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Professional, Semi-Pro, Hobbiest, or Amateur? Where do you fall on the drummer scale?


djarrett

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Seems that there is always confusion regarding where to rank oneself on the scale of drumming:

 

Here is my take on the scale:

 

1)Professional: You make you living full-time off of some facet of making music with your instrument or the knowledge of your instrument. You may or may not qualify for endorsements. You may or may not be established with any one performer, but you do derive 100% of your income from this profession.

 

2)Semi-Pro: You make 50% of you living off of some facet of making music with your instrument. You may work at some other day job to derive the other half of you income. Perhaps you play out with an artist 6 months out of the year and the other half, you teach lessons or work for a music store.

 

3) Hobbyist: You have a Full-time profession that provides you with a living. You play the local club scene on the weekends to make extra income or "fun" money. You do not rely on this income to survive. You love everything about drums and drumming and may be consumed with it, but it is still a *only* a serious hobby.

 

4) Amateur: (or Novice) You love drums and drumming. You may play every day. You may have played in High School and still own a set of drums. You may play out with a band from time to time, or just play around with a garage band for kicks. You really do not care if you make any money at it or not. You may even be a smokin' player, but you are also a Corporate CEO and thus, cannot afford to play for a living.

 

Perhaps you have a different opinion of my definitions ... if so ... what would that be.

 

Either way ... where do you fit on the drumming scale?

 

DJ

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DJ, all do respect, I am not crazy about the topic. I always roll my eyes at drummers who classify other drummers. If you are a successful working drummer, it not only means you have achieved a a level of ability, it also means you're a pretty good businessman. It does not make one opinion more authoritative over another. Not that that's what you were saying, but I sometimes wonder.

 

Just to beat an obvious point into the ground ... One of the best drummers I've ever personally witnessed currently works at a furniture store. He keeps his drums in storage on the rare occasion he plays. This is a guy who was playing LA studio gigs at 19, had been on tour with major acts, and probably would've become one of those drummers everyone reveres. Instead, he met a girl, got married and had a kid. Changed his life. He decided he didn't want to lead the life of a musician -- he's a die-hard family man. Now he's a carpenter who specializes in custom furniture. I guess that makes him an amateur, but I'd still pay to hear his thoughts on drumming.

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I agree. The question is a bit offputting, partially because I don't like the boastful attitude in can engender (see post 2). I'd fall into the "Hobbyist" category according to these parameters. I get about 30 percent of my income from drumming, basically enough to pay the rent here in San Fran! But I'd hardly consider myself a hobbyist when I work my ass off playing the drums and doing the business end of it as well. The word makes my stomach turn, frankly. It sounds as if I'm sitting in my bedroom making model airplanes.

 

I'm currently in three regularly gigging and recording bands and I do additional sessions and sit-ins from time to time. The income varies, but I'd say I spend more time playing drums than working my day job, which thankfully, is freelance. In a lot of what I do, I'm working for no pay either through favors, or in the hopes of things leading to something better.

Just for the record.
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Kinda harsh fellas!

Sounds like some self esteem problems to me!LOL!!!

 

Right now I'm not ashamed to admit that according to the criteria of this thread I fall into the unemployed hobbyist catagory!Or is there a special catagory for former professionals who are on sabatical?

ian*

ian*
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I get put off as well, but in a different way. It's when people add titles to themselves without just cause or merit. I'll be honest, I thought Dan was putting me on when he said he was a professional and suggested that LA was THE place to relocate to. I just had a hard time believing a 19 year old is making his sole living from music. I'm not saying I don't believe him, I'm saying that I was hesitant at first.

 

I run into (and play with) people all the time who "claim" to be professional musicians, but their own personal definitions don't match the ones that DJ has laid out (which by the way are my definitions as well). People think that if you play well you are a "professional" ... and if you aren't a "professional" you must suck. This could not be more further from the truth. Ability or talent is NOT what the term "professional" applies to, although it certainly does imply that one has some ability and talent in this achievement ... or no one would pay them for their musical services.

 

The clarification is there merely to point out that this is what a particular person does for a living. Here on the Drum Forum, I would think a professional drummer's opinion might carry a little more weight on certain topics ... but not all. I know that the opinions from DJ many times weights heavier on me on a given topic. I know that he is a professional player with years of experience and is in the music business. I've emailed him from time to time to ask particular questions in which I wanted his opinion and insight because of his standing and experience. Many of you have many years of experience which I also glean from. I don't discard your opinions in the least, and in fact, find them very insightful and useful.

 

Those who are doing what I am or want to do generally means more to me. Their opinions come from their own experiences and they are living it. We all lean towards experienced players; 30 years of playing would carry more weight with me that 3 years or playing with national act versus a club band. Does that mean the guy working a "day job" doesn't have something to offer? Of course not! But on certain topics, his opinion may not be as applicable.

 

Remember the guy trying to tell the younger (beginner) drummer how to use a hair dryer for tuning his drum heads? LOL There was no way I was just going to sit by and let that stand when after years of my own personal experiences and study, I knew this was a BAD thing to do. On the other hand, a younger player may have a better perspective on a given topic because the "seasoned" player may not be as opened minded as they might think.

 

So to try and wrap up my thoughts here, I don't think we need to wear name tags that specify if we are professional, semi-professional, etc.; that's not why DJ posted the topic. Perhaps I am being presumptous, but I think DJ, like myself, and had some doubt to what others mean when they throw these terms out there. To me, this thread is there to educate and to find out where everyone stands on the definitions. No one should feel threatened by it. Just because you are a professional or not a professional ... who really cares! We all love drums and that's why we are here right? I have a degree in music, but that doesn't mean diddley to an artist that wants to use me in the studio. They judge for theirselves by listening to what I PLAY not what I SAY.

 

Just because your young, don't go around trying to prove something with "titles"; your experience, intellect, ability, etc., will speak for itself. You can be a professional and suck ... just look at me! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

Also, just because someone has a "title" ... don't get down on them. Those that brag the most and talk the loudest are usually the ones who ain't gettin' any!!! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Originally posted by Bartman:

Just because your young, don't go around trying to prove something with "titles"; your experience, intellect, ability, etc., will speak for itself. You can be a professional and suck ... just look at me! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

False humility is neither welcomed nor encouraged, Bart. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

I completely agree with letting words and actions speak without boasting. If you're on these boards long enough, it's not hard to tell who's making money at this and who's not. For example, Bart is making money. I, on other hand, have plenty of time to post on these boards, so I am obviously not a gainfully employed drummer. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/redface.gif

 

One thing made crystal clear to me before I turned 20 is that music is a business. Your reputation is everything, and it's not just about being a player. Sometimes, far from it. As a musician, you are a contractor who fulfills obligations, completes work to standards that are agreed upon, and does not make excuses for anything less. I know a lot of players -- not just drummers -- who don't *get* this, so their would-be virtuosity is wasted in an industry that has no time to tolerate immaturity. On the other hand, I know some guys that do two or three things well, that is their calling card, and they make lots of money because they are easy to get along with and act like a mature professional. It's never good to brag, because you are never so good that you can't be replaced, and that goes for everyone.

