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-   -   How Do You Move From Guitarist To Musician? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251829)

Mr Fixit eh 05-16-2012 08:27 PM

How Do You Move From Guitarist To Musician?
 
There is great thread about the difference between a guitarist and a musician in the General forum http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=251678

I accept that there is a difference. I desire to play my guitar like a musician - with soul and feeling. Sadly, when I listen to my posts in Show n Tell, I think I still tend to play more like a technician or 'guitar player'.

How do I move towards musicianship?

Steve

HHP 05-16-2012 08:35 PM

I would say you have to immerse yourself in listening to the music you like, all instruments, until you have the sound hard wired in. When you play, think about those sounds and strive to replicate them in your own way.

Bob1131 05-16-2012 09:14 PM

Steve, I read that thread and I think it is mostly semantics. Literally, a guitarist is a musician. The debate is actually about philosophy. In business, it is often said that "we are in business to make money, not widgets." The idea is that decision making should be focused on maximizing profit. If the business only focuses on making widgets, then it will not stay in business for long! Similarly, there are people who focus on playing the guitar rather than focusing on making music with a guitar. One is said to be a guitar player while the other is said to be a musician. Semantics, IMHO.

I have listened to your posted songs, so I know you play guitar to make music, that is, to play and sing songs. So, what you are hearing when you listen to your tracks is a developing musician, not just a guy trying to play guitar! Don't mistake your efforts for just guitar playing and conversely don't expect advanced musicianship from novice skills. Playing well with good use of technique and dynamics takes practice....not just time, but earnest practice.

Just playing a riff or song over and over will develop muscle memory but will not necessarily improve the musicality of the song! Remember that Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result each time. So, if it doesn't sound like good music to you, listen critically to your work to identify opportunities for improvement and then work to actually improve. Playing with more advanced musicians and/or taking lessons will also help. Just for the record, I've heard improvement in your musicianship since you started posting, so I think you are on the right track!

upsidedown 05-16-2012 09:16 PM

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall.

Dark Eyed Junko 05-16-2012 09:42 PM

The road to musicianship cannot be seen until you've already traveled it, as I'm still in the process of finding out. But my road has been taking me to very cool places so far. My advice is to get out and gig as often as possible. I played for twenty years on my couch, sometimes on the couches of others, and once in a while, at a local coffee shop and/or open mic.

But in the last year and a half, since I started gigging as often as I can, I have seen and felt a tremendous growth. It's not just the time put in playing; doing it live in front of people (even as background, which I usually am) demands more and different things of you than just practicing at home, and you explore the music differently.

Songs that I've been playing mechanically since high school are suddenly sounding richer and fresh and more, well, musical. It's been an excellent experience, and I recommend it to all.

XYRN 05-16-2012 10:48 PM

It is a philosophical question, and I look at it the other way around.

I feel like I am a musician, but I am not yet a guitarist.
Music moves me, inspires me, consoles me. I have timing, a 'good ear', etc. Sure, I don't understand textbook music theory, but neither did Hendrix.

So my playing sounds plinky - like a toddler at the Fisher Price piano.
In my perception, a "guitarist" is a musician that has achieved a sufficient level of skill that allows them to channel their musicianship through a guitar.

Whether it's semantics or connotations, that's just the way I've always looked at it.
We talk about pianists, clarinetists, bassoonists - and it is assumed that they are musicians.
So, why does it seem like "guitarist" is being hinted at as anything lesser?
-K

rick-slo 05-16-2012 11:00 PM

Much of being a musician, or at least playing musically, comes from what is internalized inside your head. How do you connect with the music you are playing? On a given song what meaning does it have for you at a this particular point in time? What story does it tell and/or mood does it inspire in you? You have to feel that or it won't come out spontaneously in your playing. Yes, you may be able to copy accurately what you have heard someone play, but you will be static and have little flexibility.

In different styles of music you can possess varying degrees of musicality. You will be most tapped in musically in the styles you are familiar with. A lot of that familiarity comes from a lot of listening during which you apply both your mind and your ears carefully. Listening musically comes before playing musically.

Mojo21 05-17-2012 12:54 AM

I believe, as others have said, that it is philosophical question; the answer which is determined by your own belief system and experiences of music.

If there was some kind of test to determine who is a musician and who isn't I wonder what that would be?

My philosophy is that anyone who plays an instrument with a genuine desire to create music is a musician.

mr. beaumont 05-17-2012 05:07 AM

Listen...communicate...understand...get away from the "guitar centric" view
.

j3ffr0 05-17-2012 06:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Fixit eh (Post 3042809)
There is great thread about the difference between a guitarist and a musician in the General forum http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=251678

I accept that there is a difference. I desire to play my guitar like a musician - with soul and feeling. Sadly, when I listen to my posts in Show n Tell, I think I still tend to play more like a technician or 'guitar player'.

How do I move towards musicianship?

Steve

Learn theory and apply it often. Plenty of good books available

ljguitar 05-17-2012 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Fixit eh (Post 3042809)
...I accept that there is a difference.
...How do I move towards musicianship?

Hi Steve...

If we go by simple definitions, then all guitarists are musicians, as are all clarinet players, and those who play violin etc. It just indicates that all musicians are not guitarists...

If you want to play more musically, then you must learn and apply more musical devices in your arranging and execution. I'm not talking about playing all the right notes, or speed, or accuracy. Those are expected basic techniques...what we need to be developing are musical theatrics (how we share it with the world).

Muriel Anderson taught a wonderful clinic at Healdsburg 2005 titled "Putting your heart into your hands..." and it was a great discussion on how to become more musical. Her topic points covered arranging, tempo, dynamics, fluidity, relaxing and/or breathing while playing, etc.

