Should I move to a new town, which one?
I went to music school in a great city for music, (don't want to give out to many specifics on this one.) I got a traveling gig right after I finished school, which has been great. I'm home for a few months at a time, but then go right back out for many more months at at time. I've done this general procedure twice now, and will still do it a few more times, maybe another year or year and a half.
I try to play as much as I can when I'm in town, because ultimately I had/am planning on coming back here, and I don't want to be forgotten. I can't get involved in long term commitments, of course though, so I can only do sub work here and there. It's difficult playing with a band or artist just one time, and then leaving for six months, and then coming back and trying to do it again, when they may well have forgotten about me in that amount of time. "Oh hey remember we played together one time a long time ago, and then once more a really long time after that?" It's awkward, and I'm getting a reputation for being gone a lot.
When I was out for a long time the first time, I was homesick a lot, imagining a joyful reunion with my college crowd when I get back, only to find when I actually got here that many of them have gone different directions, are working constantly, or have left town permanently. That's all fine, life goes on, but it gives me less motivation to try to be on the circuit here, since I'm now wavering about staying.
Long winded personal stories aside, do you think it would make more sense to start fresh in a new city when I'm done with the road, since I'm only "half there" where I am now, and feel like my reputation is that I'm gone all the time?
If I move, any suggestions for good "second tier" towns? I'm no jazzer, and would be mostly trying to do theater work, as well as corporate bands and the like. I have a great friend in Seattle, and am looking into the scene there. At this point I'm not prepared to move to a hub like L.A. or New York, but could MAYBE consider Chicago.
Thanks for reading this far, and for any advice you can offer!
It seems like a wise idea to stay with your plan for the next year. You need to realize that you are gaining good experience by going on tour. However, don't eliminate two major entertainment cities because of a lack of confidence in your skills as a musician. If your hometown does not offer the playing opportunities you see, then it's time to consider relocating. Your town will always be there if you decide to return.
Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville are the three major music entertainment cities. If you don't want to move to any of those towns because they don't appeal to you, that's fine. But, don't cross them off because you don't think you're "good enough". Moving to Seattle may be a good move because you have a friend there and it may make the transition easier. Seattle has a good music scene. All of this requires good thought and preparation.
My advice: stay with your plan for the next year. The answer will become clear. No matter what, don't let the fear of change lock you down.
Thanks for the insight!
I'm not necessarily "scared" or think I'm not good enough to be successful in a New York or L.A., just not in love with the idea of either of those towns to go through what you have to make rent alone. I would consider Nashville, though. Quite a few of my friends from college have been moving down there lately.
Do you think I'm off base in thinking it's going to be hard to get into the scene here again after being so on-off for 2-3 years or more?
If Nashville is an option, why not come a couple hours further south to Birmingham. It's the largest city in Alabama but as big cities go it's not much above burg status. It's big enough however to have a very active local music scene and plenty of locals are like you, here between touring, and plenty more who have "retired" and now just work locally, which includes Nashville. I can think of at least two session guys who work in Nashville and Muscle Shoals who call this home. Another appeal is your proximity to the gulf coast.
Since the steel industry died out, the University of Alabama, Birmingham UAB) medical school is now the largest single employer in town and has established a sold reputation as a world class center for medical research. We are also a center for finance and engineering so there are opportunities outside of music to make a decent living in several disciplines.
Just throwing out a little food for thought.
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