Well, it may depend on when they started playing for money. “They started at the ripe age when a parent started paying for music and was paying a lot for the right to hear him,” said Dave Marsh, co-author of “How to Live the Music Capital of the World.” But it may also depend on how the musician learned the instruments from a good teacher.
Marsh, who is president of the Billboard Institute and co-author of “The Guitar World Advantage,” said there “are two generations of guitarists who came about when they became successful. There are the guys who started playing for money and, very often, they were very good players, and they have great musical gifts.”
And there are those that started playing for money because they couldn’t afford to learn more than the bare necessities. “Those players were not particularly musical to begin with, and they weren’t necessarily motivated by playing,” he said.
Some guitarists have no desire to be great. They want to play, they even want to be famous, and they don’t care if it takes a year or even ten years to get where they want to go. “It’s a very, very short time compared to what other people might go through,” Marsh said.
But others play to be successful. “This group, the true pro musicians in rock, has spent decades working for their money,” Marsh said. “So they care less about being great and care about just making some money.”
Marsh estimates that about 75 percent of the guitarists have played every day during their entire careers. They’re not just some who just came along at the time that money was a problem.
“This group of guys — the true pro guitarists — have been playing for decades,” Marsh said. “And they’re the very best and most competitive players. So they don’t think about money or their career in terms of what else they can do.”
When the musician wants to play a concert and make a lot of money, he has to find something that is more important to him, said Jason Sexton, director of research and development at Guitar Center magazine. “You have to find something that you enjoy playing,” he said.
Even many professional rock musicians start playing for money early. But if the musician is truly talented, there aren’t any drawbacks to playing for money, Marsh said. It’s all about what he wants to be. “They’re working on their talent, not on the money.”
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