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Well, I answered about a question that I understood was if I made the music my living. And of course there are a lot of different questions involved in the "proffesional" theme.

I am of the opinion that people can be proffesional in several backgrounds, as we know today with the pluriemployed (?), as you told of Willie Clancy, etc. but nowadays people usually when say "proffesional" musician (and other arts, painting, writing, etc.) they think in persons that earns money exclusively with music, or painting, or writing, something similar to pop or rock stars and film stars.

 

Proffesional musicians aren't automatically the best players, as many people think wrongly.

Here in Spain people thinks the same, that proffesional implies better directly, without more reasons, but the reality can be different.

 

I respect a lot the musicians that make their life with the music, earning money for living, etc. because it is a very important decision in your life and the most part of them are very brave for doing it.

 

But some of them don't spend more hours of efective playing than musicians that have another way of earning money for living, or they don't play better that other persons that are "amateurs" (lovers in french language, in this case lovers of music).

Of course they could be better because they could spend more time playing and perfecting their technic than others that have another job, but some of them don't.

 

When I hear the word "proffesional" I tremble, I remember the last one I heard it, a tv antennas repairer, that said "don't worry, I am a proffesional", and the first thing he did was to perforate a water piping when he was installing a tv antenna, and moreover he hasn't any insurance in his job.

 

A few cases that I know about "proffesional" musicians they play since years exactly the same things, and the worst of them they become "mafiosi", with managements agencies for contracting directly their own groups with a high price, producing a lot of their own discs, etc. etc. I know also a few "proffesional" musicians that exclude of their circles a few other musicians that are "amateurs", but they remember them if there is a festival where they don't have money for earning. Of course this type of musicians they are the narrower minded.

 

As we know in the past a lot of musicians (popular musicians mainly) weren't "proffesional" full time -at least here in Galicia and Spain- they were peasants, farmers, etc. etc. and played in a social reduced context and it doesn't imply that they were better or worse musicians. Many of them when they played they earned money with it too.

 

A thing that I don't like is when people that earn money playing, when play, makes something similar to the taxi driver, they put the clock and play exactly the time the people pay. Or that they finally don't enjoy themselves when playing. I earn money playing from time to time but it isn't my mainly income, in August, when I have holidays is when musicians play more in Spain, and it is the month when I close my office and I go out of my town with my family and I couldn't be working and on holidays going to festivals to play moreover.

 

I have many friends that are "proffesional" musicians and I play usually with them, and they treat me as another fellow musician, they appreciate the art of the music independtly from where or whom it comes.

 

It occurs in many ways of the life, I have practised martial arts for 28 years, but for some people, as I am not a teacher and I haven't a gym, I aren't a master, independently of my level, and people have their part of reason.

I am studying anthropology now and I have done with my twin brother for many years a lot of field work recordings of galician traditional musicians, and I have published with my brother several books about galician traditional music, but as we aren't proffesional writers, or better, as people think that we earn money with our lawyers jobs and that for us the music is "only" a hobby, when we ask for money for our work -that really it is only a compensation for all the time and money that we spent for searching information, investigating, etc.- they answer, ah but we thought that you didn't want any money at all and that you are lucky enough and you would be glad only if we publish your book!.

(If you want to look some of the books they are in pdf in internet, without the recordings, and they are in galician language, very similar to portuguese, but with spanish transcription, I can give you the links).

 

Sorry because of my long reply and my bad english, and once again all my respect and admiration for the musicians that decide to make of the music his life full time.

 

Félix Castro

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Well, I answered about a question that I understood was if I made the music my living. And of course there are a lot of different questions involved in the "proffesional" theme.

I am of the opinion that people can be proffesional in several backgrounds, as we know today with the pluriemployed (?), as you told of Willie Clancy, etc. but nowadays people usually when say "proffesional" musician (and other arts, painting, writing, etc.) they think in persons that earns money exclusively with music, or painting, or writing, something similar to pop or rock stars and film stars.

