I am and I operate as a Professional in every sense of the word. Whether I do my art to generate income or do it for charity, I conduct myself with integrity, honesty, and competence.
I don’t dabble in my art. I am serious about learning and doing it very well, indeed.
Pros don’t do alcohol and other mind-altering drugs, including bogus pseudo-scientific psychotropics – legal or illegal. These take me in the opposite direction away from my role as an artist/performer and make me less able to communicate with the people around me. I practice extreme moderation with alcohol and with any legitimate and necessary medications - if I use them at all.
I refuse to negate my value as an artist. I disagree with anyone who says or ever said or did anything to me that was intended to undermine my reach to be an artist or make a living at it. I refuse to make any negative statements about myself as an artist, to myself or others. I am not “not very good” nor “just doing it for the fun of it” nor “just doing it for myself” nor “don’t know how to play” or any of this sort of garbage talk.
I speak my artistic goals and purposes as though they were already done or being done. I say things such as, “I am always learning and working hard to be competent as an artist/performer”, and “I can do this” or “I can learn or acquire whatever I need to do this”, and “With my art I am able to make a positive impact on people”, and “I am achieving my goals as an artist and then setting new ones.”
I am making all the money and/or other compensation I need to survive well from my artistic performances.
I help other artists to succeed and do well in life, and realize that there is more than enough room for all of us to make a good living from our art. If other artists do well, that creates an atmosphere which helps me, as well. What goes around, comes around, regardless of what others who are selfish, cynical, and short-sighted may think.
My art is to be communicated to others. It is not for the closet or for my bedroom walls. I don’t “just do it for myself”. When I play all alone it is with the intention to practice sincerely and to improve my art so I can communicate it better to others later. Art is a high-level communication, and my growing talent is to be put to good use to make life better for all of us. I may perform it, but it belongs to everyone who cares to reach for and share in it. If I have any talent, then it is my duty to use it for good, to lift my fellow man so we can all survive better.
My compensation is not only measured in monetary terms, although that is surely one important way that I may receive an exchange for my service. I am also aiming to elicit the participation of others in the music. A smile, a sing-along, a thumbs up, dancing and moving to the rhythm, tears of flowing joy or strong emotion, interested attention given to my performance, plus any words of encouragement or other genuine, well-intentioned help that forwards my purposes as an artist -- these, along with monetary compensation are all part of my “pay” as an artist.