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Music: Hobby or Passion?

A man I know once spoke about the difference between music as a passion and as a hobby. He said that those for whom music was a passion were ‘real’ musicians; he wasn't very clear on the latter. He spoke as if those who saw music as a hobby were somehow beneath ‘musicians’, as if passion was this all-important factor that made you the real deal.

Truth be told, I bought it at the time. Why? Well, because I was flattered - after all, he referred to me as a ‘real’ musician. Now, however, I wish I could go back to that moment and stop myself from just nodding in agreement - because I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion.

What makes someone a ‘musician’? In the most general sense, a musician is simply anyone who plays a musical instrument. But somehow that definition doesn’t seem to cut it. After all, you wouldn’t call someone who only plays Für Elise on the piano a musician; that would just be insulting to a professional pianist. So it seems as though there’s a certain degree of broad skill required to qualify. Skill- not passion. Passion can certainly make the process of skill development easier, but alone it doesn’t make someone a musician. However passionately you learn and play Für Elise, most wouldn’t call you a musician if that was the extent of your musical prowess. Passion, therefore, isn’t purely what it’s all about.

Here’s why that matters: not everyone learns to play an instrument because of some deep passion for music. Some may pick up an instrument for therapeutic or recreational reasons; others might do so to have an extra-curricular activity on their CV. Neither of those reasons mean a student cannot gain something out of their music education. Moreover, neither reason prevents a student from having fun – or even becoming proficient - on their instrument. And if someone likes to play music, why judge them for any reason at all?

Now you may think this entire discussion is a bit pointless; maybe you think it doesn’t concern you at all. Unfortunately, if you pick up a musical instrument, it’s an issue that will almost certainly come up. Maybe you want your parents to buy you an electric guitar, and they’re not quite convinced of the fact that you’ll still be using it after a year. Or perhaps you’re thinking of playing music full-time. Both are questions of “hobby” versus “passion”- although there are also other factors at play in both situations.

All I’m trying to say, however, is that people have different motivations for playing music. You can play an instrument for years as a hobby on the side, and that’s perfectly fine. Music is (and always will be) intensely personal. And the fewer barriers to entry, the better.

At Taaqademy, we believe that learning and playing music - be it for fun, passion, hobby, therapy, fame, fortune, whatever - is good for you. Enough said.

Not everyone who picks up an

instrument plans on devoting

their life to it - and that's OK.

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