all of us are good enough at it to charge for our services...

... same goes for folk music.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: olddude
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 11:17 AM

Leenia, you fish... Ahh yes, I knew there was a reason I like you so much


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 04:48 PM

Ebor, I think the thing with....if a things worth doing, it's worth doing badly ....is true, since, unless you begin with a lot of talent , you will have to begin badly.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 09:49 PM

Awwww, old dude.

In my family, the saying was "If you're going to do it, do it right." I can see the point, but if perfectionism or shyness keep us from playing ANYTHING, then something's out of adjustment.
==============
On my piano I have a quotation from Robert Schumann:

"Endeavour to play easy pieces well and with elegance; that is better than to play difficult pieces badly."

When concert pianists play full, rich thundering pieces with many notes at once, I realize I could never do that. But then I read my Schumann quote and go back to playing.


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Subject: RE: amateurs, take heart
From: gillymor
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 04:31 AM

Bill Heavey is one of my favorite outdoors writers, up there with McGuane and Gierach and I recommend him even to folks that don't fish and hunt and I'm happy to be able include that paragraph in the OP in my quotations file as it truly resonates with me. As an amateur musician and fisherman I abide by only one rule, have fun.


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