Comparing and Contrasting Musicians from Artists: Can Musicians be Considered as Artists?

Contrasting Musicians from Artists

Many fresh talents are making a name in the music industry in the current times also in painting industry with the help of custom paint by numbers canvas, some identifying themselves as skilled musicians of a particular genre. In contrast, others earn prestigious titles as artists. You might wonder about the difference this makes and why they seem to be put into two different pedestals.

To dig deeper, we’d have to briefly view the standard definition of a musician and an artist and what distinguishes one from the other.

Who is a Musician?

By definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a musician is a composer, conductor, or a performer of music, and common knowledge would tell us that they are individuals who play instruments or are musically inclined, which are all but the same.

Musicians can be categorized into four different groups; let’s take a look at each of these and try to compare and identify which categories fit into the definition of an artist:

  • These are musicians who compose and produce music. (e.g., producers, composers, singers, and instrumentalists)
  • Non-Creators. We also have musicians who are less on the creation but more on performing music. (e.g., DJ, orchestrators, and conductors)
  • Amateur Musicians. These musicians only know how to play or sing certain songs and only do so as a hobby and nothing more.
  • Professional Musicians. In contrast to amateurs, these are musicians who spend ample time studying the craft and are most likely paid for their works and performances.

However, these are not at all fixed.

In modern times, a lot of non-creators such as DJs and conductors have the ability to produce their own songs and music, and at the same time, some singers and instrumentalists only stick to cover singing instead of composing original music. We might need to take note of this, especially if we’re trying to distinguish which of these musicians are artists.

Who is an Artist?

Artists create or produce a work of art as a profession or hobby, and these works of art can be classified as either visual arts or performed arts.

  • Visual Arts. These are works of art perceived by the senses. (e.g., painting self portraits, sculptures, photography, and architecture)
  • Performing Arts. These are the forms of art that are performed on stage using body movement. (e.g., dance, theater, and music)

Right off the bat, we now believe that musicians can be considered artists who produce performance art. These two are somehow interconnected in the ability to produce something beautiful for everyone to enjoy and interpret. However, defining the two also reveals to us that not at all times can a musician call themselves an artist or an artist call themselves a musician.

Final Words

You identify someone as an artist when they create something from their imagination may it be as a pastime or a profession, and that would mean that musical composers and producers can call themselves an artist regardless if they do so as a hobby or a career, but singers and DJs who only play and make covers of ready-made songs, can not call themselves an artist. Musicians who plagiarize original works cannot be considered artists either.

Similarly, artists who specialize in a different field and use a medium completely unrelated to music, such as ceramics, acrylics, and charcoal, can not be considered a musician or even a performance artist for that matter. Instead, they should be properly classified as a visual artist or a sculptor, or a painter, just like how musicians should be classified as they should be.

Both titles are of equal value and must not be carelessly used in order to respect those who worked in triples to earn it and be known as one.