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What makes someone a musician?

Yesterday, Chris Coyier tweeted:

I bet “imposter syndrome” is extra strong in music. Like feeling you are barely competent at playing this instrument surrounded by people who actually know how music works.

My grandfather is a musician.

He’s been playing piano for 92 years. He doesn’t consider himself a “real musician.”

He taught himself how when he was six years old. I would imagine he wasn’t very good at first, but he’s amazing now.

He plays entirely by ear. He can listen to a song once or twice, and then go off and play a jazz improvised version of it along with the track (or the band, if live). He can play over a dozen instruments.

And his imposter syndrome is on full fire when he sits down next to trained musicians, because he can’t sight read music and they can.

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it?

Because, he’s obviously a real musician. How do I know? Because he plays music.

Just like you’re a real developer because you write code.

It doesn’t matter if you have a Computer Science degree or are self-taught. It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior developer or a beginner who’s just starting out. It doesn’t even matter if you’re paid to do it or still a student.

If you write code, you’re a developer. Just like my badass grandfather is a real musician.