From her perspective, getting the notes correct is just step one. From there an arrangement is sculpted, and then shared.

Hope this helps...

I know it caused me to start thinking and playing much differently.



chewie 05-17-2012 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Fixit eh (Post 3042809)
There is great thread about the difference between a guitarist and a musician in the General forum http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=251678

I accept that there is a difference. I desire to play my guitar like a musician - with soul and feeling. Sadly, when I listen to my posts in Show n Tell, I think I still tend to play more like a technician or 'guitar player'.

How do I move towards musicianship?

Steve

Just the fact that you are aware that you are playing like a technician is the answer. That awareness is what will drive you to work pieces and parts of pieces over and over looking for how to express them best, and seeking out weaknesses and eliminating them.

So I guess I'd answer that other thread similarly. A guitarist is someone who specialises in playing the guitar. A musician is someone who plays music. But if by "Musician" you mean that extra spark, that different class, then it just comes down to having a workmanlike attitude to the work of music, rather than just playing it. It's simple, proper craftsmanship.

That isn't to say there's anything inferior about "just" playing. It's just pernickety semantics of language. We could ponder if there's a define-able difference between a guitarist and a guitar player, for example. We could come up with much the same conclusions too - or not.

Because for all I've said about craftmanship, there are many examples of great players and composers of all kinds of music for all kinds of instruments that would not fulfill this and yet are tons more "musical" than the most craftspersonly of muso's. I'm referring to another way to see a difference between a player and a musician - a person who plays with heart and soul, as opposed to just playing the notes in the right order at the right times, with the right dynamics.

So - back to your question: Just keep up that awareness and you're on the road to where you wanna go.

mr. beaumont 05-17-2012 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ffr0 (Post 3043091)
Learn theory and apply it often. Plenty of good books available

I don't think you need to know any theory to be a "musician," but if you can't be bothered to learn a few things about music, you better have a darn good ear and a clear way of explaining things...

Really, theory is only necessary for certain musicians...but some fundamentals...now that stuff seperates the men from the boys--whether they know the stuff through formal training or intuitively...

JonPR 05-17-2012 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob1131 (Post 3042851)
Steve, I read that thread and I think it is mostly semantics. Literally, a guitarist is a musician. The debate is actually about philosophy. In business, it is often said that "we are in business to make money, not widgets." The idea is that decision making should be focused on maximizing profit. If the business only focuses on making widgets, then it will not stay in business for long!

But that's the wrong way round. If people need widgets, that's the reason for the business in the first place. You can't make money if nobody wants widgets. As long as they want widgets, you'll make money (assuming you price them so as to give you a good profit). If they stop wanting widgets, that's when you go out of business. Unless you produce an expensive advertising campaign about how cool widgets are... ;) (That's salesmanship, of course: persuading people they want them, even if they don't need them.)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob1131 (Post 3042851)
Similarly, there are people who focus on playing the guitar rather than focusing on making music with a guitar. One is said to be a guitar player while the other is said to be a musician. Semantics, IMHO.

It's an important (or at least interesting) distinction, though.

It's about being satisfied with technical achievement, without thinking about the purpose of that achievement. Risking semantics again, it comes down to how one defines "music" and what one thinks it's for.

Of course, in one sense, anyone plonking a few notes on a piano is producing "music". A cat walking across the keys might come up with something that sounds good - but I doubt we'd call any random bunch of notes "music".
IOW, "music" implies some kind of meaningful organisation of notes (and rhythms). And the meaning has to be perceptible, communicable - it's no good for the composer to understand it if it just sounds like meaningless noise to everyone else.
IOW, there is a language we use when we play music. The technique is about learning how to manipulate an instrument to follow the rules of that language.
We could train our voices to produce all kinds of weird sounds, but unless we form words we're not saying anything.

So a "musician" has to be in the business of "saying something". Not just making clever noises on his instrument. There are a lot of guitarists who - while they may begin with a love of music, a desire to learn how to make it - end up immersed in the technicalities of scales, fretting, picking, etc. The sounds they produce are more like circus tricks or magic acts. They make you go "wow" without actually telling you anything, or making you feel anything other than astonishment.

The reason guitarists tend to be different from other musicians is that they have their own form of notation in tab, which encourages a kind of ghetto mentality. Guitarists often claim they don't "need" to read music, the way other musicians do. But that results in a typical inferiority complex, as they seek pride in technical achievement rather than broader musicianship skills.

At the same time, other musicians - who do need to read - can get snobby about it, as if musical literacy by itself is proof of musicianship: "I can read music, so I'm a musician. Guitarists can't, so they're not."
No - you have to, they don't.

(The mystery for me is why any guitarist would not want to learn to read music. Why cut yourself off from so much? Why put yourself in that ghetto?)

Musicianship is something else, however. It's about seeing your instrument as simply a tool, like any other. You are a musician, who happens to use a guitar. Not a guitarist struggling to be a musician.
As a "musician who plays guitar", you accept that your tool has both advantages and disadvantages in comparison with other instruments. It forces you to make music in a certain way. But - being a musician - you don't exult in its advantages (like the crude "guitarist" with the inferiority complex does), because you're always aware of what it can't do. There is always so much more to say than you can say with a mere guitar - no matter how technically skilled you become.

Paikon 05-17-2012 08:47 AM

in order to be an expressive guitar player you should first be a technical player
i 've watched a couple of your yt videos and i think you need to practice in technique (clean notes for example)
once your playing is confident technically you dont have to think about chords for example but only about music !
one other thing is letting your soul out when you play, play with passion


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