What’s the difference between a music hobbyist, enthusiast, student, and professional? How do we make the distinction? Is it the amount of time that we play? Is it the amount of money that we make through our performances? Is it by being in or not in certain organizations? Is a military musician with a time-consuming collateral duty truly a “professional” musician? Is a student a professional? Is the guitarist who gigs on Friday and Saturday nights and works a 9-5 a professional guitarist?
I suppose when asking these questions, we must look at our motivations. Why do we need to define other musicians in certain boxes? Is it to help the field, to help them, or to help us feel better about what we do? Does it matter what we call ourselves? Maybe we should make music with whomever we want and not allow the labels to become a tense distraction. The world has enough tense distractions and could use more genuine musicians making genuine music.