 

Proffesional musicians aren't automatically the best players, as many people think wrongly.

Here in Spain people thinks the same, that proffesional implies better directly, without more reasons, but the reality can be different.

 

I respect a lot the musicians that make their life with the music, earning money for living, etc. because it is a very important decision in your life and the most part of them are very brave for doing it.

 

But some of them don't spend more hours of efective playing than musicians that have another way of earning money for living, or they don't play better that other persons that are "amateurs" (lovers in french language, in this case lovers of music).

Of course they could be better because they could spend more time playing and perfecting their technic than others that have another job, but some of them don't.

 

When I hear the word "proffesional" I tremble, I remember the last one I heard it, a tv antennas repairer, that said "don't worry, I am a proffesional", and the first thing he did was to perforate a water piping when he was installing a tv antenna, and moreover he hasn't any insurance in his job.

 

A few cases that I know about "proffesional" musicians they play since years exactly the same things, and the worst of them they become "mafiosi", with managements agencies for contracting directly their own groups with a high price, producing a lot of their own discs, etc. etc. I know also a few "proffesional" musicians that exclude of their circles a few other musicians that are "amateurs", but they remember them if there is a festival where they don't have money for earning. Of course this type of musicians they are the narrower minded.

 

As we know in the past a lot of musicians (popular musicians mainly) weren't "proffesional" full time -at least here in Galicia and Spain- they were peasants, farmers, etc. etc. and played in a social reduced context and it doesn't imply that they were better or worse musicians. Many of them when they played they earned money with it too.

 

A thing that I don't like is when people that earn money playing, when play, makes something similar to the taxi driver, they put the clock and play exactly the time the people pay. Or that they finally don't enjoy themselves when playing. I earn money playing from time to time but it isn't my mainly income, in August, when I have holidays is when musicians play more in Spain, and it is the month when I close my office and I go out of my town with my family and I couldn't be working and on holidays going to festivals to play moreover.

 

I have many friends that are "proffesional" musicians and I play usually with them, and they treat me as another fellow musician, they appreciate the art of the music independtly from where or whom it comes.

 

It occurs in many ways of the life, I have practised martial arts for 28 years, but for some people, as I am not a teacher and I haven't a gym, I aren't a master, independently of my level, and people have their part of reason.

I am studying anthropology now and I have done with my twin brother for many years a lot of field work recordings of galician traditional musicians, and I have published with my brother several books about galician traditional music, but as we aren't proffesional writers, or better, as people think that we earn money with our lawyers jobs and that for us the music is "only" a hobby, when we ask for money for our work -that really it is only a compensation for all the time and money that we spent for searching information, investigating, etc.- they answer, ah but we thought that you didn't want any money at all and that you are lucky enough and you would be glad only if we publish your book!.

(If you want to look some of the books they are in pdf in internet, without the recordings, and they are in galician language, very similar to portuguese, but with spanish transcription, I can give you the links).

 

Sorry because of my long reply and my bad english, and once again all my respect and admiration for the musicians that decide to make of the music his life full time.

 

Félix Castro

Felix,

Your response and English enlighten what it means to be a professional A professional is one whose music emanates from their soul and is whose egoless intention is to create. Pure and Simple.

Samuel Butler wrote: "Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself."

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Well, I answered about a question that I understood was if I made the music my living. And of course there are a lot of different questions involved in the "proffesional" theme.

I am of the opinion that people can be proffesional in several backgrounds, as we know today with the pluriemployed (?), as you told of Willie Clancy, etc. but nowadays people usually when say "proffesional" musician (and other arts, painting, writing, etc.) they think in persons that earns money exclusively with music, or painting, or writing, something similar to pop or rock stars and film stars.

 

Proffesional musicians aren't automatically the best players, as many people think wrongly.

Here in Spain people thinks the same, that proffesional implies better directly, without more reasons, but the reality can be different.

 

I respect a lot the musicians that make their life with the music, earning money for living, etc. because it is a very important decision in your life and the most part of them are very brave for doing it.

