I’ve been reading ads for musicians and bands seeking each other for over 45 years, first in newspapers and magazines and now online. One word has always been confusing – the term “pro”. I always read “must be pro” or “no pros please”. Just exactly what is considered a pro? Or more confusing, what is the opposite of a pro? An amateur? A part-timer?

Does a player need to be working full time in music to be considered a pro? I think years ago it may have meant this, back in the days when many bands gigged 5 nights a week. It was simple to use the word “pro” to mean a musician who paid all his bills by working full time.

But today, with less full time gigs and more part time situations, does this definition still apply? Let’s say a carpenter works 5 days a week for 25 years but then elects to work only 2 days a week for the next 10 years. Does this make him any less of a professional? No, his work standards are still the same, he just works less days a week. The same should apply to musicians. Most people will agree that a part time wedding band would certainly be considered professional even if they are only playing 2 or 3 well paid jobs a month, because they wouldn’t be continually getting those gigs if they were not “professional”.

What about an original or cover group rehearsing in a garage who have never played a gig yet? Are they professional? Doesn’t the answer depend on the GOALS of the band? Perhaps the terms “pro-minded” or “serious” then come into play, which makes it even more confusing. So the next time you see “must be pro” or “no pros please” in an ad, it means………….whatever you want it to mean!