If the word Dilettante sounds strange to some of you, here is a classical dictionary definition:
“Dilettante comes from the Italian word Dilettare, “to delight.” Its connotation is that someone enjoys doing something, but does not take it seriously enough to become a professional at it. Most often used in relation to the arts and often is used as a critical way of describing someone who simply dabbles in the arts and lacks the discipline to perfect their skill.”
In fact I will extend that definition a little bit and bring it more to reality in my own words.
A Dilettante is somebody you don’t have to confuse with the general public or the general audience that have the right to express their opinion whenever they want and how they want. The Dilettante is a person who usually, but not always, keeps a sense of frustration inside him. This sense of frustration makes him feel always insecure, and this insecurity usually comes from his lack of skills, opportunities or discipline…. and mostly from his enormous desire to have become a True Musician and never being able to achieve that.
It’s not a coincidence that those guys usually know much more about music trivia than most of the musicians. When they are “Wealthy Dilettantes”, they usually have the best music collections around, the best amps, and the best instruments. Many times they are the ones who own the best instrument collections including rare editions, etc. Even though they dedicated their life to another profession (usually not by choice), you can find in their houses amazing studios with the cutting edge technology in them. They are experts in knowing names, dates, brands, models, etc. way better than any musician.
What’s the reason for that? Well, for me it seems really obvious… the reason is a matter of “Compensating”…. it’s like the short guy with the huge car… if you know what I mean. For me, the best example of a redeemed “Wealthy Dilettante” is the “Maecenas”.
When the Dilettante is not a wealthy one, he usually manages his ways for “Compensating”, like for example trying at any time (consciously or unconsciously) to find all the failures, mistakes and inabilities as possible on True Musician’s performances, even though they will never be able to play more than 10% than the guy they are talking about. It really doesn’t matter; this urge they have is stronger than their will. It’s fair to add that the “Wealthy Dilettante” is also a candidate to fall into the same sick pattern.
The Dilettante (wealthy or not) needs to destroy… whenever you read any destructive comment in any media (Youtube, forums, etc.), those opinions will always be coming from a Dilettante, and will never come from a True Musician. And of course 99% of the time those destructive comments will be anonymous…. does this sounds familiar to you?
Would you imagine for example Pat Metheny saying that a Patitucci solo is a piece of crap? Of course not, as a musician like Pat doesn’t have the time and the dark energy for something like that, and of course he won’t even think something like that about such a great musician.
But let’s suppose he would think that, he still wouldn’t write such negative things as he knows by his own experience how hard is to make and to play music, and how hard is to dedicate a life to music, so he will respect the artist and won’t say anything that could be destructive or at least non-constructive.
In fact what a True Musician like him or any other musician at this level would say if they found any “not very good performance” in any media, would always be constructive because of the reasons I mentioned before. They will try to find all the positive aspects in there… where is the potential, and if they find something they don’t like, they will always express that idea in a constructive way saying that this can be improved by doing this or that, never destructing anybody as I said before… that’s Dilettante’s Business.
It’s amazing how NOBODY escapes from the Dilettante’s reach. Take a tour on Youtube for example and you will see how amazing musicians like Dave Weckl, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, Maxim Vengerov, Claudio Arrau, Daniel Barenboim, Jean Luc Ponty, etc., and eventually all the great musicians you can think about, are always being battered, many times in extremely disrespectful ways by the Dilettantes.
The other thing that the Dilettante loves to do is to COMPARE musician “A” with musician “B”, transforming himself into a sort of gambler finding who’s better so to be able to bid on the fastest horse. True Musicians are not horses that are competing against the other one so to entertain the Dilettantes… True Musicians are human beings trying hard to make ART, True Musicians are not comparing themselves with the musician next door in any form… and this is again Dilettante’s business.
So this article is just some humble advice to help you construct a solid identity as a musician. If you want to achieve the goal of becoming a True Musician, start right now by avoiding falling into this destructive behavior, and it’ll be way better if you do so at a young age. If after reading this article you come to the conclusion that you have already fallen into this toxic pattern on some occasions, try to correct that ASAP… it’s never too late. As I said on this article’s title…
Want to Become a True Musician? Avoid Behaving Like a Dilettante!
See you guys on my next article!