 

But some of them don't spend more hours of efective playing than musicians that have another way of earning money for living, or they don't play better that other persons that are "amateurs" (lovers in french language, in this case lovers of music).

Of course they could be better because they could spend more time playing and perfecting their technic than others that have another job, but some of them don't.

 

When I hear the word "proffesional" I tremble, I remember the last one I heard it, a tv antennas repairer, that said "don't worry, I am a proffesional", and the first thing he did was to perforate a water piping when he was installing a tv antenna, and moreover he hasn't any insurance in his job.

 

A few cases that I know about "proffesional" musicians they play since years exactly the same things, and the worst of them they become "mafiosi", with managements agencies for contracting directly their own groups with a high price, producing a lot of their own discs, etc. etc. I know also a few "proffesional" musicians that exclude of their circles a few other musicians that are "amateurs", but they remember them if there is a festival where they don't have money for earning. Of course this type of musicians they are the narrower minded.

 

As we know in the past a lot of musicians (popular musicians mainly) weren't "proffesional" full time -at least here in Galicia and Spain- they were peasants, farmers, etc. etc. and played in a social reduced context and it doesn't imply that they were better or worse musicians. Many of them when they played they earned money with it too.

 

A thing that I don't like is when people that earn money playing, when play, makes something similar to the taxi driver, they put the clock and play exactly the time the people pay. Or that they finally don't enjoy themselves when playing. I earn money playing from time to time but it isn't my mainly income, in August, when I have holidays is when musicians play more in Spain, and it is the month when I close my office and I go out of my town with my family and I couldn't be working and on holidays going to festivals to play moreover.

 

I have many friends that are "proffesional" musicians and I play usually with them, and they treat me as another fellow musician, they appreciate the art of the music independtly from where or whom it comes.

 

It occurs in many ways of the life, I have practised martial arts for 28 years, but for some people, as I am not a teacher and I haven't a gym, I aren't a master, independently of my level, and people have their part of reason.

I am studying anthropology now and I have done with my twin brother for many years a lot of field work recordings of galician traditional musicians, and I have published with my brother several books about galician traditional music, but as we aren't proffesional writers, or better, as people think that we earn money with our lawyers jobs and that for us the music is "only" a hobby, when we ask for money for our work -that really it is only a compensation for all the time and money that we spent for searching information, investigating, etc.- they answer, ah but we thought that you didn't want any money at all and that you are lucky enough and you would be glad only if we publish your book!.

(If you want to look some of the books they are in pdf in internet, without the recordings, and they are in galician language, very similar to portuguese, but with spanish transcription, I can give you the links).

 

Sorry because of my long reply and my bad english, and once again all my respect and admiration for the musicians that decide to make of the music his life full time.

 

Félix Castro

Felix,

Your response and English enlighten what it means to be a professional A professional is one whose music emanates from their soul and is whose egoless intention is to create. Pure and Simple.

Samuel Butler wrote: "Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself."

rss

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Castro's lovely post. Right now I'm thinking of a law professor I know who plays argentine bandoneon with his tango band, and gigs with them for local tango milongas where he lives, and of a constitutional lawyer and brilliant piano accordionist in my city whose klezmer band headlines at klezmer festivals and workshops and steadily works klezmer events, weddings, bar mitzavahs, etc....that is, when he's not off helping nascent democracies write their constitutions. then there's flute player frank claudy, M.D., not to mention surgeon bertram levy, master of irish concertina AND argentine bandoneon.....phD physicist Charlie Lennon, composer, fiddler, and King of Swing.....the Rev. Monsignor Charles Coen....Tony DeMarco, who until recently was a coffee trader on the New York Stock Exchange simultaneously with his er, "pro" fiddler career, Liz Carroll, R.N. (though I don't believe currently nursing).

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It is undoubtedly true that many people can achieve great things, whether in music, sport, or something else, in addition to their main occupation. It is also possibly true that high achievers in one area are also likely to be high achievers in another.