 

OK, now I'm rambling. Apologies.

 

Anyway, I suppose I'd be in the hobbyist category, and like sidereal, I burn at the imagery of some guy sitting in his room with model airplanes. I make less than 20 percent of my income from drumming, but those I do work with have always complimented me on my "professionalism." Yes, I have been away from working for awhile, but I've been drumming for about 25 years, and I've always taken it seriously. It means a little more to me than, say, someone who takes a pottery class on the weekends to get out of a rut.

 

All that said, I certainly give an extra measure of respect to posters like you, Bart, DJ and some of the others in areas where it is clear an everyday working professional's opinion is required. I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes. I understand if this is your livelihood, you will have a much broader cosmology than someone who does not. I hope I have made that clear in my posts.

 

I love you guys. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/tongue.gif

 

This message has been edited by Gaddabout on 09-07-2001 at 11:26 PM

 

This message has been edited by Gaddabout on 09-07-2001 at 11:27 PM

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Hmmm. I agree with some of the others who've said this whole thread makes them uncomfortable. I also agree with Bart that we don't really need to go around wearing titles, although I disagree with him on several other points.

 

Dendy's characterizations make me cringe for quite a few reasons, the least of which he mentions himself: people seem to have different definitions for all those terms anyway. In my experience, when someone who is not a musician asks me "Do you play professionally?" what they mean is, "Do you ever play for money?" In other words, "Do you play at anything beyond open mics and karaoke nights?" http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif Most people I talk to don't seem to think at all that "professional" means making all of your living from playing.

 

Then there is the inescapable fact that our society has a tendency to judge people's ability based on whether and how much they get paid for it. Whether any of us personally likes it or not, the terms "hobbyist" and "amateur" carry a certain negative connotation or presumption that you can't POSSIBLY be as good or work as hard as a "professional". Even DJ used a slightly derogatory phrase in his definition ("... it's still ONLY a serious hobby"). Bart backs this up by saying that he gives more weight to "professionals" in certain situations. I would agree that a "professional" by DJ's definition would know more about the actual music business and working conditions than a "hobbyist" or "amateur", but when it comes to plain old ability, playing technique, tuning technique and the like, I would NOT necessarily give any more weight to one person over another just because one makes his living from playing and the other doesn't. I say this because I know FAR too many musicians who would be classified as "hobbyists" or "amateur" on DJ's scale, whose abilities are as high or higher than the average "professional".

 

The literal definition of the word "amateur" is from a French word meaning "to love". It was originally coined to mean a person who pursues something for the love of it. Webster's dictionary still lists these as the top two definitions of the word:

 

1 : DEVOTEE, ADMIRER

2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession

 

However, then there's the third definition:

 

3 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science

 

... and unfortunately, because of the tendency in our society to define things in terms of money, that third definition is somewhere in the back of anyone's mind who uses the term "amateur", and "hobbyist" is not much better (I agree with sidereal about that word conjuring up images of model building or stamp collecting - and to many people who DO have such hobbies, the word means basically "dilettante" or "dabbler").

 

So I really tend to shy away from using ANY of those terms, because even if I myself don't carry any preconceived notions about them, you can bet the person I'm talking to probably does. So instead, if I want to refer to someone who makes their entire living from music, I just say, "He/she is a full time musician", but most of the time how much money they do or don't make doesn't enter into my description and I will probably just say "He/she is a musician" and leave it at that.

 

And yes it really does bug the crap out of me that people have such a narrow way of defining their fellow humans (and even themselves) as how they make their money.

 

--Lee

 

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 09-07-2001 at 11:54 PM

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Hey, I meant NO such demeaning consequences from my coments. I'll be the first one to tell you I'm the luckiest guy in the world to be where I am. I don't make a ton of cash at ALL. I make enough to get by. I just played everything I could practiced my *** off, and worked at it day ad night. I don't look down at people who are not professional or even have no desire to be. Its just what I LOVE to do, and I appriciate other peoples circumstances that may or may not allow them to play full time.

 

I do not discredit anyone's oppinon because of their playing ability or position.

 

Please don't hold anyones success or lack there of against them... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

Dan

IM onegreyneed

Email onegreyneed@yahoo.com

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Originally posted by Gaddabout:

False humility is neither welcomed nor encouraged, Bart.

 

Dude ... you weren't at my recording session yesterday; I SUCKED!!! It took us over four hours to track ONE SONG!!! We were altering the written arrangement a lot and there was a lot of style changes (ie. HipHop to Salsa) within the tune. I was very embarrassed at my poor playing yesterday; I pray it doesn't come back to haunt me. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif

 

Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Bart backs this up by saying that he gives more weight to "professionals" in certain situations. I would agree that a "professional" by DJ's definition would know more about the actual music business and working conditions than a "hobbyist" or "amateur", but when it comes to plain old ability, playing technique, tuning technique and the like, I would NOT necessarily give any more weight to one person over another just because one makes his living from playing and the other doesn't.

 

Lee, I said in certain situations, which is what you quoted me as saying. I knew this was going to come back on me! LOL Answer me this, why would I want to hear the opinion of someone who is not doing what I am asking about? Why would I want to read about the tuning techniques from a drummer with 3 years of experience versus someone that has 30 years? If someone isn't professional musician or has never been a professional musician, why would I want to hear their opinion of the music business ... or like an earlier topic ... where I should relocate?

 

Do you prefer the advise from a med-student over a professional doctor? If you were going to play the stock market, do you want the insight of someone who has been moderately successful over the past two decades, or do you want the to seek the guidance from someone who is very successful even though they've only been doing it for a six years?

 

The two scenarios I just gave show (to me at least) two different perspectives. In one case I would want the professional doctor, in the other I would choose the less experienced investor because of his overall success in a fair amount of time.

 

We each have something to offer; we are all unique individuals. At times you need the advise of a professional, other times you need the advise of a someone who is very successful regardless of how long they've been doing it. A degreed individual's opinion may be more important to you on a given topic such as Teaching Techniques, while the opinion of some guy with a 5th grade education, who has played with just about everyone in the Who's Who of Rock & Roll, may give you the best insight on what it takes to be a great Rock drummer. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

 

I guess the thing that hurts me the most with this whole topic is that I feel a bit bashed. Besides what I'm hearing here, I'm hearing on another thread from ModernDrummer's post on the "What is the cheesiest thing you've seen or heard?" Have I ever thrown the word PROFESSIONAL in anyone's face? Have I ever discredited what someone has said because they're not a professional and I am? I was accused at one point of spamming because I list my website on my signature ... is that it? This whole thing sounds very political. All I hear is how you all have had it with people throwing the word "professional" around. Who is doing that, and why does it upset you so deeply? I know that when the topic comes up, I usually just say something like ... "I consider myself blessed that I am able to make my hobby my vocation" or "how amazed I am that anyone would pay me to play".

 

I can't answer for everyone else, but I've got to tell you ... this whole thing is very weird. It's weird to talk about the classifications, and it's weird to hear some of the bitterness that comes from people towards certain members of these classifications.

