In my case, a free beer during an Open Mike Night gig, keeping time for the proletariat constitutes “professional status”.We can all produce examples of this.
So, if it fits "YOU" ... then put it down here.
Enjoy the discussion ... and keep it civil. We're all drummers.
Most of my circle, such as it is, feel recovering the fuel cost to a gig is professional; earning enough to pay for new heads is icing on the cake. So we bottom-dwellers are on the low end of “professional musicians”.
Seriously, a Professional Musician is simply one with the training, talent, aptitude, and acumen to earn a steady living performing in whatever venue they choose. Some scrape by OK, some earn great wealth. Entertainment is an awfully risky business into which you have to invest your life.
With three of six kids still at home, I’m content to be asked to back tyros at Open Mike Night for a beer!