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View Poll Results: what makes people basically afraid of being a musician?

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  • feel lacking talent, or the "it" factor

    21 56.76%
  • feel lacking passion, or persistence

    12 32.43%
  • afraid of overwhelming expectations they'll be getting

    9 24.32%
  • afraid of the amount of spotlight, and thus lack of privacy

    7 18.92%
  • fear of lack of money, for daily living needs

    19 51.35%
  • not according to standard common society's wants of you

    9 24.32%
  • other (please explain below)

    8 21.62%
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Results 11 to 20 of 43

  1. #11
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Let me add: Even though my career pursuit has shifted, I'll always be involved in music for it is definitely one of, if not wholly, my biggest passions. You're playing with cards when you try to break in to and "make it" in the music business and for some that's too much ambiguity to stomach. Doing a full time job and music on the side never hurt any body and I know many people that do this. I don't think it's always wise to put all your eggs in one basket in regards to this subject. It's all too easy to pay your way through a trade/music school and end up not much further past where you started. Like I said, the skills are only a small portion of assets you'll need. There's always those special situations where a pretty voice will be heard and the next thing you know, she's got a record contract and is making platinum selling albums. These cases are by far and large in the minority. Be wise, be careful but don't give up on your passions.

    edit: Niki, I'm only speaking generally and not directly to you. If that thrill of the ups-and-downs and inconsitencies is intriguing and an appeal to you, that's awesome and I hope it works in your benefit. Really. Good luck on your endeavours.
    Last edited by swordpath; 04-09-2009 at 01:23 AM.

  2. #12
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    So you're exclusively talking about being a musician as a career, and never for pleasure?

    Then for me, it'd certainly be the money factor. It's the same for a lot of other people, too. Musicians just don't get paid a lot unless they're the top of the top.

    I mean, I may not want to be a musician, but I want to be a novelist. Because of this, I know I want to get a 'real job' first. However, because of the way people write novels, it's a lot easier to be a novelist on the side than a musician on the side because the hours and hours of work one needs to do can be more spread out.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #13
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    ^ You don't have to be generic and copy the exact molds of other artists to play a style that's popular. The successful musicians assimilate the best parts of a given style and then play it in a unique way. (The point of my statement about playing a style that's popular was mainly that you really can't make it anywhere playing just anything you feel like; it has to be commercially relevant.)

    And the most important thing in the music industry, by far, is networking. The way to do it is:

    1) Being really good thru experience,
    2) Going absolutely nuts with self-promotion and marketing yourself, and
    3) Eventually extending your network far enough that you find someone in a position of importance in the industry who cares enough to invest time/money in you.

    The "it" factor is a myth; it just comes from practicing enough to reach a high skill level. Talent helps, but it doesn't guarantee you anything. It does not mean you don't have to practice a lot; it just means you don't have to practice quite as much as other people. There is no easy way to the top in music, no matter who you are.

    American Idol culture would have you believe that singing is this God-given gift and you're either fantastic straight out of the womb or you'll always be horrible so don't even bother trying. That's also a total myth; voice is just another instrument. Anyone you've ever heard sing really well has put in an enormous amount of time practicing, no matter what they tell you.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  4. #14
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    The "it" factor is a myth; it just comes from practicing enough to reach a high skill level. Talent helps, but it doesn't guarantee you anything. It does not mean you don't have to practice a lot; it just means you don't have to practice quite as much as other people. There is no easy way to the top in music, no matter who you are.
    +1000 In a way, the "it" factor is just basically the drive and persistence to work toward it.
    "All humour has a foundation of truth."
    - Costrin

  5. #15
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niki View Post
    i would beg to differ in the bolded words above.
    history has shown that some of the greatest musicians who were hugely succesful, and even can still be immensely remembered up until now, were not the ones who's -in lack of better words- only copying & re-phrasing from other songs, but to create a really unique, breakthrough sound , or even genre.
    take Queen for example, with their 1st single Bohemian Rhapsody.
    i've read the story that big major labels used to follow the principle of "it's not going to be commercially succesful" , and thus rejected that song.
    but Freddie didn't give up, at one event in his friend's DJ party, he gave it to his friend, and his friend played it , and unexpectedly, a lot of common people there LIKES it..............and the rest is history.
    this is still not to mention many many other great-breakthrough artists, such as Dream Theater, and then there's now Radiohead, Muse .

    I personally still believe that , despite that mainstream people often got labeled as those idealist type of musicians as "shallow ear" , however, I think most people still have good ear & good mind to discern & quickly recognize what's really good-quality, yet also very good song, music, and musicians.
    thorough my own observations & also experiences, I've seen this example many many times, even spanning to Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, Japan.
    high-quality (or very-talented) artists/musicians usually at least got recognized quickly, and it's usually only a matter of time, until their xx-th album got hugely recognized, and thus become huge success.

    of course, obviously, there're also artists/musicians who're overrated . in lack of better words: those that we feel they're lacking apparent talent, or skill, etc.

    but back to my first point above, i think that's the 'beauty' of the music world : it's unexpected. you can never predict it. it's non-linear path. it's full of thrill & adventure, high-and-low.
    it rushes one's adrenaline , and that's what makes it an exciting journey of itself , that makes some people still persistent to want to be a musician, even after knowing all the risks & consequences they'll face
    Missed this post, apparently...

    First point: Dream Theater is not a breakthrough artist. They're Berklee-born, Malmsteen-grade wankery without a drop of soul, and they don't make nearly as much money as you think they do.

    Besides, in terms of commercial success, they're the exception. To succeed in playing original music, you must master a given genre better than your competition, and even then you only have access to the limited size of that particular market.

