The popular definition of professional entertainers is that they are being paid for it. I would go one step further and say that the professional entertainers are first and foremost dedicated entertainers who love what they do and somehow can from time to time make a living doing it.
The Music Profession
It really is a very interesting and at times strange world, this world of the professional musician.
It contains those who are soloists such as opera singers, recitalists, concerto players and conductors. It may be a stretch to call a conductor a soloist, but in many ways the description fits because he is the one out front of the rest of the performers.
The musicians who are not soloists include the orchestral musician, the members of the chorus and chamber musicians such as string quartets. Of course every musician is in many ways a soloist but we do separate them in the above way.
The Performing Ego
In order to be a performer of any description it is essential to have an ego. Sometimes, of course, it can be so inflated so as to get in the way, but basically no one can perform properly without an ego.
Performers get their thrills and kicks in different and often individual ways. The soloist has the easy job because of the applause and adoration directed specifically to him/her.
The orchestral musicians gets a kick from doing the particular job well and being a part of an ensemble which produces great music. This ego satisfaction comes from inside and with the feeling of doing a job well and providing real entertainment for the audience.
The members of the chorus get their rewards from doing the individual job well and knowing that the chorus contributes mightily to the overall performance.
Whatever place the musician has in the world of music there is the ego which produces the best possible and consequently gives the audience real entertainment.
The professional musician becomes such for the thrill of being a musician and being able to entertain through the craft of the musician. Certainly in western society no one enters the music profession to become rich. The material rewards are often exceptionally modest.
But the thrills and highs are so much greater than can ever be realized chemically or in any other way, that it is worth finding a lifestyle that can be afforded and enjoyed in order to be a professional musician and out there entertaining the masses.