Want to Become a True Musician? Avoid Behaving Like a Dilettante!

Want to Become a True Musician? Avoid Behaving Like a Dilettante!
Igor Saavedra

Meet Igor Saavedra –

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!

View Comments (16)


  1. Daniel Rebolledo Cormack

    March 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Very interesting article.

    I think we all are a bit Dilettante at the bottom, for example I can say “Hey!, it’s BareNboim instead of BareMboim”



  2. Igor Saavedra

    igor saavedra

    March 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thanks a lot for the Fb likes…, it’s a lot for just one day..!!.., I really appreciate that you are enjoying the article…

  3. Christian Creixell

    March 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Igor for your valuable words, sure are very inspiring for me and others that are in this hard way to become musicians.

  4. Andreas Farmakalidis

    Andreas Farmakalidis

    March 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Igor,
    Another great article!

    Funny thing –i had a discussion related to this article with a friend of mine –who is an amateur bass player–or in this case dilettante :). Very great guy, great person, but always has this sense of frustration inside him and ofcourse nothing in relation to music, especially bass playing, is good enough.

    His argument was that bass player A is “better” than bass player B, for the reason that his soloing was better ,his sound was better and his gear was better. 🙂 Bass player B should have used that pre amp instead of that etc etc etc and he should have done this etc etc etc. You know the vibe 🙂

    My point was that both are great –but they are different. It would be good if we just isolate all the good stuff from both of them and just get those. does not matter what style of music it is.

    Both (A&B) are doing music for the right reasons and they are both very successful in their field.

    I guess i will send a link of this article to my friend. Hopefully , he will understand 🙂

    Again, great article my friend.

  5. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks Christian for your compliments…

  6. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    That’s right Daniel.., totally my fault.., in fact I know perfectly it’s “BareNboim”, but I pressed the M on the side instead…., I’ll fix it ASAP.



  7. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    You know why you arrived to that Conclusion about bassists A & B Andreas..??

    Because you are a “True Musician”……., that simple…!!

  8. Steve Seven

    March 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I think it is a pity you are continuing the too long tradition of misusing the word dilettante. Once upon a time a dilettante was someone who took their hobby VERY seriously but did not consider making a career of it. It was actually quite a complimentary term. Now if you can please provide a better word for someone who takes their hobby very seriously but does not consider making a career out of it I would love to know it. Not every serious musician will be a professional.

  9. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks Steve for your comment….

    I know what you mean, and I’m completely aware of the origins of the word…, I didn’t cover that aspect becasue my article was focused on a different thing.

    Once upon a time the word “Emperor” was considered a compliment for who was supposed to be the ultimate power of a person over the rest of the people on this planet…,
    Actually, within the context of the first world, this word would be considered completely anachronic, very politically incorrect., and even offensive. The same has happened with thousands of words like for example the word “Pizzicato”.

    In my opinion, language and words are living beings that are always changing and mutating, so they have to be considered based in what they “effectively mean within the social and historical context.”
    Since the 20th century, and way before really, the word Dilettante with no doubt has been used to mean what I expressed on my article, despite the fact of the original meaning.
    If the word Dilettante should or shouldn’t have mutated on its significance, that would be a matter for a different discussion.

    I think that your opinion is not “a pity”.., quite the contrary…, it’s a matter of joy and celebration…, so that means I celebrate your opinion because “is your opinion”, I respect it and any further opinion from you will be always very welcome.



  10. Daniel Rebolledo Cormack

    March 11, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Thumbs up! great answer dude!

  11. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks Daniel……

  12. Andreas Farmakalidis

    Andreas Farmakalidis

    March 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you very much for your kind words igor. just a small parenthesis on language.

    In some ways, it is surprising that languages change.

    After all, language passed down through the generations reliably enough for parents and children to communicate with each other. Yet linguists find that all languages change over time. For example, while Japanese has changed relatively little over 1,000 years, English evolved rapidly in just a few centuries. Many present-day speakers find Shakespeare’s sixteenth century texts difficult and Chaucer’s fourteenth century Canterbury Tales nearly impossible to read. Dont even going to start talking about ancient greek. Some stuff are really impossible to read. Even the syntax of the whole text is totally different and the words have some times even different meaning , or connotation.