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Originally posted by Bartman:

Dude ... you weren't at my recording session yesterday; I SUCKED!!! It took us over four hours to track ONE SONG!!! We were altering the written arrangement a lot and there was a lot of style changes (ie. HipHop to Salsa) within the tune. I was very embarrassed at my poor playing yesterday; I pray it doesn't come back to haunt me.

 

I'm not a professional http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif but I'm pretty sure this happens to everyone in every profession. Heard stories of Omar Hakim absolutely stinking up the joint at a recent gig to the point of dropping sticks on several occasions, and that hurts me since Omar is one my heroes. I sat here tonight and watched Randy Johnson, one of the most prolific pitchers in the history of baseball, put in a sub-Unit performance.

 

I don't think this will make you feel any better, but I've got your experienced topped by a mile. I think I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again for posterity.

 

When I was 19, I was becoming something of an item around town. Got calls all the time. Made some money, which was truly rare here in those days. I got a little cocky and created moronic business cards that proclaimed my proficiency in latin styles and "no chart too difficult!" (Hey, I was 19) Mind you, the latin styles in this town are Mexican influenced, which are far less involved (if even required) than the Carribean or South American flavors we most associate with the term "latin rhythms." I felt I'd be just fine in any local situation.

 

Got a call from a tiny studio on the south side of town who were recording a Spanish-language demo and they were looking for an American drum set player to "stretch" a little on some tunes. Previous drummer didn't have good time. They didn't have a lot of money or time, so they needed to get in and get out. I figured I would fit right in. Probably some balladeer or pop anthem stuff or something.

 

Went down there and, I kid you not, they put a 7/8 samba in front of me. What kind of traditional Mexican artist does samba? In odd meter? The gig wasn't what I thought it would be at all. It's not that it was all that difficult, but in a studio situation, you don't have much time to sit there and work these things out. By the third take my head was spinning. I was absolutely murderous in the transitions. I was embarassed. They were embarassed for me.

 

Shame is a funny thing. And that was the end of my professional career to date.

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Thanks for sharing; I got a good laugh, which made me feel better.

 

I was back in the studio finishing up on this project that we started yesterday. Taking four hours for one tune ... you can see why we weren't done in a day! LOL

 

That "marathon" song was the first tune of the day ... and it took the longest. I'm a perfectionist and I think I was too hard on myself; for certain. If you go back and listen to the tracks, solo up the other instruments, you can quickly see that timing problems come from other instruments. Playing a tough arrangement PLUS having to RECORD it is hard enough, let alone having bass, guitar and piano tracking with you ... rushing like they are late for another gig.

 

Today was MUCH better. I guess with the circumstances and my "bad" day, all was compounded and I felt like I was in the wrong profession. I told the guys on the session yesterday that I had been getting some info from DJ about Nashville, with thoughts of relocating. After mentioning that, I proceeded to tell them that I guess I wouldn't be needing that info after all ... because I SUCK!!! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif LOL

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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I think a point is being missed here. My problem is the false notion that making money is the same as having the most experience, being a better drummer, and having the most to offer this group. I've been doing gigs and session work for close to 10 years, been drumming for 17. With all apologies to Dan, do my opinions mean less than his because he's making all his money doing it? I've got years of practical experience on him. And I don't mean to pick on the new guy http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif that's not my intention. I just don't like the idea that if you're doing it as a career, that it means you have more knowledge, or are more of a drummer.

 

There are many different paths to take as a drummer and as a person. I've been playing for a long time holding steady at about 20-30 percent of my income playing drums. But that's far less important to me than the fact that I've *played* a LOT. I've taken chances. I've joined bands where you don't get a dime at the end of the night because the talent's there, the comradery is there, and the hope is there for a greater future. I don't go for every $50/hour session I get offered because I choose to concentrate a lot of the time on taking some chances for the future.

 

We make choices in life. I have another talent, writing, and that's what I make the bulk of my money doing because quality gigs are easier to find in this current economy, and pay much better than drumming gigs. Doesn't mean I'm any less experienced as a drummer. And I'm certainly not a hobbiest at it.

Just for the record.
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Originally posted by Bartman:

Lee, I said in certain situations, which is what you quoted me as saying. I knew this was going to come back on me! LOL Answer me this, why would I want to hear the opinion of someone who is not doing what I am asking about?

 

You wouldn't - but it depends what you're asking about. Whether someone was a "professional" or not may not have anything to do with how qualified they are to answer your question. That's all I'm saying - and I'm not even saying you don't know that. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Why would I want to read about the tuning techniques from a drummer with 3 years of experience versus someone that has 30 years?

 

Because there are plenty of drummers who may have been playing 30 years and still don't know how to tune http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif. And someone who's been playing only 3 years but has put a great deal of focus on tuning drums may know more.

Personally, I think on an Internet forum it's hard to generalize anyway. I'd rather actually hear someone play and if I dig the way their drums sound I will pick their brain about tuning without even bothering to ask how long they've been playing or how much of their living they make from it. On here we can't always do that, so some people try to make decisions based on rather dodgy criteria. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

If someone isn't professional musician or has never been a professional musician, why would I want to hear their opinion of the music business ... or like an earlier topic ... where I should relocate?

 

I've already said I think this is a valid reason to want to know somebody's "credentials". But I think I'd probably phrase the question in such a way that only a qualified person would even answer. Such as, "I'm looking to move to a place that has a lot of good paying work for percussionists on movie soundtracks. Can I hear from some people who've been doing that a lot, where you live and how you broke into that scene?" Etc.

 

I think what I've been trying to say is that terms like "professional" are rather vague and unclear, and that's what gets people in trouble when they use them. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Do you prefer the advise from a med-student over a professional doctor?

 

That's not a fair comparison because there is a linear path to becoming a professional doctor. You MUST have the requisite years of medical school and internship to become a doctor, so it is pretty much a GIVEN that a doctor who is getting paid to be a doctor, is going to be a better advisor than a student.

 

Musicians all learn at different ages and rates and have lots of different motivations for wanting to play. A younger player with few other responsibilities who practices night and day may well be a better player in 5 years than a more "experienced" player who gigs and practices less frequently. The experienced session dude with all the killer chops may not be the right person for a Ramones tribute gig whereas the "amateur" who's played punk his whole life might be perfect. Etc.

 

I guess the thing that hurts me the most with this whole topic is that I feel a bit bashed. Besides what I'm hearing here, I'm hearing on another thread from ModernDrummer's post on the "What is the cheesiest thing you've seen or heard?" Have I ever thrown the word PROFESSIONAL in anyone's face? Have I ever discredited what someone has said because they're not a professional and I am?

 

Not really, and please don't lump what I'm saying with what ModernDrummer says, we're two different people saying two different things. Where I'M coming from is that perhaps the specific terms that are used, are not really very useful, precisely because the chances are pretty good that people WILL misunderstand your intent in using them. As they (we) are doing now. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

This whole thing sounds very political. All I hear is how you all have had it with people throwing the word "professional" around. Who is doing that, and why does it upset you so deeply?

