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Red Headed Stepchild PT. 2


whitefang

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I also belong to a forum that discusses old movies. "Classic" movies, we like to call them. In many of those old movies of the '30's and '40's, musicians never seem to be taken that seriously. Sometimes with disdain. A woman might beckon the heavens, "My daughter! She wants to marry a MUSICIAN!" Raise her arms to the sky, then collapse, weeping, as if that was the worst thing the girl could do. Save for some flicks where the musician is a good buddy( Hoagy Charmichael did some of those), or the movie is a sort of profile of a popular bandleader( Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller) or if the bandleader is the STAR (Kay Kyser did a few movies) the musician is treated like so much cattle, and music is, with the exception of those films where the main character is a singer or musician, given sencond class treatment. Playing somewhere in the background, as wallpaper decorating the scene.

 

Yet the musical SCORE is important in movie making. Music was used in conjunction with the showing of silent movies, and continued into "talkies" with music being used to set the mood, and influence the audience's emotions during vital scenes. Even today, many entertainment and other industries rely on music to a degree. And society in general. We all remember certain catchy advertisement "jingles", don't we?

 

A MUSICIAN wrote those.

 

Did you grow up watching a favorite show on television? Probably had an opening theme song, didn't it? Mention some TV show, and someone will hear the theme song in their head. If I post a few shows, you might easily recall the theme music or song that introduced it. "Mission Impossible", "I Love Lucy", "Gilligan's Island", "The Addam's Family"(click, click!)

 

A musician wrote THOSE too!

 

In fact, music plays a vital role in people's lives, that it still gets overlooked somehow. Generations of kids needed music to do their homework to. Many a boy and girl's first dates were the school dance, where nobody danced to POETRY recital. They danced to music. Many guys on this forum are probably fathers, and I'm willing to bet when those kids were just babies, you SANG them to sleep, not TALKED them to sleep. Unless you're day job is an insurance salesman, then you likely talk EVERYONE to sleep!

 

But unless you become a big "star" in the industry, as a session musician, you probably get paid peanuts for your expertise. Not being a pro musician, I couldn't say what the pay is, but I'm willing to bet that a GM employee, even today, makes more. And the tools of your trade cost more than work boots or coveralls. Yeah, you can write them off, but how much restitution does that actually equal?

 

Yeah, there ARE other professions that get the same treatment, but this isn't a "school teachers" forum, or a "clergyman" forum.

 

Of course, if you love what you do, you don't complain, and consider money to be secondary to integrity. But wouldn't it be better if you could live better on what musicians make? Or at least enjoy a somewhat better STATUS as a musician?

 

I think it's way overdue for musicians to GET their due!

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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My mom was a music teacher in a ghetto school, so you know she got a double whammy on the salary and respect thing.

 

I do know a few guys who are pros who are making quite a good living in their chosen field- high 5 to low 6 figure annual incomes- and at least 2 of them are well respected.

 

But they're extremely good at what they do, and the exception, rather than the rule.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Ya, I sat in with a pro bass guy one night and he is on FB-he plays with orchestras and just did a live show where he was also music director. But that is certainly the exception, and he also posts about being up late learning set lists.

No one has to tell me about double whammys. I`ve managed to end up as a musician-to the extent I dare call myself that-AND a school teacher.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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It's hard to be a gigging musician and not neglect your family. I think Moms back in those days wanted their daughters to marry a steady paycheck...they probably still do. I'm glad my son-n-law plays guitar and has a great job! :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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But...don't any of you, as both musicians and music lovers too, find it hard to understand people who don't seem to give music a second thought?

 

Like back in the day, there were guys I knew who claimed not to hear the difference between a $200 Capeheart stereo set bought in a furniture store and a $2500 Bang & Olufsen sound system. Or the dudes who couldn't seem to hear the distortion when they cranked their tabletop radios to the max.

 

Guys my age or around it in here probably had milk crates, wooden fruit crates and makeshift plank and cinder block shelves overflowing with LPs. Spent as much money on "Disc Washer" devices as we did on records, on top of strings and cords. Still, there were those dudes who maybe only owned two or three albums that they rarely listened to. I could never understand those guys.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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there were those dudes who maybe only owned two or three albums that they rarely listened to. I could never understand those guys.

 

Heck, I was in some homes where there was no stereo at all. When you ask about it they say "We don't really need one. We never really listen to music". With music being a big part of who I am, to this day I cannot begin to understand that. How can you go through life without listening to music?

 

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I have no stereo hooked up anymore (but I can break it out if need be). For decades I had a stereo in the family room with records, tapes, CD's, speakers etc. Now, I buy DVD's and watch the artists play while listening to them via my TV sound system. I like to play my guitar and sing and make my own music. I go on youtube a lot for research and listen to various artists. I also listen to classic R&R while driving around town. There is so much stuff out there in the name of music, that just doesn't interest me...