    Frequently, the needs of speakers drive language change. i believe that the fact that new technologies, industries, products and experiences simply require new words. Plastic, cell phones and the Internet didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s time, for example. By using new and emerging terms, we all drive language change. But the unique way that individuals speak also fuels language change. That’s because no two individuals use a language in exactly the same way. The vocabulary and phrases people use depend on where they live, their age, education level, social status and other factors. Through our interactions, we pick up new words and sayings and integrate them into our speech hence the word dilettante.

    Teens and young adults for example, often use different words and phrases from their parents. Some of them spread through the population and slowly change the language.

    Just my thoughts on language.

    Sorry for my rambling.

    It is just a subject that i like talking about.

    Anyways…again igor.. i believe that with this is a great article you and you talk about something very important.

  13. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    What can I say…, what you say has a lot to do with what I think and with what I”ve learned trough my life…, and it has a lot to do with my actual point of view…, so I agree completely with you..

    But well…, the main thing is to discuss about the Dilettantes and their toxic approach…

    Thanks Andreas…!!

    Be well,


  14. Ron Vandelli

    March 20, 2011 at 2:57 am

    very very interesting article, i think we all are guilty of this, whether its sports, music,or whatever. But your the 1st person i ever heard break it down like that.

  15. Igor Saavedra

    Igor Saavedra

    March 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks a lot Ron for taking the time to make that comment…!!

    It’s true we are all guilty…, but we came here to this planet to learn…, I’ve been trying hard through the years not to fall into this toxic behaviour and mostly to understand why it shouldn’t been done (which I think it’s the most important thing)…

    The more we are.., the better the vibe around any activity like the ones you mention.