 

I didn't say anyone was "throwing that word around". Dendy brought up the different classifications and I said I don't agree with classifying musicians that way and don't find it useful because of the unfortunate connotations they have for most people, that's all.

 

I think people who get resentful of "professional" musicians can do so for several reasons. One as I said is the tendency for our society to judge people's ability based on how much money they make. I can understand why somebody who's worked his ass off to become a great drummer in an artistically excellent but commercially unviable band, might be pissed off at a guy who's cranking out the Muzak that gets played at the mall and getting paid a pile of money for it. That's an extreme case but you get the idea.

 

Funnily enough, the dichotomy can continue right on up to the highest levels of "professional" success. I remember a conversation with one very well known drummer that I know, who has made a lot of money with a band, who was discussing a well known session drummer and referred to him as "very professional". Which in that case translated to: not very exciting or interesting, very "formulaic" as a player. Even though, by DJ's definition, both drummers were "professional" and probably about equal financially speaking, the one drummer was still using the word "professional" to make a distinction between himself and another drummer. By the same token, Keith Moon may have made his entire living from drumming but few people would have referred to him as "professional" and he'd probably have bashed anybody's head in who did. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif So the word just has too darned many hidden meanings to be of much use, ditto "amateur", "hobbyist", etc.

 

--Lee

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 09-08-2001 at 02:24 AM

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According to the definition of "professional" (individuals who make their living solely upon entertaining and performing before the public), I give you a short list of some professionals in the field of entertainment today...

 

Britney Spears

Pamela Anderson

Johnny Knoxville

Jay Leno

Jerry Springer

Jessica Simpson

Mandy Moore

Judge Judy

Backstreet Boys

Regis Philbin

Carmen Electra

Connie Chung

Barbara Walters

Martha Stewart

Amad Rashad

Bryant Gumbel

Terry Bradshaw

P Diddy

Robert Downey Jr

Ru Paul

Don Rickles

Larry "Bud" Melman

Oprah

and last but not least,

Kathie Lee Gifford..

 

Professional in a lot of cases just means thru luck, tenacity, a little bit of ass kissing, timing, etc., you've been able to stay gainfully employed by becoming a fixture in a certain niche thats out there for you..

 

The same applies for musicians, especially drummers....I know of lot of guys who cant stand the thought of being a "professional" drummer...because chances are if you are making a living at playing, you are playing a lot of gigs that you really dont want to play....for whatever reason...in the city where I live, its not that hard to be a "professional" drummer and make a living playing covers in small clubs and bars....I took a pass on that a long time ago....

 

When I was 20 or so (I wont say what band it was), but lets say I had a chance to play in pretty famous "big band" or "Tommy Dorsey" type of group, touring, getting paid well, to a pretty much 55+ crowd...if I would have done it, I would have been a "Professional" drummer for quite a long time....as it was, I turned it down for something that wasnt as steady, was more creative, let me explore a lot of other styles, and didnt keep me away from home and carousing the hotel bars until 5am with all the local tramps....

 

Just remember, some of the greatest artists in the history of mankind did not receive adequate compensation for their work until long after they were dead and buried....

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WOW! and Double WOW!

 

You see what can happen when people start thinking!

 

Let me start by saying that I applaud everyone for stepping up to the mic and singing a verse or two ... or three. That alone is what I think makes these forums great. They allow you (or those who really are honest about their thoughts) to really analyze what you and others really think.

 

Initially, Gaddaboutit and Sidereal seemed pretty put off with my thread. Given a little stimulated conversation and the room warmed right up!

 

Here *WAS* my point. These are my definitions as *I* see them (and many others that are heavy players) ... (just thought I would throw that in for S#1TS and Giggles.)

 

I equate it to my other profession as an Editor. I started out a green writer, ... moved up to Associate Editor, ... now I am a Editor. Hopefully one day ... Senior Editor and then to Editor and Chief!

 

It is simply a ladder of progression ... nothing more. Some remain happy and content (and nothing wrong with that either) at Editor ... others crave that Senior Editor ring!

 

Also, my scale simply identifies a level based on how you earn your living as a musician. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR ABILITY AS A DRUMMER OR MUSICIAN! (shall I repeat that?)

 

I, like Bart, have my good days and bad days ... and quite frankly ... I am not a great drummer. I am just a good solid 2 - 4 drummer ... which is what the majority look for in Nashville. You want flashy fills and stick twirls ... you don't want me! (it helps that I sing a mean high harmony! )

 

Don't get hung up on the fact that society uses these types of definitions as identifiers. If we didn't have them ... in all aspects of our lives ... we would all be pretty boring folks. It would be like writing with no adjectives!

 

I hope this helps you guys understand and see that we all think differently ... and yet a lot alike at the same time. We may all dress it differently ... or wrap the package differently ... but we all have many common threads!

 

The best part ... we are all DRUMMERS ... and for me ... that is what counts. If my or your years of walking through the drumming mine field can save a new drummer a foot or leg ... then why not share a little of that knowledge or wisdom?

 

And I wrap by saying ... if ever *I* come across arrogant or "better than" ... any of you have my deepest wishes to "call me to the mat!"

 

Just DRUM and spread it around!

 

Thanks,

 

DJ

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

That's not a fair comparison because there is a linear path to becoming a professional doctor. You MUST have the requisite years of medical school and internship to become a doctor, so it is pretty much a GIVEN that a doctor who is getting paid to be a doctor, is going to be a better advisor than a student.

 

So there's no "requisite" for becoming a professional drummer? If there's no "linear" path to earning the title of "professional" in music ... there should be (in my opinion).

 

I agree that the term is very broad, and even more so that it is being misused in the Fine Arts. Because music, dance, etc., is a creative art form, everyone can participate and enjoy it. Unfortunately, society doesn't know what good or bad is anymore. If someone spends enough money and time, they can convince the general public that something is other than what it really is. The general public doesn't know the difference between a truly skilled musician who has MASTERED their instrument, as to someone who is jumping around on stage making BIG $$$ because they package and sold like a piece of merchandise.

 

It's all subjective any more ... there's no standard with which we hold things to. The general public can view good players as bad ... and visa versa. A great drummer can have a day job and just play for fun on the weekends, while another drummer can hold the title of "professional" and yet can't really play.

 

Another great example would be in the feild of photography. Anybody with a camera can make some $$$ and be called professional. If you look at their photos there's nothing spectacular about them ... and they don't even begin to compare to works of truly great photographers. But the general public doesn't see that; they've been slowly desensitized over the years into thinking that anything proclaimed to be "good" is in fact good.

 

It would be interesting if the world used more definitive terms such as: Professional Club Drummer, Professional Classical Percussionist, Professional Session Drummer, Professional Free-lance Drummer, Professional Drum Instructor, etc. Using these enhanced descriptions certainly help me understand the specific areas that a musician is a professional in. But what are you going to say if you do ALL those things? Like Lee pointed out, the term "professional" is very broad in our field.

 

Personally, I will continue to use the term professional when speaking of myself because I don't know of any other word to use. The term applies to me not only because I make 100% of my income from the music business, but I've also EARNED the title. I'm proud of my achievements, spending thousands of hours practicing and mastering my instruments, thousands of dollars towards two degrees in music (Music Performance), studying with numerous musicians who are leaders in their field, providing for my family by making $$$ via recording sessions, live performances, clinics, instruction, on and on ... blah, blah, blah.

