The first and most important step to become a folk musician is to learn as much as possible about the folk music genre and develop a strong interest in it. As a musician, you will need to learn how to play your instrument in the folk music style, so a beginner may need to take lessons to learn how to play his instrument properly and how to develop skills within the genre. Once you feel you are proficient enough to play folk music, you will need to decide your goals once you become a folk musician.
This will mean deciding where, how often, and in what manner you want to play folk music. You may choose to become a folk musician by playing music around town, or by touring regionally, nationally, or internationally. You may instead choose to become a folk musician by recording a folk music album and distributing it through a variety of channels. Some folk musicians choose to simply play when they can where they can, or educate children about folk music or the history of a particular region. Folk music lends itself to education because it often tells the story of historical figures or events for a particular region.
When you become a folk musician, you may choose to form or join a folk band. The band will need to decide what kinds of music to play: folk rock, for example, or traditional folk music associated with a particular region or even ethnicity. Playing in a band opens up more creative opportunities for the musician, but it also opens up the need for more communication among band members.
Once you establish yourself as a folk musician, you will need to begin promoting yourself. This may include hanging flyers to advertise local shows, creating a website dedicated to your music, or simply playing in front of crowds often. Recording an album is a great way to build a following and get exposure to a larger audience, but you will more often than not need to invest a fair amount of money into recording and distributing the album. It may be possible to get a record deal with a company that will front the money for such projects, but this can be fairly difficult.