a more nuanced question about professional musicians...

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okay so it seems theres results on search engines, that seem to talk about: music as a hobby OR music as a profession. and people in between who want to go back to it as a hobby, and others who want to go pro.
but ive never seen people discuss pro musicians who actually SEE it as a hobby, but also get PAID.
as exmaple ( from a different profession )..
Gary Anderson is a professional darts player over in the UK. and his view on the game has always been on darts as a hobby, even though he is one of the best performing darts players of our times, and also is perfectly capable as a player on his day of getting to the finals in some competitions.
admittedly he has seen this hobby view of darts as a detriment to his progress. but the question stays the same....
do you know of any professional musicians, in the fame sphere, who arent interested in being too serious about their craft, views it as a fun thing, AND gets paid a decent amount to do it as a job ?
i think ive explained it well, please if you want more clarification to what i mean.
cheers

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If you are a professional musician and you see it as just a job, then you may be in the wrong job. For most of the professionals I have met, their passionate desire to continue as a musician (despite long hauls, hours of soundchecks followed by hours to kill before the concert, flea bitten motel rooms, etc) is what drives them. So, they would probably find your question unfathomable. There are those who have hobbies that they get passionate about, but very few become professionals as a result of that passion, sadly.

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@mikeb

How do you define "professional"? I define it as meaning they make a living doing music-related things, don't have another money-making job. My definition precludes them not being serious about it or considering it a 'hobby'. Certainly they can still have fun and enjoy making music/doing music things. But 'work' and 'hobby' don't coincide.

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this question of professional vs hobbyist makes me sick. in my opinion, most musicianbs who identify as professional are the worst musicians. i prefer to call them journeymen. they play their instruments as machinists operate their machines. and they are paid for their labor. i would never call myself either a professional musican or a hobbyist. i have made a living both froim music and from writing and i consider myself a musician when i have an instrument in hand and a writer when i have pen in hand. neither word defines me. i have played with, recorded with and written songs with people both in and out of the industry and have noticed no difference between the two. among musicians who play for the art rather for the money i have seen no division between the successful ones and those still struggling. there is some social difference but only in regards to money. personally, i could not afford to accept dinner invitations from those more successful than me. but after hours at canters in los angeles, im eating my bagels and cream cheese at tabels where the famous and infamous mix without regard to relative levels of success. these days i spend at least five hours a day working on music. i dont care about making money from it, but i dont consider my work of less value than the work of those making money from it. i know what it is to make money from music, and have done some of my worst work for a paycheck. a few years back, people who have played with me have done so without a gaurentee of pay, but when the money came rolling in, it was divided equally. but none of us were in it for the money. we did it because we were compelled to do it. we loved it when we were paid, but we loved it just as much when we werent. a profession is defined by what you do for pay. a hobby is wht you do for fun. foe me, the occasional day job was more a hobby than the music. it was relaxing to sit around an office doing work that did not require one to be a 100% genius.

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@jamkar

I agree Bill. On every point.

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What Bill said.

And coming from a slightly different direction. I trained as a concert pianist, got the competition winnings and the letters after my name to show for it etc etc BUT not being in the stratospheric rank realised that I couldn't make a living that way. I could become a professional pianist but that meant lots of teaching as well and I hated that (and was no good anyway). So I went professional in other directions as a scientist. okay, I was passionate there too, but: cruel definition of a professional--someone doing the same thing over and over and doing it right each time. Does that reduce my training as a concert pianist to a "hobby" (you know, up to 8 hours practice a day for 6 years before going the science direction?)? ,,,, There's a third word--vocation (or "calling"). And I realised a bit late in that shifting to science from the music I'd missed my vocation. But hey, again, family, two young kids, also a lot of dependent clients...but the music stayed there always, and always serious. Hobbies? sailing, boatbuilding, trolling. Music? something else entirely.

BTW since discovering I could actually create new music, I make enough from royalties, buyers of recordings and my lovely patrons both Patreon and outside, to keep me in coffee...and instruments/gear from time to time. I count that fortunate.

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yes, vocation is a word not used so much these days..but that is the correct word for doing what you were born to do regardless of financial compensation. for hobbies, i should add that collecting movies and keeping a current data base is my source of daily relaxation from the energy-depleting hours of making music.

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@candle

We are truly a screwed up species. Bear with me here. What I mean is that we insist of catagorizing everything when really we should just enjoy what makes us happy & try to avoid what detracts from the happiness we wish to experience in life. If a "professional" (as defined in this thread - one who does something over & over again for money) is happy with what they are doing, what does it matter? If the "hobbyist" (again given the definition in this thread) is happy with what they are doing, what does it matter? And if you feel neither term applies to you, the Individual, & that "vocation" (as defined by @timfatchen above) works better for what you do; all the power to you. Terminology is often seen as a convenience to relay information to other people. But, often it limits our own experiænces because we pigeon-hole ourselves into these terms & into the definitions we ascribe to them.

Take genres, as another example. We try to pigeon-hole our music into genres so when someone asks us what sort of music do we make we can give them an impression of what we do. But should we really imprison ourselves within the limits of these terms when we are trying to be creative?