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Igor Saavedra

It's amazing that Igor was not into music till he picked up a bass for the first time at the age of 22 in 1988. From then, he started an impressive and completely autodidact and self-taught learning trough all his career. Since year 2000 Igor has shared on his HUGE spanish language website his world of innovation and knowledge. So, if you want to contact him or find the complete information about him you can visit EXECUTION EXPERIENCE - Regardless of the enormous list of more than 100 top chilean frontmen artists and groups from all musical styles with whom he has played from 1988 to 2008, and that you can know about on his website, Igor Saavedra has recorded more than thirty CD's on this 20 first years of professional musical career, and from 1996 (that's only one year after arriving to the USA), he has played with a great variety of musicians from many different musical styles and countries, but mostly with prominent international Jazz and Fusion musicians like Bob Sheppard (Saxophonist for Chick Corea, Mike Stern and Tribal Tech); Hanz Zermuhlen (Keyboardist for Air Supply and Frank Gambale Group); Fareed Haque Quartet (Guitarist for Sting, Joe Zawinul, Garaj Mahal, Paquito D'Rivera and Arturo Sandoval); Tom McMorran (Keyboardist for Tom Scott, The Rippingtons and Robben Ford); Ramón Stagnaro (Guitarist for Hossana, Alex Acuna, Alejandro Sanz, Abraham Laboriel); Jim Paxson (Drummer for Robben Ford, Stanley Clarke, Alanis Morissette); Jan Fabricky (Drummer for Marc Antoine and Karen Briggs); Jean Marc Belkady (Top L.A Scene Guitarist, GIT teacher); Miucha Buarque (Famous Brazilian Bossa Nova diva); Antti Kotikosky (Guitarist who recorded with Vinnie Colaiuta); Marcelo Berestovoy (Guitarist for Ricky Martin, Selena, Daniela Romo, Bebu Silvetti, MI teacher, featured at Guitar Player Magazine); Robert Incelli (Saxophonist for Oscar D'Leon, Poncho Sanchez, Otmaro Ruíz); Enzo Villaparedes (Trumpetist for Joan Sebastian and Richie "Gajate" García); Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Drummer for Santana, Cristina Aguilera); Joe Bianco (Drummer for Fahreed Haque), The Atomic Dandelions (Electric Mandolin Trio); "Amir" (Drum teacher at the Eubanks Conservatory of Music and Arts in LA, CA); and many more...... - 1997 Becomes probably the first electric bassist in the world that recorded the original version of Rymsky Korsakoff's Flight of the Bumblebee, note by note, at original speed, with pizzicato (no pick), and without any tapping or trick. Is fair to say that Manowar bassist Joey De Maio recorded a completely adapted and simplified version some years before. - 2000 Returns to Chile and rapidly establishes his name again on the chilean scene. - 2001 Becomes the first Chilean bassist who performed, being an Official Endorsee, in a Booth at the 2001 NAMM Show in Los Angeles, USA. In this case it was Gallien Krueger's Booth. - 2003 Becomes one the two only Electric Bass players to be featured on the chapter "End of the Century Scene" from the book "The History of Jazz in Chile", written by the musicologist Álvaro Menanteau. This book is considered the most complete book ever written concerning the history of Jazz in this country. - 2008 Becomes the first chilean bass player and probably the first Latin American bassist to be featured on a special full page interview in one of the two most prestigious bass magazines in the world. This is the british "Bass Guitar Magazine" Igor was featured on issue number 35. - 2010 Igor Saavedra has had official sponsorings since 1989 (only one year after picking a bass for the first time). Now he is officially endorsed by the most prestigious bass brands in the market, like Mark Bass, Nordstrand Pickups, La Bella strings, and many (chilean) local sponsors, like Luthier Claudio González, Rudy Bags, Groove Electronics, and many more..... TEACHING EXPERIENCE - On 1991, which was slightly more than two years after having taking the Electric Bass for the first time (mid of 1988), he becomes the Bass teacher at the "Roberto Lecaros Jazz Academy", which was the most important Jazz School in Santiago de Chile in those days. - Has performed more than 50 Clinics and Master Classes. - Has performed more than 200 workshops. - Has had more than 400 personal (private) students in Chile and the USA, many of them bass teachers and top professional bass players while studying with him. - Has worked and participated (sometimes also playing) in clinics of musicians like Jeff Berlin (1990), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (2002), Gregg Bisonnette (2002), Marty Friedman of Megadeth (2003), Gary Willis (2004). - 1995 to 1999 Head Teacher of the Electric Bass Department at the "California Music Studio" in Los Angeles USA. - 2006 From this year he has been columnist and teacher for the N°1 Electric Bass magazine in spanish language in more than 15 editions. This is the European (Spain) magazine "Bajista". In addition to that, Igor was featured in an special interview named "Latin American bassists" with other 2 top Latin American bass players. The other two bassists were the great argentinian bassist Guillermo Vadalá (Fito Páez), and the outstanding mexican bassist Gerardo "Lalo" Carrillo (Luís Miguel). - 2006 His website was chosen "Bass Web of the Month" by this prestigious european bass magazine. - 2008 Published "T.G.E.S Rhythmic Applied to the Electric Bass Vol. 1." through JC Sáez Publishers. This is the first volume of a series of 3 books that will be edited by JC Sáez Publishers. Soon "T.G.E.S Vol. 1." was officially acquired by the School of Music of the "Universidad Católica de Chile" as a teaching material support that was destinated especially for the Department of Percussion. This book is being distributed in all Latin America and Spain. Soon wait for "Applied Technique for the Electric Bass Vol. 2." that will be released at the end of 2009 and "Applied Harmony and Improvisation for the Electric Bass Vol. 3." that will be released at the end of 2010. This three books will configurate one of the finest educational bass collections in the world ever made for the Electric Bass. This amazing trilogy will offer more than 500 pages of Bass knowledge and deep analysis of all aspects that have to do with the Electric Bass. INNOVATION THE FOLLOWING IS A RESUMED STORY OF THE "IGOR'S MIC RAMP" AND THE "SYMMETRIC BASS FINGER SWEEPING." - 1992 The birth of T.G.E.S, or "Structuring and Synthesis Global Technique" (in english), born when Igor discards the conventional right hand technique for the