 

The fact remains that most of us have to earn a living, which means that one activity has to take priority, even if it's not where your heart lies.

 

Do you say, "I can't take that gig on Tuesday, I've got to go to work" or "I can't go to work on Tuesday, I've got a gig"?

 

My original question, which I thought I'd made pretty clear, was about people whose main source of income comes from music. It was not about ability, or attitude, or spiritual feeling, or any of the other meanings which might be attributed to the word "professional"

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It is undoubtedly true that many people can achieve great things, whether in music, sport, or something else, in addition to their main occupation. It is also possibly true that high achievers in one area are also likely to be high achievers in another.

 

The fact remains that most of us have to earn a living, which means that one activity has to take priority, even if it's not where your heart lies.

 

Do you say, "I can't take that gig on Tuesday, I've got to go to work" or "I can't go to work on Tuesday, I've got a gig"?

 

My original question, which I thought I'd made pretty clear, was about people whose main source of income comes from music. It was not about ability, or attitude, or spiritual feeling, or any of the other meanings which might be attributed to the word "professional"

 

Yes, it was what I undestood about your question.

Thankyou very much for your kind coments, I think the same, music that emanates from the soul is the important thing, and the love put in each work is the difference.

Alan, you are a Musician.

 

I think that the adjectives aren't necessary, they are used very usually for doing discriminations.

 

Some of my friends that were "proffesional" finally they decided to be again "not proffesional", making money in another ways, i. e. the wonderful group Llan de Cubel, because they are a very famous group, and they can decide to play just the festivals they want and they like, and not doing extremely long gigs, paying less and playing more, far from their family, etc.

Musician life is a very hard life in many aspects, many times people have to do the things that public like, not the things their like, launching almost all the years new cds, if not people quickly forget them... etc. They depend of managers, sound technics...

Years ago, in the tradicional music way, there weren't such impositions, people could be playing for years the same few tunes, and people danced and danced, and danced again ;-).

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Although I seem to be working full time at concertina related things, I havn't made a penny .What does that make me?

Answers on a postcard please.

Al rolleyes.gif

 

 

Alan

You seem to embody the true meaning of an 'amateur' an enthusist who does it for love of the concertina and not for gain.

In the old days they were often people of independent means, like 'gentlemen' sportsmaen asopposed to professionals or 'players' in cricket, nowadays they are likely to be pensionerssmile.gif or people who deliberately live low on the food chain to follow their interest, or have made a few bob and can now take it easier.

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Although I seem to be working full time at concertina related things, I havn't made a penny .What does that make me?

Answers on a postcard please.

Al rolleyes.gif

 

 

Alan

You seem to embody the true meaning of an 'amateur' an enthusist who does it for love of the concertina and not for gain.

In the old days they were often people of independent means, like 'gentlemen' sportsmaen asopposed to professionals or 'players' in cricket, nowadays they are likely to be pensionerssmile.gif or people who deliberately live low on the food chain to follow their interest, or have made a few bob and can now take it easier.

Just about sums me up Michael, but I would not want it any other way. I would never have wanted the worry of playing the concertina to enable me to pay my mortgage,food, petrol too and from gigs. I have spent many nights in hotels when I was selling and it is a very lonely life, particularly when you get back to your hotel room. JK always travels home at the end of a gig and I can understand why. The bits of excitement being successful on stage, the joy of a CD or record being well received, the wonderful music evenings etc I take the Amateur route every time. Now I have retired I have more time to play and practice as a professional would and sometimes wonder at just a few of my recordings and think, surely that cannot be me.There may be a few gigs in the pipeline so I may even have enough for a kebab on the way home.

Al B)

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Hi Howard,

I suspect that the majority of names on your list do not earn more than half their income/living from specifically playing the concertina. Brilliant musicians are usually gifted and in more than one field and are often in demand from other spheres. Chris Sherburn, for instance, is a brilliant engineer and boat restorer and can turn his 'hands' to almost anything. He is also as much regarded in the folk world for his comedy as his concertina playing.