 

Sigh I'm not conveying my thoughts very well so I just need to stop. This topic is beginning to wear me out! LOL

 

Let me just say that I appreciate everyone's opinion on this topic ... and I'm challenged ... in a positive way. I don't want to come across as arrogant or a "know it all" ... but I'm also not going to pretend to be something I'm not. Like many of you, I happen to know a lot about a lot of different things. Some of it's from life experience, some of it's from schooling and study, some of it's just flat out opinion with no basis in fact! LOL

 

Like DJ, if you think I am wearing a badge, or come across as being arrogant or "better than" ... please call me to the mat (but be specific).

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Originally posted by Bartman:

So there's no "requisite" for becoming a professional drummer? If there's no "linear" path to earning the title of "professional" in music ... there should be (in my opinion).

 

Well I'd have to disagree with you there. I don't feel that the arts are like the sciences in that regard, or should be. Earning titles and having a linear path to becoming a "professional" musician would not accomplish the same thing as earning a doctorate does, for the reasons you yourself state below: because music is an art form it depends highly on individual expression, and any attempt to "regulate" it doesn't turn out musicians that are any better at what they do.

 

Sure there are people coming out of Berklee and similar programs who have music degrees and they can therefore "prove" that they know theory and have certain technical skills that might get them a paying gig. Beyond that, it doesn't really say much. There are tons of music school grads whose playing is totally formulaic and whom I would frankly rather not hear on the radio or at the grocery store. As you also pointed out, there are also plenty of musicians who labor in weekend bands who are truly great. So, it's really up to the individual musician to earn peer and audience respect and personally I prefer it that way.

 

Unfortunately, society doesn't know what good or bad is anymore. If someone spends enough money and time, they can convince the general public that something is other than what it really is. The general public doesn't know the difference between a truly skilled musician who has MASTERED their instrument, as to someone who is jumping around on stage making BIG $$$ because they package and sold like a piece of merchandise.

 

It's all subjective any more ... there's no standard with which we hold things to. The general public can view good players as bad ... and visa versa.

 

Yes, that is true, but I don't think that's really anything new. When it comes to "the general public", people have always judged art by vastly different criteria. Some base their judgement on visceral response, others on technical skill, and others by how rich someone is or how good looking. Some have studied music to the point where they appreciate and can evaluate complexity; others just wanna dance. I have my personal line that I draw along that scale and I'm sure it doesn't agree with yours, even though we probably have about the same amount of playing experience. So for me to say that my own standards should be some sort of universal standard would be the height of arrogance.

 

I don't think having specific skills that are tied to being a "professional" musician would change this situation. All it would do is turn out a lot of folks with a piece of paper that said they were a "professional" and who possessed a certain amount of technical skill and experience and it really says nothing at all about what kind of player they are. Meanwhile those who couldn't afford to go to school or didn't think it would benefit them personally, couldn't be called "professionals"?!?!? That's always the way these things end up, it seems - they just get co-opted by protectionist groups. It chills me to think of that happening in the arts (and frankly I feel that way about places like G.I.T., so shoot me...). Better that everybody learn in their own preferred way and prove themselves to their PEERS by their own ability and perseverence. And screw the titles. Either you've got what it takes to accomplish what YOU want to accomplish, or you don't.

 

Personally, I will continue to use the term professional when speaking of myself because I don't know of any other word to use. The term applies to me not only because I make 100% of my income from the music business, but I've also EARNED the title. I'm proud of my achievements, spending thousands of hours practicing and mastering my instruments, thousands of dollars towards two degrees in music (Music Performance), studying with numerous musicians who are leaders in their field, providing for my family by making $$$ via recording sessions, live performances, clinics, instruction, on and on ... blah, blah, blah.

 

Yeah but... again... that paragraph is loaded with implications. For one thing, someone else could work as hard as you did and do, have all the same degrees, the same course of study, etc. - and NOT be making their money from playing. This might be because they have different priorities or because they simply wish to pursue a style of music or a lifestyle that isn't commercially accepted. By the same token, like you keep saying yourself, there are also plenty of people making their MONEY from music, who HAVEN'T really earned it.

 

So on the one hand you seem to be admitting that there is no real standard for a "professional" (and I agree) and on the other you are saying "I've EARNED the title" as if it actually means something. It also implies that you've "earned" the right to say you are a "professional" rather than a "hobbyist" or "amateur" who may in fact have earned the right just as much. So, either you have an underlying sense of your own superiority over people who don't make their living as musicians (or haven't studied the same things you have or whatever) and you aren't admitting it to yourself, or maybe you just aren't comfortable with the fact that there are no "standards" for what constitutes a good or bad musician, which is something you just have to deal with in our field. You seem to be WANTING to associate "professional/amateur" with "good/bad" even though you admit that is not an accurate association. That's the same dichotomy I run into with a lot of people and usually it means that they would like to be recognized for their achievements (and there's nothing wrong with that) but are using a totally inadequate model (such as money or a degree) to try to distinguish themselves.

 

That does NOT mean I don't get pissed off myself when somebody who's only been playing a couple of years, never even practices, and is only barely passable on their instrument, is successful financially or thinks they're a star. I just accepted long ago that musicians neither can nor should be judged by the same criteria as doctors and computer programmers, and inevitably that is going to result in lame judgements being made. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif If there's anything that needs to be changed it's the association of self-worth with financial worth that seems to be so ingrained, even unconsciously, in most people. Otherwise I'm OK with things the way they are even if there's a lot of musicians out there that I think suck. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--Lee

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Well, you will not often hear me complain, but I chose to at least vent a frustration, while acknowledging accomplishment.

Very often I get upset when I think about working the pay to pay routine, although I have a great home, the BEST wife, great lifestyle..., it is still what it is. About a year without income away from Bankruptcy.

 

I think about the years of lessons, clubs dates, College as a Music Performance Major ... and still these truths hold true. Then, although you got to admire the accomplishment ... you look at a guy like ... em ... say ... Tre Cool ... who wouldn't know a paradiddle if it bit him on the a$$!! Yet, I know Tre ... heir to his name ... is cool. He just happened to be with the right band at the right time ... for him.

 

Now, before you think I am Tre bashing, or sour on life or some such non-sense as that ... I am not.

 

Just a general observation to make Bart's point that NO prerequisite is required to be called a Professional Drummer!

 

That, is it ... I yield the Soap Box!

 

DJ

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Just realized something....

 

If I was living at my parents' house, not paying rent, maybe occasionally helping out with groceries and utilities, I'd fall into the "professional" category. I'd make just enough to survive with what I make now playing music. And, shit, I could even have the drums set up in the garage! But on my own, in the very expensive San Francisco bay area, it's an extremely difficult thing to have a normal life and make a living playing drums.

 

Just a thought I had, that all of this can be extremely subjective and based on a number of factors not expressed here.

