Are you a musician?
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru Lambox's Avatar
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    Default Are you a musician?

    Here's something that's been bothering me since I started DJing: does being a DJ qualify as being a musician?

    Let's face it. DJing in it's purist form means playing other people's music. However, not everyone can mix songs, and few people can do it very well. There certainly is a level of skill required.

    I'm not trying to say one way or another. I'm still on the fence about it.

    I played guitar for about six years. I quit playing because I wanted to focus on producing electronic music. A lot of people would argue that making music on the computer doesn't qualify me as a musician, since I technically am not "playing" anything. "Composer" might be a better word.

    I'm not trying to hit any nerves. I'm just curious what you guys have to say about this. So let's hear it. Do you Disc Jockeys consider yourselves to be musicians?
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  2. #2
    Tech Guru pilmat's Avatar
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    Musician, no. Artist, yes.

    Is Celine Dion a musician? No, she is a singer. I am a DJ. We both use other peoples music to earn a living (her standard of "living" is higher than mine...).

    And I like "producer", "arranger" or "composer" for EDM. You may play certain parts, but it is the arrangers ear and producer's bag-o-tricks that sets one track apart from the chaff.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambox View Post
    Here's something that's been bothering me since I started DJing: does being a DJ qualify as being a musician?
    This should be entertaining.

    I consider myself to have a great ear, and a decent player of other people's music. That doesn't qualify IN MY OPINION.

    I've started dabbling with producing, and maybe someday I'll get there.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    Well....i have played about 6 traditional instruments in my life (at school where i had 8 years of music lessons), played in a band as a drummer....and have also written a few electronic tracks.

    I have not made money off this.....but I do consider myself a musician.....but not professionally.

    I like the term Artist more.
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  5. #5
    DJTT Moderator bloke Karlos Santos's Avatar
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    The Musicians Union in the UK which is very prominent organisation classifies DJs as Musicians.

    Ive played Guitar all my life so i am a musician and i know the difference between writing music and performing it and DJing but where does the divide fall between being a DJ and playing someone elses music and being a musician in a covers band and playing someone else music..?

    DJs ARE musicians. Not the same as composing musicians or session musicians but still musicians .

    Its like the stupid arguement that skateboarding isnt a sport. Of course its is, just cus its not a team sport or physical doesnt mean its not a sport. Its more of a sport, more entertaining and more skillfull than throwing a javelin.


    sarasin puts it well, we are ARTISTS. But if you take that literally someone will say artists create stuff not simply perform. Thats the problem when people start to take words literally and take them apart... The word fails.

    DJ doesnt mean Disc Jockey anymore its a convenient term of reference. The meaning expands with the art form.
    So does the meaning of Musician.

    Just my 2 eggs and bacon.

  6. #6
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    I would argue that some DJ's are more musician than others. You have the guys that just mix and don't do anything else and you have the cue point jugglers and remixers. The "lazy" DJ's still make decisions on what to play and can change the mood of a room by their selections, but I think they're less of a musician than someone who does lots of cue point juggling and uses fx to change a song.

    Being a good DJ requires talent and lots of practice just like what is required to be a good musician.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru pilmat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlos Santos View Post
    sarasin puts it well, we are ARTISTS. But if you take that literally someone will say artists create stuff not simply perform. Thats the problem when people start to take words literally and take them apart... The word fails.
    When I said artist, I meant that a DJ puts together a set, selecting tracks and weaving them together. So the art is in the performance, not dropping a needle on a record.

    This is a good topic!
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  8. #8
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    I think being a DJ and a musician are two completely different things to the extent of which as a DJ you do not need to deem yourself a musician.

    A musician plays one, or multiple, instruments usually as part of an ensemble.

    A DJ fuses two or more audio sources in various styles.

    Likewise being a controllerist and a DJ are two different things in my opinion. They, of course, cross over and in that scenario you therefore become a DJ and controllerist, not just either or...

    As someone who writes music you could be an artist, singer, composer, producer, arranger etc... Which entirely depends on your methods of making music, they are all separate terms, and rightfully have different meanings.

    My (long-winded) point is that a DJ isn't a musician. Your a DJ. You don't need to 'qualify' yourself as a musician.
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  9. #9
    DJTT Moderator bloke Karlos Santos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilmat View Post
    When I said artist, I meant that a DJ puts together a set, selecting tracks and weaving them together. So the art is in the performance, not dropping a needle on a record.

    This is a good topic!
    Yeah i agree. That is the ART for me. Not just the performing but the selection that makes the performance a good or bad one.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesT View Post
    My (long-winded) point is that a DJ isn't a musician. Your a DJ. You don't need to 'qualify' yourself as a musician.
    Like i said earlier, in the UK a DJ is classed as a musician.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru Lambox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilmat View Post
    When I said artist, I meant that a DJ puts together a set, selecting tracks and weaving them together. So the art is in the performance, not dropping a needle on a record.

    This is a good topic!
    Kinda like in baseball, it's not the act of hitting a ball, but doing so the right way... I guess. That was a poor analogy but I can't think of anything better.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesT View Post
    My (long-winded) point is that a DJ isn't a musician. Your a DJ. You don't need to 'qualify' yourself as a musician.
    I wasn't suggesting that we all should grab a dictionary and see if we qualify under the accepted meaning of the word (abbreviation?) "DJ." I used the word "qualify" loosely.
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