Do you feel like an artist, or a craftsperson?
I’ve got a feeling many of you might say neither, and give yourself an alternative title that is more focused on your particular skills…. I’m a beatmaker, I’m a dabbler, I’m a producer, baby.
Feel free to make your own rules as to what to call yourself, if you’re happy ducking the issue!
The truth is, if you make music with the aim of expressing some form of higher purpose then you’re an Artist. If you are really into making music for its own sake, then you’re a Craftsperson (I’d prefer to say you are crafty, but you gotta be PC in these times).
The complication comes when your music is experienced, because by this time, it doesn’t matter what you consider yourself, or what went into the creation of it – it will most likely get judged by the listener on their own terms.
So whatever you call yourself and whatever your method of creation may matter to you but not really to anyone else. At the business end of the experience of music, the listener is in their own space and time. They will merge what you have made with their own life and form a reaction to it instinctively.
You are probably wondering what on earth this all means, and what I expect you to take away from it.
Pretty much all I can say is:
You and your ego have a physical/emotional presence that affects people you meet in person. Your music is an intellectual and emotional presence that is separate from you. Anything you feel about yourself does not travel with it.
Whatever you might want to call your music making process, dabbling, experimentation, or even your art or your craft it won’t change how people perceive and receive your music.
Whether you decide that you are an artist or a craftsperson I think the most important thing is that you make a definite declaration that you intend to work to a certain standard and that you expect to create something greater than average.
And if you do that, quality does travel, and people do notice the difference.
Expect more from yourself and with that slight switch in attitude, you’ll inevitably unlock ideas and new thought processes. Similarly, craft your work and look to find the hidden art of what you do and you will achieve greater things for it.
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini’s Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov’s excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.