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Hi Howard,

I suspect that the majority of names on your list do not earn more than half their income/living from specifically playing the concertina. Brilliant musicians are usually gifted and in more than one field and are often in demand from other spheres. Chris Sherburn, for instance, is a brilliant engineer and boat restorer and can turn his 'hands' to almost anything. He is also as much regarded in the folk world for his comedy as his concertina playing.

 

That may indeed be the case. Nowadays, with the emergence of "portfolio careers" it can become difficult to define a person by a single occupation.

 

There is something called BritFolk (British Folk), which describes itself as a self-help organisation for UK-based professional folk performers. Membership is restricted to "performers living, working or seriously touring in the UK and earning all, or a significant part of their income in that way". I suppose that is the sort of definition of professional I had in mind (without of course restricting it to the UK).

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I went to a classical violin performance the other night, very good. In the local press I read that the young performer said he was inspired at age 3 and started lessons. He went to a teacher and a music school. Then to Eton public school (private in UK!) Then a gap year following a master player, then a conservatoire etc etc and is now aan acclaimed professional maestro.

 

 

In the past I suppose if you found a patron or a Gaelic chieftain or a King who wanted minstrels or a Cathedral you could embark on such a career as a bard .

 

Nowadays it's a whole new ball game and I wonder what file sharing will do to musicians.

 

 

 

My son who is doing his best to be a pro. says the money is in big gigs and merchandise rather than being signed by a company or selling downloads.

 

 

 

Although... I was staggered to see how much the Oz band Men at Work (they of the dirty vests in the 80s) or their management had to pay out for the riff taken from Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree from their Record Land Down Under

 

One hit and you can live off the PRS money I reckon.

 

 

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One hit and you can live off the PRS money I reckon.

 

Just need a good theme tune...The father of a good friend Brian Fahey (Conductor of the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra many years ago)

Wrote a catchy little tune called "The sound of the swinging cymbal"

After lying around doing nothing for a few years, it was discovered by the DJ Alan "Fluff" Freeman....The rest is history....and the cheques are still rolling in!

Edited by Ralph Jordan
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I seem to remembebr the Oyster Band saying they recorded Day Trip to Bangor (originally Bognor) as Fidler's Dram and invested te money in a recording set up. I think they said it was like 'selling your soul...'

 

 

'Ah shuddup a your face Mike 'smile.gif Joe Dolci said it pays the rent

 

I think the story of Bangor goes like this.

Certainly, the Lady who wrote the song (Damn, can't remember her name at the moment), did very well financially, and probably still is!

Raised the profile of Fiddlers Dram for a bit, until they morphed into the Oyster Ceilidh Band, and then the Oyster band.

I do recall that part of the profits from Bangor, enabled the studio to buy A Studer A80 16 track machine. (I know this because a year later my band recorded our first album on it!)

 

So I say again...Copyright anything you've written, You never know!

I was told once, that If you wrote anything, Song Tune, whatever. That you should post a copy (registered of course) to yourself, and keep it safe and un-opened, just in case it becomes a hit. Wouldn't do any harm!

 

(I always wondered if Ewan McColl copyrighted "The first time ever I saw your face"?)....Hope so!

Oh and theres the much told story about the Martin Carthy/Paul Simon/Scarborough Fair saga. Now happily resolved.

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I seem to remember the Oyster Band saying they recorded Day Trip to Bangor (originally Bognor) as Fidler's Dram and invested te money in a recording set up. I think they said it was like 'selling your soul...'

 

 

Debbie Cook wrote "Day Trip To Bangor". It was apparently actually inspired after a day trip to Rhyl (a seaside resort 35 miles east of Bangor, North Wales), but because Bangor had an extra syllable and slipped off the tongue easier it was used ahead of Rhyl. She went on to write scripts for the BBC, including The Archers.

 

Chris

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