Just for the record.
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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

So on the one hand you seem to be admitting that there is no real standard for a "professional" (and I agree) and on the other you are saying "I've EARNED the title" as if it actually means something. It also implies that you've "earned" the right to say you are a "professional" rather than a "hobbyist" or "amateur" who may in fact have earned the right just as much. So, either you have an underlying sense of your own superiority over people who don't make their living as musicians (or haven't studied the same things you have or whatever) and you aren't admitting it to yourself, or maybe you just aren't comfortable with the fact that there are no "standards" for what constitutes a good or bad musician, which is something you just have to deal with in our field. You seem to be WANTING to associate "professional/amateur" with "good/bad" even though you admit that is not an accurate association. That's the same dichotomy I run into with a lot of people and usually it means that they would like to be recognized for their achievements (and there's nothing wrong with that) but are using a totally inadequate model (such as money or a degree) to try to distinguish themselves.

 

Let me be frank ... and this will be my last post so someone else can have the last word.

 

I was pointing out that no matter which angle you look at it, whether money, degree, etc., the word professional applies to me. I don't wear it like a badge ... it's what I am ... simple as that. I HAVE earned the title and it DOES mean something ... to me. I hold all professionals to a high standard whether the title is generally applied to them or not. I've never thought of being "superior" over ANYONE in this forum; if you get that from me, I'm sorry and saddened. As I recall, no one here wears a badge that states whether they are a pro, hobbyist, semi-pro, amateur ... and yet we all are able to discuss issues and learn from one another.

 

This has turned into the battle of the classes: Upper, Middle, Lower classes; those who read music versus those who do not; professionals and non-professionals ... it's the same old story in my opinion ... just different labels. Upperclass people are viewed as all having their nose in the air, looking down on all the little people, while the Lowerclass give them the finger and curse them. Is this the true stereotype? This is what I see happening with all of this. Professionals are being viewed as looking down on anyone who doesn't have the title, while the Non-professional gets bitter for whatever reason (I dare give any examples because it will no doubt be misconstrued). It was assumed in an old thread that people who read music view themselves as "better" than those who don't read music. While the ones who don't read music brag that they are "home grown or self taught" ... trying to make themselves to appear better because they haven't been tainted by the world's system. Which is worse?

 

If you really think that I believe I am "superior", etc., (see Lee's quote above) ... then why in the world would I be on this Drum Forum wasting my time talking to you? If I viewed myself the way your taking my words to imply ... don't you think I would want to associate with others just like me ... SUPERIOR! The fact is I'm NOT superior and I feel that you ALL are like me; you love drums and like to share your thoughts. That's why I spend too many hours on this damn thing when I should be doing something FAR MORE productive. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

.... say good night Gracie.

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Originally posted by Bartman:

I was pointing out that no matter which angle you look at it, whether money, degree, etc., the word professional applies to me. I don't wear it like a badge ... it's what I am ... simple as that. I HAVE earned the title and it DOES mean something ... to me.

 

And you keep missing my point. First of all maybe you need to tell us what it means TO YOU so that we can understand better. Second, my only point is and has been, that what it means TO YOU is certainly the most important thing, BUT if you use the term around other people it is probably not going to mean the same thing to THEM so therefore I hold that it's a meaningless title. If you still choose to use the title even though it's pretty clear that most people won't know what you're talking about, that's your business I guess. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif I'm only trying to help explain a possible source of your apparent frustration or feeling that you're being "bashed".

 

This has turned into the battle of the classes: Upper, Middle, Lower classes; those who read music versus those who do not; professionals and non-professionals ... it's the same old story in my opinion ... just different labels. Upperclass people are viewed as all having their nose in the air, looking down on all the little people, while the Lowerclass give them the finger and curse them. Is this the true stereotype?

 

Naaahhh. Sorry but I hang out with lots of people who are "professionals" by your definition, including some who are very well known, and I don't resent them for their success, wealth, or ability - I applaud it. Maybe there ARE some people who resent all "successful" professionals merely for their success, and that's wrong. But I don't think that's what's happening here. What's happening is that you seem to feel that these classifications are useful whereas some of us don't. Maybe you just need to explain why you feel the title "professional" is meaningful and what it means to you. And would you be as proud to say that you were an "amateur" or a "hobbyist" by DJ's definition, if that's what you were? Why or why not?

 

--Lee

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 09-08-2001 at 03:13 PM

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As broad and controversial as this topic seems to be I've always agreed with the thoughts that dj and Bart(frank) bring to the table!Sometimes it's not the amount of talent you bring to the mix but how motivated you are to get out there and make something happen for yourself!

 

Dendy's example of Tre Cool is a good point.There's no doubt that Tre is motivated and works hard to maintain his career.Even if you don't like his style.

Alot of us get lazy and/or discouraged too easily and loose sight of our goals and are quick to judge others who have stood the test of time and achieved a higher level of monetary success!This in no way means they are better musicians than the rest of us, they just don't give up!

 

Notice the amount of thought that Bart puts into all of his posts!This is evidence of the passion AND drive that he has for his art,which also(lucky for him) happens to be his career!Same with Dendy!Who among us can say that we make our entire living in a variety of drum related areas!

I've been on the road and know what it's like to do what you love and be rewarded for it monetarily!I have many regrets of leaving all of that and so my hat's off to Bart and Dendy for discovering ways to "fill in the gaps" and come up with moneymaking ideas to establish careers in different aspects of their art!

 

"Once again into the breech!" http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

ian*

 

 

This message has been edited by ian* on 09-08-2001 at 05:00 PM

ian*
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Originally posted by ian*:

Alot of us get lazy and/or discouraged too easily and loose sight of our goals and are quick to judge others who have stood the test of time and achieved a higher level of monetary success!This in no way means they are better musicians than the rest of us, they just don't give up!

 

Not to pick another fight here, but Ian, you're way out of line with that one. Again... I work my ass off playing, studying, researching, doing business, getting gigs, checking out the scene, meeting people, etc. I'm not lazy and I'm not discouraged either, I'm very upbeat about where my drumming career has been, where it is, and where it's going. I HAVE stood the test of time.

 

I know you weren't picking on me, but your insinuation that laziness is the reason we're not "professional" by Bart and DJ's standards is inexcusable.

Just for the record.
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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ALL! I feel relieved to no longer hold the title of "Master of the Long Post and / or Multiple Post"! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif 'Course, this post could change that yet again!

 

Ouchie, eh? The DJ-man hit on a subject we ALL have very strong emotions about. BINGO, DJ! EXACTLY what I hoped this topic would do when I saw it posted. LOL, but truth be told, being a loudmouth and kinda of chicken, I waited to let some of the more senior (on the forum ONLY, no regard to your personal age! LMAO!) answer first. Pretty much, everyone seems to have answered as one might have predicted. So you'll probably also know my response.

 

I hate the terms 'Professional' and 'Expert'. I think they're over-used. ESPECIALLY so when it's someone talking about themself. But, to each their own. Some people like titles, some don't. Some people advertise themself frequently, even here on the forum, some don't. C'est la vie. And of course, it would then follow that the other labels are hard for me to swallow.