 

Ps. I forgot to mention and left out the live shows that I really enjoy where I catch some of the greats. I also enjoy open mikes and listening to local talent to include joining in once a month or so...

Take care, Larryz
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I think in most arts related careers there is a huge disparity between the top tier of income and the next.

 

Been that way for musicians for centuries. Hadyn got room and board at a palace and a pretty fat salary as a court musician, while wandering minstrels were lucky to get a meal and a few coins at any given town in which they happened to stop. Or they got pelted with vegetables and run out of the place...

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But...don't any of you, as both musicians and music lovers too, find it hard to understand people who don't seem to give music a second thought?

 

They take it for granted in no small part because they don't understand how difficult it is. They don't know the time commitment it takes to become proficient enough in music to become a performer.

 

(Hell- sometimes, musicians display that trait to musicians who play different instruments than their own...)

 

Sergio Aragones- the comic strip artist made famous in MAD magazine- was once asked at a convention why he charged $50 for an autogrsphed sketch that took him minutes to create. He replied that it wasn't the sketch that cost $50, you were paying for all the lessons and practice it took that enabled him to create such a sketch- without error- in mere minutes.

Like back in the day, there were guys I knew who claimed not to hear the difference between a $200 Capeheart stereo set bought in a furniture store and a $2500 Bang & Olufsen sound system. Or the dudes who couldn't seem to hear the distortion when they cranked their tabletop radios to the max.

THAT is easier to explain: at least part of that is biological.

 

There is a condition called amusia which is the auditory equivalent to being color blind. Someone who has it may enjoy music- like my Dad- but won't place the same kind of emphasis on it as someone who is musically inclined.

 

You see the same disparity with our other senses as well. Cooking is another one of my major hobbies. I can often analyze a dish's flavor and break it down into its component ingredients simoly by tasting. People who can do that kind of thing are going to have a vastly different experience with commercial food than the general public.

 

And we've all seen someone wearing an outfit consistkng of a stripe, a polka dot, a herringbone, a houndstooth, a paisley and a solid of 7 different colors. With a white belt.

 

At a formal occasion.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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That white belt has to be patent leather. To match the SHOES!

 

My wardrobe aside, I don't think some of what you say covers it all. For instance, back in those stereo days, many of the guys I knew with outstanding sound systems couldn't play a note on a kazoo, yet loved music so much, the reproduction of it was very important to them. And there are those who can judge fine cuisine yet couldn't boil water for tea. Must be the exception.

 

But I DO believe my once having been a member of a few basement bands in my time helped me more appreciate classical music. Writing a few songs of my own also helped me appreciate what those composers accomplished. In the bands I was in, it was often difficult to keep four or five guys in sync for one three minute song, and orchestras manage to keep anywhere from 60 to 100 musicians in line for up to two hours! Of course, that's mostly the conductor's job, but well trained musicians are easier to keep in sync than a stagefull of amateurs.

 

But it still bugs me that Taylor Swift has probably already made more money at her still young age than Rudolf Serkin made in his entire life.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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But think about it- Swift's music is made for mass consumption. No knock on it, but its the musical equivalent of McDonalds. Tasty, perhaps, and enjoyable, but you won't be rhapsodizing about it to your friends. And even though its made for mass consumption, it won't appeal to everyone, which is why Justin Bieber has a career.

 

OTOH, Serkin's work is going to require more work from the listener. It's like a fine dining experience. It isn't meant to be consumed in minutes, then forgotten. It's meant to be savored. And that takes time and effort.

 

And I guarantee you that there are fine dining establishments that are over a century old that have yet to make the kind of money a single 10 year old franchise location of McDonalds has made.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Some-I would argue most, if you`re talking about the mainstream.

I mentioned before, that a bass player I sat in with one evening is doing pretty big things these days, he has a demo video for a Yamaha bass that is popular, is doing tribute concerts with big orchestras and he also does photography-some of his photos have been picked up by Getty images.

One thing he has mentioned, is that for most rock and pop, age is pretty much the kiss of death if you happen to have too much of it. It`s better to introduce yourself by how well you play rather than how much experience you have. The employers read `I went to ___ school of music, toured in bands from ___ until ___, recorded with ___, ___ and ___-they read all that and they see one word-

 

OLD.

