Tonight, not more than an hour or so after I finish writing this, I intend to practice my saxophone.
It will be the second practice of the week and, frankly, I’m hoping that tonight I will be more in the mood.
Half an hour, it seems, is not long enough: you’ve barely plugged the mouthpiece on straight in half-an-hour, let alone looked at all the pieces that you’re supposed to be learning, all the scales you need to practice and thrown in a bit of light relief with a bit of improvisation.
Tuesday night I wasn’t really in the mood: a couple of random squeaks that sounded like a badger breaking wind, half a song here and there and half the pacific ocean’s worth of spit and that was it.
But despite all this – I am really enjoying learning the Sax, and am starting to get reasonably ok (if you ignore the high notes), but does the fact that I now play guitar, keyboard (chords only), bass and sax make me a musician?
Well: no. I would argue not
I also paint. Well, I attempt to paint. I will be attempting to paint quite a bit next week when I have a few days off – assuming that I can think of a project (anyone who wants a free painting should probably leave a comment as to what they would like in response to this post)
I was, in fact, having a conversation with someone at about midnight last night who actually can paint – he was talking about how he experiments with colour and when I was asked if I did the same I was probably a bit over-frank when I talked about how depressed I had got each week on my last Life Drawing course (to the point where I was getting so stressed about my piss-poor results that I physically didn’t want to go each week)
Because although I like to paint, I am not ever likely to be accused of being a painter
Nor am I a writer, a photographer or a cyclist – although I do all these things.
I suppose the difference really is twofold. Firstly – one must possess a modicum of ability. Secondly – and here, I think is the clincher – one should be doing it for a living.
Take an example if you will: Deluded Talent Show Competitor – who on the third week of the competition starts describing themselves as an “artist”
You are not a bleeding artist. It’s debatable that someone who has been recording for 10 years and has a triple platinum selling album is an artist or not: you are definitely not.
So what then should be on my passport? I work in Admin Support (IT), but that’s a rather depressing thing to admit to the gallant men and women at passport control. What will it say on the plaque on the wall of the house where I was born: Don’t Feed The Pixies, inventor of the XXX, lived here?
Maybe it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves – I still enjoy doing these things (when not throwing my easel out of the window with frustration or shouting “It’s a bleeding A, you can see it’s a bleeding A, so why are you playing a bleeding D” at my saxophone), so maybe it doesn’t matter that I will never be a musician, a writer, a painter
Maybe just painting, writing and playing music is enough?