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Are good musicians some of the most hardworking people?

cantstoplt021

Member
Messages
1,217
I've thought about this a lot, but I think that good musicians have to be some of the most hard working people. Maybe it's just a reflection of myself, but I know that I work my ass off with music to be the best I can be. I've made so many sacrifices in terms of doing things in order to get to where I am (which isn't that much, yet). I spent two years as a pre-med neuroscience student at a top 50 university and managed to maintain around a 3.9 gpa. I then transferred back home to my local state school and switched my major to music. I can say without a doubt I work 1000x harder as a music student than I ever did as a pre-med student. With most majors you go to class (maybe), take notes, wait till the test comes up, study and then take the test. With music you have to practice, boy you have to practice. I'm sure it's different in med school and residency, but still. The amount of hours you need to spend to get to a high level on an instrument is incredible. It's a lot of hard work without a guarantee of success.

Same for the recording world. I'm interning in a studio and the amount of work this guy puts in is incredible as well. He wants to be a pop producer (not my bag really), but he is in there 6-7 days a week, all day, late into the night. He's just always working.

Practicing mixed in with writing, gigging, touring and all that leads me to think that good musicians have to be incredibly hard working. I don't mean the guy who knows a few chords and plays some very mediocre blues while hammered in a dive bar at 1 in the morning, but the Derek Trucks, the Wes Montgomerys, the Bill Evans, etc.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I dont think I am. It's just an incredible commitment that I don't see many others having to make.

And I don't mean to say that other careers don't require hard work, just that music has to be up there.

Discuss.
 

JWDubois

Member
Messages
7,924
We moved to a new house the other day. We hired a "two men and a truck" company to move us. Those guys worked their a$$es off. Doing that every day would be brutal.
 

GearPagent

Member
Messages
472
I think there is something to that... It is difficult, but hopefully you enjoy it and you're doing it, mostly for the personal rewards or satisfactions of doing it right or those moments of "flow". Even (or especially) the top famous players find this to be true. Also to do any of the jobs pictured well, and to find happiness in them you have to adopt the same attitude... You have to want to do it well, and focus and find satisfaction in digging the best ditch you can.

That said most people in actual "product-ive" jobs or musicians both seem more focused on the next job or step in the ladder than the actual task at hand

So for those who ask why music sucks these days or why it's hard to find a good gig, it's probably the same reason it's hard to find a good contractor a good ditchdigger. Music reflects everything else going on in the culture including attitudes about work and how it should be done. We want everything plastic, cheap as possible, and right now.

Now if you have no talent or love for music and you think you're going to just go out there and make a million dollars and get adulation, bj's, money for nothing and the chicks for free... You are in for some very difficult, unsatisfying work indeed.
 
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e???

Member
Messages
2,963
But it's much harder to become a pro musician than it is a roofer, plumber, policeman, etc... so in that way yes. But once you're really doing it, it's not as hard of work day in day out as the other jobs listed. So getting there, yeah, staying there no. Also financially it can be a strain sometimes, which isn't as much of a problem as the other jobs listed
 

dirk_benedict

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,467
Your points are valid but talent certainly helps give you a head start.

As a case in point, take golf. If you read any bio of any successful pro golfer it typically reads something like this "with 2 years of taking the game up as child _____ was playing to a 0 handicap." There is no way that comes completely from grinding it out on range.

The other thing I'll say...is to get to the top of your field takes a tremendous of amount of hard work and luck in any industry.
 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,847
And I don't mean to say that other careers don't require hard work, just that music has to be up there.
It's only 'hard work' if you don't enjoy the job. As for being physically
hard - well some of the happiest people I know come home the stinkiest.
I think the work of Musician's and studio people is mentally exhausting - one
because we do a ton of work and get very little outside recognition or reward.

I think being a Pro Musician or Engineer/Producer can be very stressful -
there are many unknowns and everything one does is subjective - and the last
job can be the last job for a while - unlike a Plumber or Electrician let's say - where
the work they do is easily judged and comes with some semblance of job security.

I liken the work of a Pro Musician or Studio Engineer to be
simliar to being a company owner/Entrepreneurial type. It's
high stress and if you are not of the mindset will kill you sooner
than not.
 

GearPagent

Member
Messages
472
Pro musicians used to be a lot more common.. But it wasn't assumed they would work for free or the love of the game, or that they would bring the bulk of an establishment's business for the night. They provided a service, and didn't have to be a "genius" to be considered compitent.

Law, technology and culture have conspired to make it that a competent musician works for almost nothing, while certain professions can be the equivalent of a bad Mustang Sally band and collect fine German cars for a hobby.

Now, music is the ultimate entreprenurial enterprise. If it ain't magic, (marketable magic, that is) you'll find out quick.
 
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gigs

Member
Messages
10,989
Hard working people in all walks of life. Good to respect others hard work, no matter what the field.
 

DewieCox

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,558
It can be busy work, but unless you're really really absurdly overactive during a live performance, there's not near the work of any sort of manual labor...work at a saw mill, hog farm, or run a weed eater and then try saying that being a musician is hard work.

And that's not to say that some musicians aren't hard workers.
 
M

Member 995

Practicing, studying, writing, and recording never feel like work to me. Hustling for gigs, promoting myself, and schmoozing do. It is the second category that made me really question being a pro.
 

navin johnson

Senior Member
Messages
725
i think a man who gets up and goes to work every day, and does his job best as he can, deserves some measure of respect just for that alone. no matter what his job is. even the guy who rubs oil on vida guerra's backside probably has not so good days. my nephew is going to a respected college for music. i know he's working his butt off. but you know what's cool? when he's 50+ he won't find his whole body broken up from 30 years in the trades. he works in a climate controlled environment. when he goes home at the end of the day, he won't be covered in various kinds of grease and dirt. good for him i say
 

GLB98

Member
Messages
395
I think that the conflation of 'work' as per the OP and hard physical work is a bit misplaced. I know about both. I was a white collar guy, doing engineer and IT for 20 years, and have been a carpenter/contractor for the last almost 10. Certainly my body aches a bit sometimes, I often come home really dirty and tired, I don't care much for summer anymore. But I don't work as 'hard' as I did when I was white collar. They were longer days, and they flew by at lightening speed because of the mental intensity and fast pace, and because of the pressure and frustration. I came home more drained and a lot less pleasant to be around then, than I do now.

Of course 'working' in music sounds to me like a great way to work, if you make some decent money, better than IT, carpentering, growing rice, being a cop. But that doesn't negate the intensity that I suspect many musicians bring to their work, as described by the OP.
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,568
The recent video posting of Paul Rivera's son's interview w studio ace, Jay Graydon, was beyond mind blowing with the amount of record dates, and other hats he wore in the music industry.
BZ!!

Labor of love for sure, and at the time he was among the $$$ LA studio elite, and never took that for granted! He is still super musically motivated.
 




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