    Radiohead, on the other hand, really is a big breakthrough artist. But have you heard their first record, Pablo Honey? There's nothing revolutionary about it--it's mediocre punk, but that was popular in the UK circa 1993 and the success of "Creep" (which is not particularly original or groundbreaking) landed them a six-album deal with EMI, which gave them the financial support and resources they needed to actually record better music.

    The Beatles did exactly the same thing: They got a big record company to invest early because they were playing music that sounded like what was popular at the time, and they used that to generate a big enough built-in audience that they could play whatever they wanted to later in their career.

    As for Muse, well...I do enjoy them (seen their live show several times and it was pretty solid), but they're really not in the same boat as Radiohead in terms of originality. They play big exciting arena rock and it sells very well. I'm not sure what you think is so groundbreaking about them, either.


    Look, point is...I'm not saying that no weird seemingly unmarketable artists ever make it, just that they have to run their business independently and so the traditional means of mass promotion (commercial radio, TV ads, etc.) are completely unavailable to them. Once in a blue moon, one of them sticks it out long enough on their own to truly build a noted national following, but very rarely.

    And even so, my point that you can't play just anything you feel like and expect success is still valid--DT was able to build a local following because there was a local market for their music. They are pretty successful...for a mostly-instrumental prog rock band. You have to realize that, commercially speaking, they're limited from the start because they're aiming for such a comparatively small demographic with that style. They're never going to get serious airplay or chart a top 10 hit.

    Of course, I'm sure none of that matters to them, but I think much of your viewpoint on this is rooted in a kind of naivete about the success of so-called "rock stars": even a lot of "big bands" that many people nationally have heard of are really not making nearly as much money as you think they are!

    Granted, legendary household names who fill up huge stadiums on tour after tour (people like Metallica, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews) actually are pulling in mega millions, but they're the exception even among the professional top-level touring industry--and they got there by playing a mass-marketable style of music.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  6. #16
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    ...I wonder if people have actually thought about the 'positive' things they'll be getting at, like:
    - the touch of human soul. consider that this is such a benevolent task to do, when you're a musician.
    - some musician friends of mine often told me that being a 'true' musician is not about money, but it's about "a good karma". very abstract indeed..
    - seeing those smiles in people's faces = priceless ?
    - inspiring people
    i think those are great things... but honestly, especially if you are part of a family and you need income for your children and have a host of practical restraints, all the good feelings in the world and all these positives mean nothing.

    It doesn't mean you shouldn't pledge yourself to full-time music anyway, but it does mean it's going to have a tremendous cost that you will have to live with on a daily basis for you and potentially others -- a lot of risk for little security -- and so you'll have to find a way to find that acceptable. Many people just can't live with that amount of uncertainty.

    I just met someone recently who is in his mid-50's, a well-experienced guitarist, who basically was unable to provide for his kids under custody of his ex and who just sold off about everything he had, had his power cut, lost his internet, had no money for food, etc. Right now he has nothing to lose so he's managed to find someone to let him stay in exchange for what little equipment he has left + the opportunity to make more music, but really... this isn't a game. All these good things you mention are wonderful things and valuable, but they come at a damned high cost; people can easily consider them seriously and STILL decide it's not worth the risk and pain involved... and that's not a bad decision.

    Edit: This thread is amusing -- I see the arguments as based more on personality differences and the ways each type tends to view a topic like this, rather than because one side is particularly "correct"... although some posters are asserting their way is more accurate. Really, there's lots of valid reasons for not going into music, the OP suggested many of them and a few more came up in the conversation. The reasons that an individual might prioritize them are based on their personality, not upon some universal standard. To suggest a few answers are universal diminishes the answer to apply to merely a subset of potential musicians.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #17
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    Speaking as a musician...

    Being a good musician requires hours/years of hard work followed by mixed reviews and no promise of what most would call success.

    I notice that many young people starting out give up their instruments fairly quickly when confronted with the work that it takes.

    You have to be someone who LOVES doing it, to get past that learning curve (though you're always learning) and you have to be willing to learn from others and to grow and you can't depend on 100% support from others.

    It takes a special breed.

    That's why if you start kids young and they keep going they are more likely to stick to it as adults because they get through that first frustrating (for most) phase of learning. Then as adults, or older teens, they can start developing their abilities into something unique and pleasurable for themselves and others to hear.

    My ISFJ boyfriend started playing the drums and guitar as a very young boy (both parents are musicians) and now at 28 he is regarded as the best songwriter in our area, as well as being just incredibly talented from my perspective, with a John Lennon-esque voice (swoon). He can play just about any instrument he tries for a few hours (but this took a whole childhood to develop).

    I started later, at 10, playing the piano, and played it obsessively for years.

    I taught piano full time (private lessons) for a few years and the kids who won't practice or quit, no matter how much they might fancy becoming great performing musicians, just don't have the STUFF. It's not always talent, you gotta be willing to DO.

  8. #18
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    One of the things that kept me from pursuing the guitar was callusing my fingertips. For real. I could not get myself to do that. I have very sensitive fingertips and I could not stand having to mess with them. I did take piano for six years, but I got bored of it and I have small hands. If I were take it back up, I would probably just sing and write songs (I write songs occasionally now). Maybe get a keyboard and acoustic guitar. I mess around on harmonica sometimes.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #19
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    ^ lol pick up an upright bass for 5 minutes sometime. guitar will feel like a joke.

    I can play bass guitar for hours and hours on end without hurting my fingers, but 30 minutes on an upright is still pretty excruciating.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  10. #20
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I think that Queen story is apocryphal. They were already signed to EMI/Elektra at the time "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released. I am sure they probably had record execs telling that it could not be a single (too long, too weird, too many parts), but they were on a major label and were one of the hottest bands in the world before that song was even released.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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