 

Guess I'm kinda in between the opinions here, though I feel just as strongly about them.

 

I give no more weight to someone who's been playing 25 or 30 years than I do someone who's been playing 3 years. That senior person COULD be just an idiot doing the same things wrong for 30 years! Happens more often than you might think.

 

I give no more weight to someone who has a degree than someone who doesn't. Let's keep in mind folks, that in FACT, in REALITY, gaining a degree, completing X amount of years studying something and then a sheet of paper to show that, ONLY means that you've BEGUN your education. It means NOW ya gotta go out and get beat up in the real world, and know how to discern the CORRECT lesson from that beating and complete your education. Which takes a life time. A 'sheepskin' IMHO, only means that one has learned HOW to learn, to some extent. It certainly does NOT mean that you'll know more, be better enlightened, smarter, brighter, more insightful OR a better teacher, instructor or mentor. Certainly the world's richest geek (whom I personally admire for his DRIVE, not really his smarts), AND who is a COLLEGE DROPOUT is the ultimate example of how little importance a degree carries in being successful.

 

And around here, about every third musician is a music teacher. And a LOT of them are pretty lousy. As teachers AND musicians. Unfortunately, even being a "great" drummer doesn't mean you're worth a plugged nickel as a music teacher. Completely different skills, that may or may not work well together. I've learned about music teachers, though. At least around here. If they don't have at least ONE student that's a LOT better on that instrument than the teacher themself, they're NOT a very good teacher. Or haven't hardly been teaching long enough to tell if they're a good teacher. Even our guitarist, who also teaches guitar, says: "Hey, I don't show my students everything I know". Well, IMHO, if you're NOT giving 100% of yourself, and your knowledge to your students, you're cheating your students. Period. Also IMHO, they (or their parents) are PAYING you to show them "everything you know". At the appropriate time in the lessons, of course. And if you're just handing students some "Guitar 101" book off the shelf and telling them to learn pages X-XX, then the next lesson just checking to see IF they learned it, then you ALSO stink as a teacher. Whadda they need YOU for? They could just go buy the stupid books themself. And save the money the instructor is charging them for lessons for a GREAT guitar! They're paying for insight and 'insider' knowledge, which isn't being provided. Sounds like fraud to me. LOL, O.K. so much about teachers...

 

As far as (generally speaking) knowledge about a given subject, like drumming, I think many folks would agree that the avid or driven hobbyist is way more likely to know a ton more about the subject than ANY "paid professional". Often the "professional's" goal in this field is to make a full time living at it, whatever that means to them. They may or may not pursue an interest in the field beyond that, and that which is necessary to get them the next higher paying gig, or bigger paycheck. Whereas the avid hobbyist will often have this HUGE thirst for knowledge about their beloved hobby. And I'll be darned if they're not like a walking encyclopedia about it! Tell ya stuff ya didn't even ask! And don't WANT to know! And rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle non-stop, non-stop, non-stop about it. SHADDUP already! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif It's because they have this tremendous passion for that field. Wanna friggin' "expert"? THERE'S you're friggin' "expert". Ask 'em a question they don't know, and they'll spend 3 months researching it, experimenting with it, trying it out for themself, and give you the answer to THAT question. AND the next three doggone questions you were GONNA ask! One person is doing it 'cause the're getting paid', the other because of love and passion for the subject matter. YOU tell me who's more knowledgeable...

 

Personally, since it was asked, I think I'd rather have the 'Straight A' intern look at me than the alcoholic friggin' doctor, who DOES have the coveted 'M.D.' or whatever behind his name, but graduated from med school with just enough GPA NOT to flunk. Remember you CAN graduate with a 'D' and STILL graduate. Kinda makes ya wonder how come they don't PUT THE G.P.A. right there on the FRONT of that 'sheepskin', doesn't it? In nice BIG, bold letters. Or maybe even a cool sentence like "THIS doctor worked their butt off for 8 or 10 years, nose to the grindstone virtually every waking moment. You are in good hands". OR, "THIS doctor barely made the G.P.A. required to pass, managed to pass 'cause their daddy bought the Dean a new Mercedes and spent the better part of 8 or 10 years partying and pretending Medical School was a vacation away from the watchful eye of Mommy & Daddy. You're taking your life in your hands." Hunh, how about something like THAT on those degrees?

 

And I think everyone knows some drummer that's "As good as Bonham, or Peart, or Rich or Gadd or whomever". Or a guitarist who plays like Page or Van Halen or Satriani. So how come THAT guy or gal "isn't famous"? 'Cause we all know, or should know, that success in this business is WAY more than just a person's individual talent. Their personal drive to seek out 'fame & fortune' also counts. Even here on this forum, many have expressed the concept that getting 'the million dollar' contract would be great IF it landed in their lap, but they're not going looking for it. LOL, so how would ya EVER get it IF ya don't go looking for it? Sure, if you try, you might fail. 50/50. I dunno, maybe 90/10. But if you DON'T try, you're 100% GUARANTEED to fail.

 

And, that 'local virtuoso' ALSO has to get the shot. Has to be there when the 'lucky break' happens. So, timing is important. Little teeny decisions are significant. Even Trump has said there are guys out there a TON better than he about real estate. But they never got the shot. Probably true in ALL areas of life. Count your blessings if you're getting to do what you really LOVE for a career. MOST people don't. And if 'it's just a job' to you, why don't ya move over and let someone takeover your position? Someone that would REALLY LOVE to be there? LOL, probably don't wanna do that, though. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif That's TOO honest for most folks!

 

And lastly, AGE, as has been mentioned, has NUTTIN' to do with NUTTIN', except chronology. Hard to think that Dan* is too young at 19 when Neal Schon was playing in Santana at 15! AND, that was AFTER he turned down Eric Clapton, who wanted Schon for Clapton's band! Or Steve Winwood, Or Michael Jackson, or Elvis Presley, or Britney Spears (well, O.K., she's NOT a musician. But she sure looks good! LMAO! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif). Who knows, maybe Dan* IS that next prodigy! I do know from yacking with him over the past year, he LOVES what he does. And honestly, seems more proud than pretentious. Good for him. You GO boy!

 

In MY definition, you're ONLY a 'professional' musician if you'd played at LEAST 500 - 1000 live gigs in your career, know what all those goofy knobs in the studio actually DO, AND have averaged MORE than $1,000,000 per annum in income derived solely from playing an instrument during that career, however long or short. That makes it a pretty narrow field, to my thinking. The rest of us are just workin' stiffs tryin' to get through life the best we can. Same boat, different seat. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

Oh, and having free time to get on the internet and post does NOT necessarily mean you haven't pursued your career. You might have pursued it well enough for long enough that you now HAVE the time to engage in such fun pursuits. In case you're not aware, there ARE some very well know celebrities that do that, just to keep from going stir crazy. So that person you're talking to COULD be the very person you'd like to be, and ya don't even know it.

 

O.K., That's my lot. Only this one long post on this topic. Promise... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

J.B.

