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Thread: Deducting musical instrument on tax forms

  1. #31
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    That's a tough gig at O'Hare. Good for your brother-in-law not going on strike. That was really tough back in '81. Reagan had to deal with the PATCO strikers because the post office workers were thinking of striking and watching what was going to happen to the controllers. A lot of my friends lost their jobs then. PATCO made a big mistake in talking about striking for years before they actually pulled the trigger. FAA management were smart in promoting a number of controllers to staff jobs so they would be around to work the boards. Lots of overtime though. Tough time for sure.
    Rick Floyd
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  2. We know music is fundamentally mathematical. Rhythms are but fractions and notes are frequencies at defined intervals. Non-western music may have notes that we don't acknowledge as notes, per se, because they exist in physics whether we use them or not. I think this article provides a succinct review of the academic literature, which is apparently non-conclusive.

    Personally, I am exceedingly right-brained. In every aptitude test, brain test, personality test, Oprah quiz, whatever you have it, I consistently show a strong right brain and a fledgling left brain. As a young undergrad, I majored in communication and easily graduated with honors. Later, after a number of unexpected influences, I got a master's degree in accounting with a 4.0 GPA and more wailing and gnashing of teeth than you can imagine. It was hard, but I was more mature by then and I did the work. I'm still not naturally left-brained, but skills can be taught. There must be some fundamental intelligence in there somewhere that my left brain can pull from, but I imagine our Gary, in his love of logic and reason, would go bonkers if he spent about 0.8 seconds inside my brain. Linear my thinking is not.

    As this applies to music, I find I'm fairly gifted at musicality and pitch, but oh how I struggle with rhythm. It isn't intuitive, it doesn't internalize easily, and I have to literally sit there and do the fractions sometimes in order to understand how a phrase should sound. This kinda makes sense to me. If musicality is a more abstract, right-brained skill, and rhythm is a more concrete, left-brained skill, then music is to me exactly what one might expect it to be. Of course, personality apart from intelligence plays a strong role in giving me a love and almost need for music, but we all know that appreciation and aptitude aren't the same.

    That's kind of a long way to answer the question about those with financial backgrounds in music, but it also goes to support this theory:
    Music performance requires multiple parts of the brain working together, and it will therefore attract people whose gifts come from any of those parts. Those who are most talented, however, are the ones who have a strong ability to use all the parts of their brain at the same time. Or at least, those who practice allllll theeeee tiiiiiiimmme.
    Wessex Dolce

    "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things -- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones." - Puddleglum in "The Silver Chair"

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by lzajmom View Post
    ….That's kind of a long way to answer the question about those with financial backgrounds in music, but it also goes to support this theory:
    Music performance requires multiple parts of the brain working together, and it will therefore attract people whose gifts come from any of those parts. Those who are most talented, however, are the ones who have a strong ability to use all the parts of their brain at the same time. Or at least, those who practice allllll theeeee tiiiiiiimmme.
    I absolutely agree with this theory. And I also think it gives credence to my and others belief that it is not unusual at all to find music people and math people living in the same mind, and doing quite well, thank you.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Right back at'cha, Gary! This is something that I've seen reinforced tons of times in my latter career. But of course that is still anecdotal.

    But from my two examples, I came away with these tidbits:

    1. The I.T. department of a major corporation chose to recruit previously unknown candidates from the pool of music teachers.
    2. A successful regional tech company deliberately went to a music school to recruit people they did not otherwise know.
    Both of which COULD be alternatively explained by the realizing the readiness of teachers (and very likely particularly music teachers) and would-be musicians to jump at the chance for a well-paying regular job with actual benefits. Especially for entry-level jobs, it's a lot easier (and cheaper and less time consuming) to go where you know you have a good chance of landing the fish. But we do have to acknowledge that these companies very likely were not devoting such effort to recruiting social studies teachers.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    It is not unusual at all to find music people and math people living in the same mind, and doing quite well, thank you.
    Oh I quite agree on this point, personally being another example of the phenomena. All though, I will say that I am more a "numbers person" than a "math person." I do not claim to be a top of the heap accountant or musician, but I am quite capable in either capacity.

