We’ve talked a lot about what it means to be a professional performer and/or teacher. We’ve listened to many points of view and opinions. I, myself, used these pages to speak my mind on the matter.
But, do you know what’s the main difference between professional and amateur artists?
Professionals need to work to make a living. We don’t have any other source of income. We aren’t engineers, doctors, administrative. We are artists. We don’t have a “day job” that pays the rent. We don’t have a monthly salary that allows us to dedicate our spare time to improvise.
Impro is our job.
That is why we had (and still have) a really hard time during the pandemic. There is no safety net. It’s simple. If we can’t perform or teach, we can’t pay the rent or go to the supermarket.
Of course, we somehow managed to adapt in order to survive. That’s what you do when you don’t have a choice.
So, we started teaching and performing online, most of the time charging less than we used to, just to make a decent living.
So, next time you ask for a discount or a scholarship, think about the professional behind that request. Make no mistake, if we can afford to give that discount or scholarship, we will. But keep in mind that it’s our salary. That we need that income. That most of us are independent artists and there’s no huge company behind us.
Would you ask the butcher for a discount? Would you tell your dentist to treat you for free? Would you demand the supermarket to give you free groceries? No, right?
That’s what it means to be professional. This is our job.