 

This message has been edited by ModernDrummer on 09-09-2001 at 01:02 PM

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you've always had.
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Thanks alot MD! haven't IMed you in a while though http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

Yes, I dont meen at all to base ability and knowledge on economic standing. I've learned more from fellow players and "weekend warriors" than most of the paid profession teachers and players...

 

Anyways, please go back and read my second post on this topic...thanks!

Best Of Luck

Dan

IM onegreyneed

Email onegreyneed@yahoo.com

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I have not seen a thread this juicy in a long time, ... and the last one this juicy was on Craig's forum!

 

Some insight and observations:

 

Do Not misinterpret Bart's posts here ... I now know Bart and know his heart. He DOES take this seriously and does give time and thought into these posts. He admittedly is above NO ONE here!!!

 

Second point to this: Read a post two times before responding ... and then re-read your response before submitting the reply! Make sure you completely understand the comment you are responding to!

 

Be slow to speak and quick to listen! Reminds me of something my Dad used to tell me ... "Son, God gave you two ears and one mouth ... and he intended for you to use them proportionally!" Basically my Dad's profound way of saying "Shut up and listen more!"

 

I mention this because I see too much jumping to conclusions here.

 

With that out of the way ...

 

When you registered to become a member of MusicPlayer.com's Drum Talk ... you filled out a survey. Within that survey ... you were asked to chose a level of standard that you claim yourself to be as a musician. The four choices that I categorized were the four choices you were given. Obviously ... if you answered that question ... you consider yourself somewhere on this scale!

 

My Mom actually reads these threads ... (says she learns more about me here ... than she ever knew in 38 years! ) ... and she is a Professional Artists. She makes 100 percent of her income from painting watercolor art! (and damn good art ... I might add). She sent me an e-mail this afternoon explaining that for artists ... most of the dividing line (if you will) for amateurs (or novice -- if you prefer that word) vs. pros comes from whether of not you sell your work (have a business license). If you enter certain competitions, you have to declare a category. Unless you do art as a hobby, you can't enter amateur on a contest entry form. Mom says ... "guess it all boils down to how you view yourself and your work!" Go MOM!

 

I am a Professional Drummer. I do not wear that as a badge of honor or anything ... IT IS JUST A FACT. It should not be compared to touting that I won the Superbowl or something like that. I rub NO ONES face in that fact. It is just what I do. I consider myself ... as I am sure anyone who can do something they love so much and make a career out of it ... blessed to be able to be a professional drummer. It is interesting when folks ask what I do for a living and I tell them that I am a drummer. I usually get one of those one-eyebrow-raised-higher-than-the-other looks!

 

As far as spending time on this forum ... verses doing something "more" productive. Sure ... my time would be better spent doing other things ... like ... say ... practicing! BUT, ... then again, ... I consider this part of teaching and sharing. I gain valuable life-lessons as well as drum lessons from ALL of you (amateur to pros!) Look what this one thread alone is teaching all of us. How we relate and share here, can help us all as we walk away from our screens and deal with personalities outside this forum.

 

The cool thing ... is that we are all drummers (as I now proclaim Lee Flier ... am honorary drummer) and have a deep common thread because of it.

 

Drum on!

 

DJ

 

By the way ... in case you have never heard my definition of an Expert ...

 

... an Ex is a "has been" ... and a spurt is a "drip under pressure!" Let's all take a big deep breath .... and exhale!

 

Once again ... I yield!

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Originally posted by sidereal:

Not to pick another fight here, but Ian, you're way out of line with that one. Again... I work my ass off playing, studying, researching, doing business, getting gigs, checking out the scene, meeting people, etc. I'm not lazy and I'm not discouraged either, I'm very upbeat about where my drumming career has been, where it is, and where it's going. I HAVE stood the test of time.

 

I know you weren't picking on me, but your insinuation that laziness is the reason we're not "professional" by Bart and DJ's standards is inexcusable.

 

sidreal,

I think you do mean to pick a fight!It's really not necessary though!I think we pretty much know that it's a given that we disagree on most things! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

ian*

ian*
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I've been reading his forum off and on for a few weeks but this is the first time I felt I had anything to add. First, to answer the original question, DJ, I'm an amateur and proud of it. For those of you who don't like titles or lables, well too bad. If you call yourself a drummer, you've given yourself a lable and conjured up a stereotype in someone's mind. Accurate or not is immaterial, the lables or titles offered by DJ just further catagorize how much of your income is derived from drumming.

 

Titles are useful. The problem is not with being labled, it is that the stereotypes the lables create aren't often accurate and even it you define them, they still may not fit. For example, I'm an amateur but not a novice. Webster's defines novice as: "a person on probation in a religious order or group, a neophyte, a person new to an occupation or beginner". I've been playing 34 years. I started at age 10, played in high school marching bands and was the first sophomore ever in the history of my high school to make the jazz band. I've been a hobbiest and I seriously thought about making a career out of it. But for me, that meant making it big in a band and I didn't like the odds. So I copped out and went to medical school.

 

Being an amateur is useful. I perform, I just don't seek or accept remuneration. I play for the love of playing and the relaxatin it provides. Because I'm an amateur, there are little expectations placed on me by those asking me to play and because I'm a perfectionist, I feel more relaxed and can enjoy the moment. Being an amateur says nothing about my ability, my experience etc. It just defines me as playing purely for the love of playing. By the way, I'm not stealing jobs from any of you professionals, I don't audition and play only when asked as a favor when another drummer can't be found. It's usually pretty last minute and rarely is very challanging, but I don't play for the challenge.

 

I can understand where Bart is coming from I think, as I'm a professional too. I "practice" medicine. And while I'm a doctor, many folks these days call themselves doctors: chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, etc. None of them have spent the 8 yrs of school and 4+ years of residency that I've put in. Bart has spent years in education and practicing his craft and I can understand why he'd like recognition for that. Unfortunately, life isn't fair and it doesn't matter. As a physician, I may not be able to help someone who is cured by chiropractic and some young kid with no formal education may have great chops, great feel and become very successful. Being professional defines ones behavior and that you derive your income soley from your profession. It doesn't make one talented. And by the way MD, while it's possible someone's daddy bought their way into med. school, to practice you have to pass all three parts of the National Board of Medicine Examination in order to get a license. Also, physicians have over sight by state boards of medical examiners and will loose their license if they practice while impaired, plus we get sued for our mistakes. We can't afford to "suck". All of that just makes us qualified, not "good". Good as in music, is subjective. Patients think we're good if we have great bedside manner, and accurately diagnose and treat their problem. Insurers think we're good if we have low resource utilization and great outcomes, and employers think we're good if we have great patient satisfaction, produce above the median and have low malpractice. There in, is the "art" of "practicing" medicine. On any give day, I can be a good doctor or not.

 

The stereotypes are problematic. Most people think doctors are about as much fun to hang around as ministers (many of whom are a lot of fun). You should have seen the looks I use to get pulling into the resident parking lot at Mayo Clinic with a bumper sticker that read, "SEX DRUMS AND ROCK N ROLL". So don't worry about lables. Don't make assumptions based on titles. And don't be surprised if your doctor can play paradiddles faster than you. Enjoy life, you are, afterall, drummers and have a stereotype to live up to! Skip

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