Musicians or Dreamers?

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    harp guy

    To cut out the long dramatic story that led up to this question, I’ll get to the point.

    Are musicians dreamers? And what separates them from visionaries?

    My reason for contemplating that was that I was recently called a dreamer in relation to my professional musician aspirations (by a jerk who has successfully pushed my buttons by bringing up a legitimate question/worry of my own). Seeing as how I am getting married soon, the responsibility of having a stable career is weighing on me. I am not yet finished with school and I have dreams of being a studio musician ( I have strong connections so it’s feasible). I also have an opportunity to pursue a job offer to be an instrument craftsman (professional flutemaker-flute is my primary instrument remember?) but I wouldn’t be completely happy. I would feel that I’m settling.

    I’m not wanting advice on what to do. My fiance and I are on the same page and we know where we are going in regards to this. I want to know your opinions on this question.

    Are musicians dreamers? And what separates a dreamer from being a visionary? How does this apply to what we do?


    harp guy, take it from someone older and wiser.


    I have been thinking about this issue myself a lot lately as my son who is a high school junior is thinking of pursuing a performance/composition degree or maybe music teaching/composition degree.


    Harp Guy,

    I’m sure someone along the way told Bill Gates that HE was a dreamer too.


    To all of you above- Everything in life starts with a dream. Every invention, every work of art, every new concept(like for example, democratic government) starts with a dream. That doesn’t mean that every dream is feasible. That part, exploring the feasibility of the dream, comes next, and is the hard part.

    I think it’s great for all of you to follow that dream. HOWEVER, you also have to explore all of the territory that goes along with that dream. How exactly will you make a living if it pans out? How much money can you expect to make and how much time is it going to take up? Will it be so all-consuming that you have no time for family life or anything else for that matter? What are the skills that you need to pursue this dream and do you have them? I agree that if you don’t at least explore your dream, and perhaps try to follow it now, you will grow old always wondering “what if.” So go ahead and pursue it. But pursue it with eyes wide open and head clear, and be prepared at any moment to change course and go in a different direction. That’s not failure. That’s learning.


    Oh, well put, Carl!

    My father, who was decidedly not a visionary, once advised a younger man to always have two professions. The younger man did very well for himself and was always grateful to my father. (And yes, my father took his own advice.)


    Harp Guy:

    I would offer this thought as a follow up to Carl’s cogent points. I recall the phrase: “Do what you like and the money will follow.”

    harp guy

    These are all really great responses. I know that not all dreams are possible. I mean…. who could honestly expect to change the world like Bill Gates with personal computers, Steve Jobs with portable music and smartphones, or JK Rowling with literature? No one! It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but almost.

    I think my dreams and expectations are realistic. And it’s true! You should always have two careers! Maybe not at the same time, but perhaps several alternate plans to put into action when one fails. I am definitely not short on ideas for alternate careers that I would really enjoy! I have the raw material, ambition, and


    Sounds like someone I know of, but won’t mention names. I am learning from my Rabbi about the need to be in reality. Dreaming helps us understand reality. What is fantasy and what is reality? You have to know in yourself the difference between what you can do, might do, must do and will do. If you are going to marry and have children, then your primary responsibility is ultimately to them. Then flute manufacture makes sense if it pays well and has benefits, and presumably, you can still play on the side.

    How much energy do you have? Most people who are very successful as independent artists or entrepreneurs are very driven and have a lot of energy to expend on their goal. How much focus do you have? Settling is not such a bad thing, but it is a state of mind. What kind of person do you want to be? These are major questions that require major life advice.

    Jerks sometimes point out to us what is obvious. Sometimes they are oblivious. If we are off-target, they should help us see how to hit the target our way, not their way, or just say, “you missed!”

    What is stable? Life is very risky these days. Having a package of skills is a good thing. Music is very tough, and you face the same tough choices we all have faced. And how does the harp fit into this? You’re not going to have much free time. If you marry, then some of these are joint decisions, or all of them. Connections are very helpful if you have the skills. I bet many studio musicians don’t do it full time. You’re at the whim of producers. If you can find a way to balance them all, that would be nice, but I was never able to do all the things I wanted or needed to do at the same time, only consecutively, for the most part. Everyone’s life is a different pattern.


    To answer more directly, there are realistic musicians, and there are dreamers. Dreamers may be more of the soloist type, or a composer-creator. Dreamers may become producers of new things. Realists go wherever they get the gigs, I guess, follow the money.


    Saul, I re-read your words a couple times and will do so again.


    In my opinion, we
    make our own “luck”.


    harp guy,

    Who says that you can’t do more than one thing in your life?

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