I would say if you are accepting money for your services you are a professional. Does a person that only tends bar on weekends consider it a hobby????Thanks everyone for the thoughts and feedback. Lots of interesting points. To finish out the story and update: the weekend we fired him - massive storm in our area -the power lines and cell phone towers were all down so my band mate fired him by text which was not ideal of course. The fired player sent both of us a really weird angry rambling email basically making a bunch of excuses and suggesting we misled him in terms of expecting note for note performances and we didn’t give him enough time (which was not the case and frankly not the issue). And then ended off by telling me he didn’t really like our music anyways and how he was too busy and was only doing this as a favour. Lol.
So as a courtesy to my band mate who is the friend, and having some emotional distance from this guy, I took the high road, sent a fairly short reply explaining it was a trial and the band all agreed it wasn’t working out in the time we had available, we felt it was better not to lead him on, sorry he felt that way and it was just as well considering it sounded like he wasn’t enjoying it anyways. No hard feelings here, best of luck and take care. The end. He sent me a very short reply saying thanks for the message and that was it.
So sigh…. never again. Friendships and band do not mix!!! Unless they have some emotional maturity and are known players. Honestly this was just a strange situation and we should have known better.
So to answer one other interesting point running through this thread— are we technically professional or is it a hobby? Well, I guess you would call it a professional hobby but I would never admit that when we are pitching for gigs to presenters. Yes I need money to pay for living expenses for a family of 4 and I have another job that pays the bills, so no we are not making a living. But we self financed 2 cds of mostly original music, have had some radio airplay, played at folk festivals now and again, gigged regularly at a few clubs and small theatres before Cvd and hustle summer concert series with municipal presenters. It’s a hustle and we don’t have the momentum to really build it up into a career and that probably isn’t happening anyways at my age but I am happy with the way it works. We get paid to play unless it’s a charity thing, and those hiring us are expecting us to sound tight and together and in tune. Is that professional or not? I guess I don’t care what you call it. For now we have a few young jazz session guys around here who know us and will play with us if we can pay them decently. They won’t commit to permanent status for obvious reasons.
At the end of the day if you are getting paid you should meet the expectations of whoever’s hiring you. Sadly music is a highly undervalued profession. But that’s another thread I guess.
I’d also say that if agree to play in public you should act like a professional, regardless of whether or not you’re getting paid. I’ve seen too many musicians turn in a half fast performance with the excuse that they weren’t getting paid, they weren’t getting paid enough, or it wasn’t a nice enough place to warrant the effort of a good performance.