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Who enjoys playing the sax more? Why?

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As I listened to an NPR interview recently with a guy trying out for the 6th(?) time in the Van Clyburn piano competition, it occurred to me that this guy had been playing all his life just for the FUN of it. The interviewer asked if he thought he'd enjoy it as much if he did it for a living. His answer was that it was purely an enjoyable escape for him from his 'blue collar' job.

Is it an escape for you? or is it as enjoyable to play for a living?

In your answer, please explain why you picked amateur or pro, and identify if you are an amateur or pro.

Based on the level of musicallity I see in the responses here on SOTW, it is apparent that many of us (yes, me included) thought very seriously about doing music for a living at one time or another.

MY ANSWER:
I think amateurs have more fun for the escape factor. I know that the opportunity to play at age 46 is so much more precious than it was at age 11, or 21, or 31. At 21 I made a choice to become a geologist, not a musician. When I finally got back into music in my late 30's, it was again the greatest pursuit of art in the world for me! It was like being in the 5th grade again...the excitement was back! I plan to enjoy it until the day I die. If it ever becomes a job for me, I'll starve :D
 

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At this juncture, GAS and saxymanzach are the only two respondents and the poll stands at 50/50. I wish I could vote, but I feely strongly both ways.
:D

You're both right!
 

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I used to make my living playing for a number of years. Between getting 1099'ed for everything, playing gigs that sucked but did it because I needed the money, club owners that never wanted to put out adequate money, having difficulty getting credit, no health insurance, people not taking you seriously, wear and tear on the car, the expense of maintaining the horns and never having enough money for anything in general was enough to make me get out of it as a sole source of income. It quit becoming fun.

Conversely, it did afford me some neat travel and other opportunities that I might not have otherwise been able to have.

NOW, I pick and choose what I want to do... I get paid more, and my situations are better. I'd like to play more, but I'm FAR happier where I'm at.
 

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I think the enjoyments of amateurs and pros probably come from the same source - a particularly good gig, a nice improvisation, the overcoming of a technical or theoretical hurdle, a surprise compliment, etc., but the frustrations probably come from different places - for pros I imagine it's going to be having to play like you mean it when you don't feel like it, having to deal with idiots, having to deal with the public, having to play the stuff you have to play to get the gig... these are things amateurs like me don't have to worry about. Instead we worry about why we're bothering in the first place, why we're rubbish and whether it'll ever get any easier, not having an audience, not having an outlet for our musical expression, not having other musicians to learn from and play with, etc, etc.

So I think the enjoyment is probably the same either way, it's just the frustrations that change, but anyway I guess it comes down to individual personality and circumstances - I know some people who always seem to be happy and others who'd be miserable no matter what happened to them :)
 

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I haven't been voting, I don't really think that this question can be put this way.

Really, I think that playing music by profession isn't a job like any other, and that is , I think, true of any performing art. One can do it as a living and many professionals might keep themselves alive (and we all know how difficult tat is) with the occasional " Shnabbel" (Dutch, performing arts idiom which means a gig for money but not exactly for love) but you need to love what you do if you wanna do it well or even just passably!

An amateur is by definition a " lover" (which is what the word originally means in French), therefore fun is paramount, hovever some amateurs do what they do more to be together with other people, therefore this is the main pleasure, than because of what they do.In general this people perform in groups.
 

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I'm in the "this is too difficult to categorize" area myself.

I'm sure as a pro player it's much like a regular job. I know there's days when I just love what I do for work and other days when I wonder why I do what I do.

As an amateur player that gigs 1-3 times a month, playing the sax is really therapeutic to me. Even practicing a few hours here and there is always a "release" for me.


PS As I reread my post I guess I'll go ahead and click the amateur button.
 

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I'm an amateur and I enjoy playing, but I don't know if I enjoy playing more or less than a professional. Impossible question.
 

