Which one do you think will get you more work?
Beyond the barrier of entry to play music professionally (a base knowledge of theory and technique) there are people who make their name being good players and people who make their name running good bands. Having chops is only a part of the equation if you want to succeed in this business.
The reality of the situation is that both kinds of musicians need each other. Those who run the bands can’t do what they do without competent musicians who would rather just play and not worry about the details of booking/advertising/promoting. I have played both parts in different projects. That being said, I make more money being in charge than the guys I hire to play their parts. If you want to get past being a sideman, you may want to look more into the business side and take some time off woodshedding.
Full disclosure: I did not go to school to be a musician. My college degree is in music business with a minor in business administration. During that time I was playing in bands and performing in ensembles with music majors. Those guys were in a state of stress I did not envy. Crazy schedules, tons of lab time and classwork seemed to suck any fun out of their college experience. I saw their futures. Most of them became music teachers and I wasn’t interested in that career path. Were they better players than I was? Absolutely. Was I still playing in bands with them? Absolutely.
Once I got out on my own I found that all of the information I had learned in marketing and management directly affected how my bands were doing locally. I had the skills to come up with good ads and manage our social media in a cohesive, professional way that seemed to elude some of the other bands. I was able to compete with bands with teams behind them.
At the end of the day you have to decide whether you want to be the musician who gets the check or the one who signs it. Maybe it’s time to put down the metronome and pick up the management books….