    But with all this anecdotal evidence that these two sets of characteristics coexist within one mind so often, where did the rest of USA society get the idea that these two attributes were so far apart from each other?!

    Ah well, the silliness of being human, I guess (grin).
    - Sara
    Baritone - 3 Valve, Compensating, JinBao JBBR1240

  6. Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    Both of which COULD be alternatively explained by the realizing the readiness of teachers (and very likely particularly music teachers) and would-be musicians to jump at the chance for a well-paying regular job with actual benefits.
    I do think it's fair to acknowledge that, even though there were plenty of other reasons, the availability of part-time and home-based work for an experienced accountant was a significant influence on my decision to diverge so far from my native interests. If I thought I could make the same amount of money in the same amount of time by making music instead of crunching numbers, I would totally do that. And then just play around in some spreadsheets on the weekends, y'know for funsies. Oh wait, I already do that. Can hobby accounting be a thing??
    Wessex Dolce

    "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things -- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones." - Puddleglum in "The Silver Chair"

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara Hood View Post
    Oh
    But with all this anecdotal evidence that these two sets of characteristics coexist within one mind so often, where did the rest of USA society get the idea that these two attributes were so far apart from each other?!
    - Sara
    Because of all the other anecdotal evidence (perhaps even more compelling) to the opposite point of view? There's a classic fallacy of informal argument called "special pleading" (strongly favored by lawyers and politicians -- who, oddly, often turn out to be the same; but I digress) that once you're committed to a view, you focus on evidence that supports that view and avoid considering evidence to the contrary because it's inconvenient to clinging to the view you've adopted. Everyone has that tendency (not just lawyers and politicians who've weaponized it as a rhetorical device); and it's just one of the dangers of using anecdotal knowledge as a knowledge acquisition and support mechanism.

    And then there's the problem of deciding what's mathematical and what's not when you're determining what anecdotal evidence to consider. Certainly a grasp of certain relationships and concepts that can be thought of as "mathematical" (e.g., pitch, rhythm, intervals, chords, etc.) is necessary to be a competent musician. But extending this to a broader and more meaningful sense of "mathematical" is precisely like saying that NFL players must have an innate talent (embedded somehow in the wiring of their neural systems) for understanding mathematics and mathematical concepts since they're so adept at understanding and memorizing complex plays, trajectories of passes, paths of runners, etc. Yeah, and this leads down the path to the view that my Neanderthal ancestor had particular "mathematical skills" or "mathematical inclination" since he was adept at throwing a spear and hitting a target.

    (In full disclosure, there's an interesting argument concerning abstract mathematics and the spear-throwing thing, but I won't wander off into it here. For those really interested in this topic of mathematics and associated skills, I strongly recommend George Lakoff's and Rafael Nunez's Where Does Mathematics Come From?. Despite some subsequent criticisms of their view, it's the best account of the "origin" or "source" of abstract mathematical concepts that I've seen, and matches my personal experience in such areas as set theory and abstract algebra. It might provide you with even MORE evidence for the music/mathematics link!! )
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by lzajmom View Post
    Can hobby accounting be a thing??
    Sure. I still do what I've come to think of as "hobby philosophy" -- including writing a book that I should be working on instead of typing this.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  9. With the federal standard deduction being doubled to $12K for individuals and $24K for unions, itemized deductions (of which I'm not sure instrument expense can be applied) are off the table for a lot of taxpayers who used them previously. Just something to consider as you investigate tax laws related to this issue.
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Sterling Virtuoso 1065HS and Adams E1 Custom w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE956 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD w/ Bach 1G)

  10. #40
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    Instrument expense and depreciation are separate from itemized deductions. Apples and oranges. Unless I'm wrong, which my wife says is entirely possible most of the time.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

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