My new-to-me clarinet. It is a vintage 1964 Buffet Evette. An "intermediate" model. When buying my new clarinet, I longed to buy a "professional" horn. But I had to admit to myself that as much as I long to be, I am not a professional. Therefore, I need not spend the extra $1500-2000 a "professional" model would cost.

 I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word “amateur” and how it is often used with a negative connotation. These examples of the word’s usage from Merriam-Webster depict that negative connotation:

  • “The people running that company are a bunch of amateurs.”
  •  “Only amateurs make this kind of mistake.”

Merriam-Webster defines “amateur” as:

2 one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession
3 one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science


If you’re like me, you’re probably only a “professional” at one or two things…the things you do to earn a living. I’m a professional historic preservationist. It’s what I am passionate about and how I support myself. But it isn’t the only thing I do…

For that reason, I’m proud to call myself an “amateur.” I’m an amateur writer, an amateur musician, and an amateur photographer. I’d love to be a professional at all of these things and maybe somehow in the future I will morph from an amateur to a professional. However, in the mean time, I’m not ashamed to be an amateur. Learning is part of life’s journey…and I have so much to learn.

Here’s a bonus:


2 responses to “Amateur

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