electric bass guitar, and creates the "Symmetric Bass Finger Sweeping Technique, and Vectorial Synthesis" which allows you to do things that would be almost unthinkable to do with the traditional technique. Since this year Igor was and still is the first bass player in the world to use and document the symmetric bass finger sweeping technique as a steady baseline technique. In fact...., he uses it not as an extra resource, he uses it for everything he plays (Walking Bass, Latin Tumbao, Pizzicato Funk, etc...). He created this finger technique applying the original concept developed for the picking technique by the great guitarist Frank Gambale. You can hear now great bass players that applied this concept some years after Igor created it, like Franck Hermanny for example, who sometimes uses it for performing his super fast runs. One of the main differences is that Igor worked in getting a sound that can not be differentiated from the standard pizzicato, so he can use it 100% of the time getting always all the benefits from it. - 1997 Develops a theoretical and technical concept based on the T.G.E.S. concept about which he begins writing a series of three books. - 1999 Invents and starts using immediately on his basses the "T.G.E.S Mic Ramp." or the "Igor's Mic ramp", which is a height regulated wooden ramp located in the area of the pickups, under the strings, and CONTAINING the pickups. The regulation comes from four screws attached FROM THE BACK of the bass to the ramp, which is obviously a more esthetical and refined way to do it. You can take a look at the offical posters from different brands made in year 1999 and year 2000 that are on this myspace's photos, and also on the video from year 2000 that is also featured on this myspace, SO YOU DON'T HAVE ANY DOUBT ABOUT IT!! This idea is a hybrid, derived on the one hand from the "Willis Ramp" invented by the great Gary Willis, which is a wooden ramp that was originally glued to the body and that later on had adjustable front screws, and that goes under the strings and BESIDE the microphones, and on the other hand derived from the pickups occupied by the "F Basses" which were, and still are, covered by a wooden casing that follows the design of the body. Igor shared his invention (photos and specs) with the world's bass community when he inaugurated his personal website on year 2001. This invention only started to be used by other players 6 years after its website releasing, and 8 years after he invented it. As an example, on year 2006 approximately it was included in electric basses made by AC Guitars, Le duc, Rickie Lugo and Nordstrand Guitars (brand that endorses Igor with it's great bass pickups), and then more and more professional bass players started to install it on their basses or getting basses that already included it. One of those bassists is the prominent French Bass Player Hadrien Feraud. It's precise to add that Igor created the "Mic ramp" first of all to optimize his technical system, "T.G.E.S." In fact, he also invented its name. - 2000 Is still the only Chilean bass player that uses the 4 finger pizzicato technique, developed before by the great Matthew Garrison, incorporating this technical resource to his technique T.G.E.S. OTHER INNOVATIONS - 1991 Becomes the first Chilean professional bassist playing with a six strings bass guitar. - 1997 After experimenting with tons of different string gauges and waisting tons of money buying different string sets, also mixing brands to get the proper one (all that before being endorsed), Igor comes up with his crazy string gauging that many people knows him for. His 8 string bass is tuned (from high to low), F-C-G-D-A-E-B-F#, and believe it or not, the string gauges he uses are 0.20-0.25-0.35-0.50-0.60-0.80-0.100-0.125 He is convinced than a lighter gauge, mostly at the lowest strings, brings a much full of harmonics and a much deeper tone. Also the string is much more "expressive", so you can bend it easily, get better vibratos, and get much more sustain from it. It's simple physics for him, and he has explained the concept and physics fundaments many times on his Master Classes and articles..... Just listen to his samples and videos and you'll agree on that. - 1998 Creates the "Virtual Cabinet", which is a system of removable supports placed below an electric bass cabinet that has calculated perforations and internal pipes that are facing the front of the cabinet. The supports live an approximately 1 foot space below the cabinet, which is loaded with an 18-inch speaker facing the floor, which generates a camera that disseminates extremely "Sub-low" frequencies. This "Virtual Space" or "Virtual Cabinet", allows the full system to be much smaller than the usual. This makes it extremely portable and increases incredibly its size-sound ratio. The Virtual cabinet was even more than that, as it also included two 2 X 10 + horn cabinets and a 3 unit rack that you could mount and dismount from the system, which was in fact "A cube" when fully mounted. Igor Saavedra designed and built in the "Virtual Cabinet" in USA along with Jaime Pavez, a Chilean architect and a friend who lives in Los Angeles, California. This invention was brought to Chile in 1999 and used for several live concerts with his band. You can look for them on some of his youtube videos performing at the Escuela Moderna de Música in 1999. - 1999 Developed a simple and effective concept called "Rear Truss Rod Access" or RTA that was and still is implemented in all his basses. With the RTA you are able to access the Bass truss rod without moving the strings to insert the allen wrench. - 2000 Becomes probably the first Latin American professional bassist playing with an Eight Strings Bass Guitar. - 2001 Launches the first professional bassist website in Chile, and one of the firsts in Latin America. - 2005 Developed and implemented a simple and efficient system to turn off and on the tweeter through a footswich for live applications, so you can use it in any bass cabinet and not only on equipments that bring this feature from the factory. - 2006 Becomes the first chilean Electric Bassist to have it's own signature bass strings model. Those are the "LA BELLA IGOR SAAVEDRA SIGNATURE BASS SINGLE STRINGS". He was also probably the first bassist in Latin America to achieve something like that. - 2010 "Artist of the Month" on , sharing this honour with bassist like Jeff Berlin, Hadrien Feraud, Alain Caron, Tom Kennedy and Michael Manring. Visit Online: (Spanish) (English) (English / Spanish)

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