What does it mean to be a “Professional”?


After a few positive comments towards me, lately, I started thinking about what it was “to be a professional”?   Here is the definitions that appear in Merriam-Webster:  “Professional.” (Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/professional.)

Definition of professional:

1a of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession

b engaged in one of the learned professions

(1) characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession

(2) exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

2a participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs

  • a professional golfer

b having a particular profession as a permanent career

  • a professional soldier

c engaged in by persons receiving a financial return

  • professional football

3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession

  • a professional patriot

Now, I have heard that there are various ways to explain this but, in this instance, I am only using my current experience as it applies to what I do as a musician.  To me, it takes a lot more than showing up to a gig, a rehearsal, a studio session, or even a meeting to talk about an upcoming project, with “professional gear” and a pair of drumsticks to call out to everyone what you do.  I think you have to show up with a plan, a call to action, and at least some input that can explain from a different angle other than those presented, how to clarify your point.  To most people in this field, it’s “let’s get together and jam before our gig”?  Just because you may make some money at a gig does not, in itself, make “YOU” a professional.  Although people are paying to see you or see what you can bring to the table, it’s a whole myriad of things that make up the “professional musician”.  Let’s list some of those here:

  • Do you present a “professional” attitude?
  • Do you come prepared ? (this is not a time to “learn” your song)
  • Do you have a good attitude?
  • Are you open to suggestions or constructive criticism?
  • Are your standards above what is expected?
  • Do you carry on in a businesslike manner, regardless of the pay involved?
  • Do you treat your livelihood as it should be, with high regard?
  • Dress the part, play the part, put your game face on.

With all of this being said, I also get paid for my “professional services”.  That doesn’t mean that it’s beneath me to serve, and give my time in some way, but, it does mean that I get to choose those times and how it is applied, as this is my livelihood.  I often negotiate my rates with those that request my services. Because let’s face it, it’s quite flattering to be held in such regard.  I understand that I can be of service, help someone, and still make a living.  But, I get to choose.  After all, I have to make a living at what I do, just like anyone else.  I don’t flaunt it but, I do treat it like big business.  Because it is big business to me.  Lately, I was blessed to serve alongside a remarkable musician.  He is, Grammy™ award-winning arranger and multi-platinum award-winning composer, producer and performer, Fletch Wiley. He said this, about me onlineGina not only has chops and an impeccable sense of time, but she comes prepared. And with a great attitude.  If I were you, I’d hire her!!  Fletch Wiley”

However, because you are a professional, don’t let your ego guide your mouth.  I always try to stay humble in my dealings as well as business minded.  All of these things combined, make me a “Professional”. I don’t apologize for it. I will, however, treat you with respect, dignity, and a “professional” on equal par. To me, comments like this are the pinnacle of knowing who you are.

Thanks for visiting my website!

Your Thoughts?

7 Replies to “What does it mean to be a “Professional”?”

  1. Some good points. I think being humble is the key, it can open many doors, if not humble, many doors will stay closed and you won’t get anywhere. I’ve been drumming a long time, played with many people and places, met a lot of people. Most of them good and some not, some were cocky, some would try and compete with me, that’s not being professional. The Lord gave me the talent and I do my best to give my best. I’m not the best and don’t claim to be, yes other churches have wanted me and other bands also which is encouraging but it’s all God not me. Of course we must also practice and continue to increase for more opportunities.

  2. When you give somthing that’s needed and others are willing to pay and tip. I like my drum sound and backup vocaling to give the goosebumps. Now I’m broke for playing to Jesus and God. But that’s not a bad thing and still give the same effect.

  3. Its a fact. And my feeling are mutual as when I was coming up and other things came up. The search of happiness and Peace are found in this profetion. As with other and more important things in life when tenderly you surrender for the right reasons, and that too are found when sought for. x o.

  4. Agreed, young Padawan! Great assessment.
    #1. Be Humble
    #2. Be overly prepared with the material
    #3. Be the pillar, not the landscaping.
    #4. Be Humble
    #5. Know your gear, grow your gear.
    #6. Be so skilled that they don’t notice your skill level.
    #7. Be so cool that they feel comfortable telling you things
    #8. Be so trustworthy that everything they tell you goes no further than the original conversation
    #9. Be Humble
    #10. See #’s 1,4 & 9.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *