Musicians Play

Day 185 Week 27 Q3 Wednesday, July 3, 2024

There are many kinds of musicians, producers, directors, arrangers, composers, and engineers. But as far as I’m concerned, if you cannot play, or do not want to play, or do not take the time to play, then you are not a musician. You may be part of a musical team, you may produce musical results, and you may contribute to music. But you are not a musician if you do not play. Sorry, but if I ask musician what instrument they play and they say, I play laptop, to me that doesn’t count, unless they are capable of playing it in real time. I know some musicians are more comfortable in the studio than performing in front of others, and I suspect the most musicians are more comfortable playing in their house instead of in front of others. Well that still counts, as long as they actually play. I don’t mean they just talk about playing, or think about playing, or used to play, or things that they might play sometime. If you do not play and do not enjoy playing, you are not musician.

I hate to break it to you, but if you are a musician, you are an entertainer. Sure you might be changing the world with your music, but you are probably not. Only a handful of people in every generation do this. Most musicians are playing variations on themes or worse or simply copycats imitating what other stuff done. This does not mean that you are not a musician if you are in a cover band, or play restaurants, or play top 40 tunes. As long as you get out there and play for somebody some of the time, you are still a musician. Even if you only entertain yourself by getting up and playing a set or at least a complete song from beginning to end.

Also, there’s a reason that is called play and not work. Do musicians work also? Of course they do. But if they do not ever play, they are not a musician. Why am I harping on this? Because Music is a social activity meant to bring people together. It is a way for one person to express themselves to others. It is also way for musicians to have conversation with each other not using words, but sinking up and playing together. If you are a musician and have never played for anyone except yourself, and by that I mean, never played in front of anyone, and have also never played with another human being, then you were missing something. And why am I bringing all of this up? Because artificial intelligence will be creating and performing music increasingly. And since it will cost less than human beings, no doubt the trend from piped in music and DJs to AI performers will continue. 

After all a lot of people who include music and what they offered to the world think of music as hot and cold running music. They do not think of music or something created by human beings. If you do not get anything from playing music, you will be replaced shortly. If you do get something from playing music, 4 and with other people, then you can persist as musician. If you fall into the category of hot and cold, running music, you are not a musician. if you are not a musician, you can be replaced by a robot.

I sincerely hope, that as I do, that you get great pleasure, from playing music and some of the time performing music and some of the time doing this for others, and with others, because it is something an artificial intelligence cannot do. This does not mean that you cannot use our intelligence to practice with, to compose with and even to perform with. If a musician plays with a drum machine, does that make them any less of a musician? I do not think so. But does that mean that drama machines can replace musicians? If you have ever played with a live drummer, you know this is not true. Perhaps for commercial reasons some of the times it happens. But a drama scene cannot have a conversation, at least not yet. And even if and when it gets to the point that it can emulate having a conversation, a machine can have no joy, but a drummer can and audiences can tell.

Most musicians cannot earn a living playing music. Most writers cannot earn a living writing. Most people who can cook a meal for themselves cannot earn a living as a cook. But I aret doesn’t mean that they not a cook, a writer or a musician. for you see it is not about money. It’s about meaning. Machines do not have meaning people do. This is not a diatribe against machines, they are useful convenient and sometimes even life-saving, but do not confuse playing with machines with playing with people, it is not the same thing.

Musicians Play!  And if they don’t, they will be replaced by machines.