Hi Brian.....

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really do appreciate it.

First, how do you define "amateur?"

I'm more than sure this is the root of the difference between us. And that is cool!

For me, the term amateur is someone that deeply loves something but does not persue it on a professional level. BUT... it does not have a thing to do with any level of talent. I know many extreamly talented amateur musicians that, if they wanted too, could compete on ANY level but they either choose not too or don't have the resources to do so. Let me illustrate from my own life.

At one time many years ago I was a professionl Bass Fisherman and guide. I made a living doing it. I had at my command all the resources I needed to be successful at what I was doing. I now fish as an amateur. My talent is just as strong as ever but I could in no way compete with those at the top levels of the bass fishing game as THEY have resources at hand that I don't have access too.

One of the greatest choral groups ever assembled (they won grammies for their work) was the chorus that Robert Shaw had with the Atlanta Symphony. Although it was an auditioned group they were amateurs...they did not get paid a cent for their work. Most of these people ( I know first hand as I was a member of this group ) were in no way professional musicians...they were doctors, stay at home moms, etc....that just loved to sing and wanted to be the best choral group they could be and the level of talent was amazing. BUT....this group had at their desposal, because of the association with Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony, resources that most choirs could only dream off. Not to mention the greatest choral conductor that has ever lived!

I in no way think amateurs need to be "protected". I just felt like they need a more level playing field, not based on the isssue of talent or quality but rather on resources. That, in my clumsy way, was the point I was trying to make in my request.

Don't be defensive about our exchange. Your question has been asked before by others. We just have a very passionate opinion on the matter and so we answered passionately. We want to help you learn to make music that can reach and move a larger audience of people. It's part of what we do here. Hang out and you may find yourself also being recognized against some of the best know and unknown artists and writers in the world.

Sorry if I came across as definsive. I guess MY passion was showing through. smile

I fully intend to hang out here with the goal of learning all that I can. I have a college degree in Music and was for a number of years a "professional" in my field. I even stepped in some pretty high cotton (as we like to say down south) in the circles I lurked in. I left the profession for a number of years and have just in the last year made the decision to come back to my first love. I have a deep committment to learning. You can never learn too much!

As to where it takes me.... we will see and where ever it takes me is fine as I believe THAT issue is in God's hands. I'm just working to be the best that I can be. Where it (He) leads I will follow.

I thank you for your passion and the hard work I know it takes to make all of this happen. I hope in some small way in the future that I can make a contribution here and give back as much as I'm getting.