On Becoming a Rock Musician

On Becoming a Rock Musician

On Becoming a Rock Musician

On Becoming a Rock Musician

Excerpt

Becoming a rock musician is not a process which is steeped in the history, theory, and pedagogy of prestigious academies; nor is it a learning experience which is guided by an informal tradition of teachers and teachings. Becoming a rock musician is not even a process of apprenticeship. In fact, rock music is learned to a much greater extent than it is ever taught by teachers. Where Western European art musicians are created through a formal academic (and by this time "classical") educational system, and jazz musicians can rely on either the art music process or an apprenticeship in an informal "school" of players, the potential rock musician meets no externally formulated educational institution and relies instead upon resources which are internal to local groups for the experiences of recruitment and learning. Although the spontaneous institution of the local rock band is the typical career route from non-musician to rock musician, it is not conceptualized as an educational form, but as an economically legitimated musical form. In a few words: the career of becoming a rock musician is simply being in a local rock group.

To a great extent this is what is meant by calling something popular. Popular things are widely distributed, things that anyone can come in contact with, things that are shared by entire communities, and things that require no priortrainingto appreciate. While elite musicians are required to train and pass tests, the status passage to rock musician is easy—anyone who can manage to play in a rock group can claim the identity. In this sense there are no students taking notes in the classrooms of rock, there are simply inexperienced groups. Likewise, nobody "flunks . . .

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