To become a professional musician is a dream for many but achieved by so few. The idea that a passion can be a profession just feels so impossible, but it does not have to be as complicated as many people think or say. When I break the process down it should not be seen as easy, but just no longer feel as impossible.
You do need to hope that your parents where proactive when you were young and introduced you to music during your childhood. This will have allowed you to become familiar with quite complex ideas from a young age giving you the experience required to become a professional musician, it is even more advantageous to learn from a young age as your brain will take in new information easier, you will also have a lot more time to learn your instrument as you do not have the complexities of older life in the way.
When learning an instrument there is no greater truth than the phrase `practice makes perfect.` It is extremely important you try to keep your instrument fun, try not turn your instrument into a chore as this will sap any enthusiasm you may have for music. To keep your instrument fun you should try learning new songs you might not listen to or normally play, not only will this allow you to learn new music but it will keep your instrument feeling fresh and will allow you to constantly improve in different fields of music. When practicing it also extremely helpful to record yourself playing, being able to actual listen to and critique yourself will broaden your understanding of your instrument and where you need to improve.
It is extremely important if you want to become a professional musician that you learn musical theory. No band will accept any musician who can not read music, it does not matter how talented you are actually being able to read and knowing of musical theory is key. This does lead quite nicely into my next point, which is going to university for music. This goes hand in hand with your knowledge of musical theory, as just like with any other profession you will need to seek higher education if you want to follow music as a profession. This is because it will give you a sort of credibility that simply being an independent musician will not, going through the degree route will give you at least four years to learn and hone your craft.
It is also quite key that you try join as many bands as possible, this will provide you with exposure that is key to building any strong musical portfolio. Being in numerous bands will also provide you with in the field experience, giving you a new ear for timing and other essentials that playing alone can not give. You will also see how other people play their instrument, providing you with new ideas. This is also extremely important in keeping your instrument fun, playing alone can get extremely dull at times, so by playing with others you will have a new outlook on your instrument and will make everything more exciting, as you see how your hard work has started to pay off.
As I hinted in the last paragraph exposure is extremely important in becoming a professional so try get your name and music out there. It is an extremely competitive field so try meet as many people as possible, this could be other musicians, musical engineers or even established composers. No composer is ever going to come to you, so you need to show why you would be an important part of any band. You could even think of finding an agent to help build your portfolio, someone whose whole jobs is just to try find work for you, though they will receive a cut of your pay it may be pivotal in the starting stages of turning professional.
Becoming a professional musician is a long and gruelling process, but not as impossible as many may think. If you have the commitment from an early age, along with the pursuit of music in higher education and the tenacity it will take to receive exposure, you will be well on your way to becoming a professional musician.