 

Some guys I know were/are in a band, based in N.Y. but they moved to L.A.to be closer to the `scene`. They had a cute lead singer, who was married to the guitarist. They recorded with The Hudson Valley Philharmonic for a Christmas CD, played CBGB`s and some other great venues, did a memorable remake of `Kyle`s Mom` from South Park-but the `big break`-at least so far-hasn`t happened. Now they are all looking down the barrel at 40 and wondering what to do.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Danny, as far as today goes your reply makes perfect sense. But when you stop to think about it, the music Serkin played was intended for mass consumption, too. From Bach to Brahms and even beyond, these men composed music in hopes it would find acceptance to a wide range of "the people". Somewhere along the way it sort of became elitist. When I started going to DSO concerts, many of my friends thought I was trying to "put on airs" by hobknobbing with the rich folks. Some thought it was some sort of psuedo-intellectual pursuit, and still others worried that I might be gay. Indeed, I can recall many a movie where the gay guy had classical music playing in the background in his home or apartment during the scene. Back in my old "doping" days, a few of my buddies thought I gave up THAT because I was listening to a record of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto!

 

You claim that listening to Serkin takes more "work" on the listener's part. But it doesn't, really. It's rather easy to recognize Serkin's vituosity with just a cursory listen.

 

But it's the MUSIC Serkin plays that many people have come to believe requires work to listen to. Now, that may be true of Stravinsky or Bartok, but not Mozart and Brahms. I believe it is the mistaken public perception that too many people have of certain kinds of music; Classical or jazz, if you recall one of my earlier threads, that turn most listeners away.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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From Bach to Brahms and even beyond, these men composed music in hopes it would find acceptance to a wide range of "the people". Somewhere along the way it sort of became elitist.

 

Therein lies part of the problem. Once one group starts claiming exclusivity over an art form- be it based in status, race, or what have you- it puts up barriers. One of the reasons I love Perry Farell is that his idea for the Lollapalooza concerts included music from many popular genres...which let people realize they had more in common with each other than differences.

 

You claim that listening to Serkin takes more "work" on the listener's part. But it doesn't, really. It's rather easy to recognize Serkin's vituosity with just a cursory listen.

 

I think it does. Most people who listen to popular music today can identify with a 2-7 piece band playing 4/4 or 3/4, blues progressions, etc., packaged into 2-10 minute bursts called "songs" on an almost instinctual level.

 

Give them a 20+ minute piece with time signature changes, an odd meter, or no amplified instruments and people get lost. I see it every week, almost. What was once common has become alien.

 

I love Kronos Quartet and the stuff they did with the compositions of Astor Piazolla, but I wouldn't dream of playing any of it for most of the people I hang with. I'd have to listen to the nagging of some- over the music, no less- and witness the bewilderment & boredom of others.

 

I can't tell you how many times those around me have repeatedly pushed the "skip" button on the CD changer in my house, or switched to the classic rock station in my car when something "classical" or "jazzy" popped up in the rotation.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I love Kronos Quartet and the stuff they did with the compositions of Astor Piazolla,

 

And we appreciate the support.

Interestingly, the mix & edit I'm working on today for the upcoming Kronos CD on Nonesuch is very techno EDM. With distortion, phasing & chorus all over the violins & octave divider on the cello. Always something new.

Scott Fraser
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I don't know if it's all still the same guys, but 20 years ago or so I heard a recording of Kronos doing their take on "Purple Haze" and had much respect in them since.

Whitefang

 

The cello position has changed several times since then, otherwise the same. I've been doing the sound design with them for 22 years.

Scott Fraser
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I can't tell you how many times those around me have repeatedly pushed the "skip" button on the CD changer in my house, or switched to the classic rock station in my car when something "classical" or "jazzy" popped up in the rotation.

 

It's nice to have such friends that feel at home enough to control your music for you in your home and in your car...

 

I just wouldn't do this while at a friends house or while riding in their car. I'm open to listening to just about anything for an hour or so (i.e. Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock, Classical, Country, Country Rock, Metal, Rockabilly, Blue Grass, whatever)...

Take care, Larryz
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My skin is pretty thick.

 

I listen to so much different music and I'm aware that it isn't for everyone. Hell- it's not like I don't love classic rock!

 

There are occasions when I do put my foot down and switch back, but it's a rare thing. I'd rather keep the peace than needle my associates.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I can't tell you how many times those around me have repeatedly pushed the "skip" button on the CD changer in my house, or switched to the classic rock station in my car when something "classical" or "jazzy" popped up in the rotation.

 

It's nice to have such friends that feel at home enough to control your music for you in your home and in your car...

 

I just wouldn't do this while at a friends house or while riding in their car. I'm open to listening to just about anything for an hour or so (i.e. Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock, Classical, Country, Country Rock, Metal, Rockabilly, Blue Grass, whatever)...

 

I've run across the problem of some people, without asking, changing the music on my player, yet the same people having a shit fit when I do likewise at THEIR house! Something wrong about that.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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