Musicians with or without Day Jobs

In today’s edition of You’ve Cott Mail, there’s a piece which focuses on artists and their day jobs. The piece discusses the recent Arts Data Profile #3 by the NEA which surveyed 60,000 households to extrapolate an estimate of full time and part-time artists in the US as it relates to a studies about what constitutes being an artist.  This was something I explored in my post about Andrew Watts Slate.com piece and my follow up to that regarding part-time musicians being the historical norm.

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The Locust and the Wookiee Cellist Phenotypes

The grasshopper (left) and the locust (right) are simply two different expressions of the same genome
The grasshopper (left) and the locust (right) are simply two different expressions of the same genome

An intriguing piece David Dobbs at Aeon Magazine is basically a rallying call to put to rest the supremacy of genes as the primary or sole driver of evolution. Dobbs begins the piece by describing a talk he attended at a neuroscience convention by Steve Rogers (no, not Steve “Captain America” Rogers) of Cambridge University which basically demonstrates that locusts and grasshoppers are not only closely related, they are really just different the same species which are simply the result of different gene expressions of the same genetic material.

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Part-Time Musicians are the Historical Norm

In my previous post I questioned just what we mean by being a “full-time musician” and now turn to what seems to be the historical norm–being a part-time musician.

In John H. Mueller’s “The American Symphony Orchestra: A Social History of Musical Taste” we get some idea of what  “full-time” employment meant for most musicians in the period before we had full time orchestras in the 50s and 60s.  Many Orchestral musicians weren’t performing much outside of Orchestras:

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What is a “full-time musician” anyway?

Benzaiten, the Japanese Goddess of everything that flows, including music.  Polychrome Woodblock print. 19th Japan.
Benzaiten, the Japanese Goddess of everything that flows, including music. Polychrome Woodblock print. 19th Japan.

There was a recent piece on slate.com by composer Andrew Watts titled, What Kind of Stress Do Full-Time Composers Experience? The thing is, and this came up on a recent facebook discussion, the conditions in points number 1. and 4. have nothing to do with being a “full-time composer.”

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Odd venues for Classical Musicians

The il Troubadore Klingon Lounge Band after a performance at the Melody Inn, one of Indianapolis' old punk rock clubs.
The il Troubadore Klingon Lounge Band after a performance at the Melody Inn, one of Indianapolis’ old punk rock clubs.

Having spent so many years playing odd venues since the 90s I sometimes forget that most of my earliest performances were in auditoriums, recital halls and churches.  Some of the venues are jsut variations on a theme, such as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, while others are what non-classical musicians will regularly play like Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis.

Jon Silpayamanant performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Ray Price
Jon Silpayamanant performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Ray Price

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