Instead of playing music performed and produced by others on your computer or phone, that is.

Ideally it's just a word, but a phrase works too. Ideally it also includes the concept of songwriting, but it doesn't need to. It should apply even if playing is not done in front of other people or ever recorded and shared with other people.

Currently I say "I like singing, playing guitar and piano, and writing music." But it's a mouthful and way more specific that I mean to be. I've also used "I'm an amateur musician", though that seems to imply I share my work with others (by performing or publishing online or in person), so I don't think it would have applied before I started doing so.

This is similar to Word for "to make music" except this question doesn't require a single word, so hopefully we can find some more natural and clear phrases than the single words "jam" (which implies improvising with others), "melodize" (which sounds unnatural in casual conversation, and confusingly seems to imply something about working on melodies specifically, like "harmonize"), or "perform" (which implies doing it in front of others).

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    You don't hafta give a lifetime synopsis at first. Choose one -- say, I like playing guitar -- and let the others develop as needed. You won't come off as pushy and you might come off as modest, if you actually have many other talents. Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 18:19
  • "Or singing"? The verb "play" is never used for singing, so, for example, if you're only singing, you're not "playing" anything. Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:22
  • @JohnLawler Yeah I used to say "I like playing guitar" but then they assumed I was an expert guitarist and wanted me to play something for them. Then I'd have to tell them, "no, actually, I don't know any popular songs I can play for you... I like singing with the guitar and writing music and have some background in music theory" and it ended up being longer. 😅 Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:40
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    You can say, “I like guitar music,” and proceed from there.
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 0:38
  • Can you clarify why you used to say "I like playing guitar" if you knew no popular songs? Would you not have been better saying something like "I'm learning guitar but I haven't got very far…"? Could you re-phrase the exposition in light of that difference? Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


There is a strong tradition of making music in Scotland. For example:


The site name makes clear the meaning. The site content deals explicitly with instruments and voice. For example, “Play to Learn and Sing to Learn were a series of successful day-long workshop and performance events”

Hence, if you say “I like to make music” or “I like making music”, it would be understood that you play an instrument or that you sing. The degree of expertise implied by the statement is from beginner and amateur through to more accomplished performer, and does not imply expertise that you do not have.

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