I don't. But maybe that's just me. Either way, I try my best not to get hung up on terminology when it comes to my day-to-day actions. I just do what I need to or want to do. I only attempt to ascribe words to those actions when someone else asks me what I'm doing.

Or maybe I've just gone off on a completely different tangent from this thread. Sorry. If this is the case, ignore me.

See You In The Shadows…

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@fuzzy

Excellent answer, @candle.

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Regarding @candle's regerence to genre. rod serling created the twilight zone because he was fed uo with genre limits and expectations. Noting that genre was a shortened term for generic, He had written many television plays and they all had to fit into a generic mold. So his Requiem for a Heavyweight had to conform to the formula for a boxing story, and so on. With the twilight zone, hecould do a boxing story without having to do a generic boxing story. He was free to write any kind of story he wanted in any way he wanted because the concept of the program was anti-genre. That is why the show was so original and still has millions still watching it after more than 50 years.

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Wow, nice reading. Fully agree. Never let categories limit you.

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A hobby by definition is an activity carried out for fun mostly but not exclusively outside normal work. Most musicians do it for fun whether or not they also do it as there prime source of income, therefore its not an either or not option in my opinion. There seems to be an underlying assumption you cant actually enjoy your job.
Categorization as imperfect as it is, is a survival technique as we don't have time to delve into everything in the detail we would like to! I agree we can over catergorise and then fail to develop but at its basis it allows me to focus on what i like and what makes me happy so for me thats a good thing!

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webster definition...a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation

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@chldomn5 I think the closest I've seen to your original question are those musicians, usually rock musicians, who say something along the lines of "I can't believe I get paid to do this." They'd be doing it whether they were playing in front of 10 ppl at crap gigs or thousands at large venues.

I think the biggest difference between a "hobbyist" and someone who is trying to at least make music a side gig is how much time and effort is put into administration. The so called "marketing" and placement of music. No matter how much I say I'd love to make money from music, the truth is, until I start putting as much effort in the "business" side of music as I do the writing and recording side I will never be anything more than a hobbyist. Which might be where I'm most happy.

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By the definition provided by @billwhite51 I don't know if I have any hobbies! Songwriting can get pretty intense for me - not often relaxing. Same with gardening/landscaping. (When it come to music, learning new cover songs might be more of my hobby, by definition.)
And @tcelliott mentioned a thought I'd been having as I've followed this thread - when I did try to turn music-making into money (and it happened to my wife with jewelry-making) I was disheartened by the amount of admin involved.
And both Bill and @timfatchen used the word vocation - I know my vocation is teaching. Not always enjoyable, and lots of hard work, but rewarding. Right now, I'm trying to re-start/re-imagine our yoga/fitness business, which has suffered tremendously since Covid. And I'd much rather just be teaching, but at least half of what I do is admin.
So, I have all these interests/passions/callings - I could sure use a hobby!

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Lately lots of tribute/cover bands have been popping up where I live. You know, bands that cover The Police, or Rush, or whatever. These bands are really, really good. I recently saw a Police cover band rocking at a winery, where a handful of 50-somthings (and older) got wasted on good wine and danced to the music of their youth. The drummer was a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. All three of the musicians were total pros, in the sense that you could take them into a studio, hand them a chart (or tell them what to do), and record at a moments notice. Why were they in this winery working for tips? I guess they really dig playing Police songs. From my point of view, this experience was way more pleasurable than when I saw the Police in a basketball arena.

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Maybe I've got a take that helps from outside music. I'm an open-source software developer for going on thirty years now, and have *also* found a way to make a living selling that skill.

Funny thing: my younger self would work on such code essentially without regard to getting paid for it; my current, "silverback" self is more selective, preferring to work only on the bits of code which are valuable enough that somebody will pay me for the privilege.

Because my software work pays well, I'm quite content to write and perform music without thinking about monetary gain, via merch sales, streaming, or royalties. I work hard to hone my songwriting craft, and am far from averse to having income from it, but can't imagine that it would ever displace my dependable consulting income. But that next song, well, could be the one which allows me to retire! ...

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Our band plays Folk/Celtic/60's-70's/Americana type music...basically aim for what the people want to hear. None of us make a living doing this - it's not our profession, it's our vocational calling - we are willing to put in the time/rehearsal/work to make it happen because we thoroughly enjoy doing it, & love it that we are setting the scene for people to have a great time. We love playing, & if we can find time to do this around busy lives, we get a lot of pleasure out of that. Wineries & coffee shops are way more fun than outdoor festivals, & easier as far as schlepping the gear goes - so yeah, it's entirely worth it! Husband's an IT specialist, I'm a recently retired music teacher, band partners have included medical secretary, car lot owner, retail worker, hospital staff...and those things have paid the bills. Sharing music? Brings us joy.

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interesting to see the responses here that i wasnt expecting. part of the growth i guess. seems its a very much more nuanced question than i originally anticipated. i think ill keep looking to find the right way for me to make money from what i do while also having fun from it at the same time.