To say that music is an integral part of my life I believe understates the importance of it for me. Music has been the one constant in my life, central to my being, accompanying me wherever I am, irrespective of whether I am physically playing, listening or internally listening via memory. Irrespective of the location, circumstance or event, music is within me. Music practice is not a choice for me; it is a necessity. I have practiced music for over four decades in multiple social and cultural contexts, and in significantly contrasting creative locations, such as a church choir singer, musician, songwriter, teacher, band member, producer, commercial songwriter, manager, solo artist, musician for hire, band leader, stage manager, artist coach, engineer (live and studio), and most recently an Electronic Music Producer and educator. I have engaged a (vast) range of technologies, using countless variations of workflow. I continue to practice music on a daily basis, engaging physical instruments, digital virtual technologies, or in the research, analysis, or listening to music styles. I embrace a broad definition of music practice (Small 1998; DeNora 2000; Wallis 2001; DeNora 2005; Hesmondhalgh 2013), with my practice currently including the preparation for and teaching audio at a higher education institute, a variety of contracted music projects from tracking to mixing, and examining my music practice through this doctoral research study.
Given my current motives for practice are not volume sales-based, I am averse to categorising my music practice as professional practice. In looking for an alternative classification to define my music practice, I considered the classifications for my practice of: professional, semi-professional, amateur or hobbyist (Rogers 2013). Could it be semi-professional, as I earn multiple small income streams from various forms of music practice? Or is it amateur, referring to my current status as a music producer where I am earning minimal income at present because of my current pursuits of creative industry education, and full-time doctoral studies? Referencing Kuznetson and Paulos’s article, I am reluctant to assume the title of expert for my music practice, as I consider myself a generalist across a breadth of skills and experiences. (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295). What I do however accept is who I am: highly motivated, possessing an impassioned commitment to my practice, with a very high level of focus on developing my knowledge, skill level and technology. After four decades of music practice, I seek to learn on a daily basis: newly released creative technologies, applying them in a variety of creative locations; familiarising my self with new music styles; developing new practice workflows; better understanding my motives, and my self. I am engaging this doctoral research study to investigate my practice, in order to develop greater understanding and workflows. I therefore am of the opinion I exhibit qualities and attributes that reflect an attitude of professionalism.
Despite my four decades of practice, I have my eyes very much on the future. I still have a lifetime of music goals still to realise: songs to write and arrange; sonic textures to explore; creative productions to develop; and engage with both my peers and the public to a far greater degree than I have to date. I am hopeful of continuing my journey with music as an integral part of my life, core to my being, accompanying me wherever I am. For these reasons, not with standing my experience, knowledge and skills accumulated and developed to date, both within the field and discipline of music and sound, and all other experiences in life, I also classify my self as an aspiring music practitioner.
I commenced my music practice with acoustic and analogue technology, developing a workflow that reinforced my musical literacy, instrumental skills and personal taste in music. However, moving from acoustic to digital and digital virtual technologies in recent decades, I have observed the vastly different technologies and associated workflows that lend themselves to creative locations and music styles. This has impacted my music practice, hindering the realisation of my creative productions: my EPs. Whilst I have found my self at various times asking a number of questions in isolation, I now find myself seeing them as connected issues within the more global problem I propose for my doctoral research investigation: ‘Contemporary DIY music practice and the practitioner self’.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Music Practitioner Part 5. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
DeNora, Tia. 2000. Music in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DeNora, Tia. 2005. The pebble in the pond: Musicing, therapy, community. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 14 (1): 57-66.
DLP 2015 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 14th September, 2015
Hesmondhalgh, David. 2013. Why music matters. Vol. 1. West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. Rise of the expert amateur: DIY projects, communities, and cultures. In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Rogers, I. 2013. The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia. In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: the meanings of performing and listening. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries. Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
– ©David L Page 15/09/2015
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