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Yeah, heading out the door after loading all the sound equipment for the group from my basement to my truck, my wife just shakes her head and says in a snotty tone, "have fun", as if I'm about to embark on a cruise to Fantasy Island and she can't go. But no, where I'm really going is to some country club where they'll have us load and unload around the back, where they haven't shoveled the snow, up some metal (frozen) corkscrew stairway leading to the back of the stage area so the guests won't see us with our shirts untucked. Oh, what fun it is. Fun, fun, fun...
 

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Grumps said:
Oh, what fun it is. Fun, fun, fun...
but it is always better than working!:twisted: :D ;)
 

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Grumps said:
Nope. It was work.
I'd have rather been in court.
OK, so this was a " Schnabbel "! Perfect example:D
 

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There was this roustabout working for the circus, cleaning up after the elephants day in and day out. Stinky sweaty work.

Every day he complained loudly to the elephants, that he was going to quit, and that they didn't appreciate him, that he worked to hard and was getting old quicker.

One day, one of the audience members walked by as he was delivering his tirade. He stopped and asked the roustabout, "Why don't you just quit and get yourself a different career?"

The roustabout replied with astonishment, "What, and give up Show Business?"
 
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danarsenault said:
I don't think professional status has anything to do with it. People who enjoy playing enjoy playing.
That's so true...

... although sometimes amateurs can hate playing, as my daughter (who just gave up piano study) will tell you.

It's gotta be over-simplifying to say that amateur or professional status has a correlation to how much you enjoy playing. I enjoy playing the sax in general, and I'm an amateur. But there are times when I just can't get myself to play: for example, when I'm too tired, or when I'm hung-over, or when I'd rather be reading a book, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You pointed out a few thoughts I hadn't even considered. The one above (gave up piano) is a foreign concept to me...if she didn't 'love it' (as stated by Milandro), could she be considered an amateur?

The responses here are fascinating to me. I can't believe it isn't a landslide for the serious amateur!

As happiness is not merely the 'absence of sadness', maybe the degree of joy in playing music is not merely the fact that it isn't a "Schnabbel", or somewhat an obligation. If a pro didn't love making the music so much, they wouldn't put up with all the junk that goes with the job...the enjoyment of the moments brought about by playing that great improv make it all worth while.

An engineer I mentored under called this the "Benefits to B.S. Ratio". Simply when you line up the Bene's on one side of the paper, and the B.S. on the other side, if they are about even or Bene's outnumber the B.S., then you should keep at it...and the converse is true also.

I'm trying to learn to enjoy even the most mundane things these days. I'm trying to learn to thrive, not just survive.

Let's hear some other responses.
 

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I came down on the "amateur" side. Since retirement I've had the luxury of playing as much (or as little) as I please. Currently I'm playing quite a lot, but have a covenant with myself that when the pleasure/frustration balance tips for the worse, I'll move on. While I enjoy playing sax, it is primarily for me simply a means by which to stay involved in music performance, and I do have other options for this. I have always loved music and at times think wistfully that I should have made a profession of it, but it's just a wish and I think it would have been a wrong path for me. I have neither the drive nor the native ability to have made it professionally. I do wish I had availed myself of more formal study of music, but "if wishes were horses....." So I am a mostly content amateur whose economic security is in no way tied to music. Hence, I'm free to pursue music via whatever avenue is most appealing and accessible in the environments in which I place myself.

In my continuing rumination about what I will do in my next life, I'm torn between being a ballet dancer, an operatic diva (lyric soprano, preferably), a naturalist, or a vet. ;) Interestingly, playing sax doesn't make the cut. Hope I don't die before I figure it out!!

Regards, Ruth
 

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I enjoy playin for the fun of it. Profeesuonal means what you do for your job, and it is really what I am hoping to do. I know people who love to play, and even made all state, but didn't make it their profession. I guess you could say that maybe, most of the people, who it is their profession, enjoy it more, (except for kenny gay, I mean... G.) that is why it is their profession. You can enjoy it, but I guess what we are really talking about here is skill level. The better you are at something the more you enjoy it. Right? Well i suppose that most professionals enjoy it more, because they stuck with it.
 
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