Musicians need to be technically solid, artistically interesting, unfailingly hard working and promotionally savvy.
Listen to as many records as possible, develop a massive sound vocabulary, and learn to interact with the musicians you are onstage with.
never expect opportunities to just turn up out of the blue, be proactive about creating and finding new work. Be pleasant to be around, assume fully all projects you commit to and always strive to be better. Stay determined, there are always high and low points, believe in yourself and you capabilities. Don’t underestimate the need for rest, set aside time for yourself.
One of my greatest challenges is to not compromise yourself as a musician artistically as it’s easy to fall in to a trap of always playing the music that people want to hear. I think that’s easy to do at the early part of your career but I reached a point where I said to myself, ‘why did you become a musician?’ and it was to not just play music which people are used to hearing but also to make people think a little. If it’s a new sound or interpretation, as the saxophone played in a classical way is then the artistic process is quite different to something that you are used to hearing and arouses an emotion or feeling which you weren’t sure was there.
I am always studying new compositional devices, listening to other people’s music and gaining different ideas
I think there are many moments that define what kind of musician you are / will become. One of the earliest I remember was borrowing a John Coltrane double album from school. It was probably the first jazz CD I checked out.