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Looking for some life advice from professional musicians in Europe

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by paxrvr, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    Hello all! Long time peruser of this site, first time poster though. A bit of background on myself, I am 21 years old working full time as a data analyst in Indianapolis. I went to college for 2 years and tried out 3 different majors before deciding that I need to take some time to figure out what I want to do with my life. I have been playing bass for 9 years now and while I know I'm not the best in the world, I feel like I can hold my own. It has always been one of my biggest passions and I would love to make a career out of being a studio musician. I know that I have a long way to go in terms of technique, learning the industry, etc. but it is a challenge I am willing to take.

    This leads me to my main point- I want to relocate. Aside from personal reasons for disliking Indiana (I've lived here my whole life and have had about enough), it is certainly no music hub. I can't even find a decent bass instructor. On top of that, I'm wary of the direction that the United States is going and disagree with some of our country's political values. Because of all of this, I'm putting some consideration into moving to Europe. Right now it's little more than an idea in the back of my head, but it's a big enough notion that I've decided to start looking into it as a viable option.

    Is there anyone here in the forums who has worked as a professional or semi-professional musician both here in the States as well as somewhere in the EU? If so, what were some pros and cons of both? If you had the ability to uproot and relocate anywhere to play music, where would it be and why? Do you (or anyone here, really) have any pertinent life advice for me?

    Please let me know if there's anything else I should add. My computer is currently out of commission so this was all typed up on my phone and is therefore likely very scatterbrained. Also, thank you in advance!
  2. pastorjamesc

    pastorjamesc Cheap Ability, Expensive Taste Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2012
    Waco Texas
    Owner/Operator of Cotten Patch Sound Design. Burns of London Guitars and Basses retail. I do sound design, resetting, and education for churches, organizations, and small venues with no Sound personnel. Studio for "self-produced" rental use.
    Have you thought about Canada? I've recently immigrated. Although I did it as a minister so it will be quite different. BUT I like Canada for many the same reasons you cited wanting to become an ex-pat.
  3. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    I haven't really considered Canada since I don't know too much about it. I've felt a stronger calling to England specifically because they have a strong history of wonderful music and I love British culture. Not to mention they have acknowledged the importance of music education in schools and are funding their programs, which IMO would be a very big plus if I ever have kids. I've also studied German for 7 years and have a similar affinity to Deutschland, although I'm not as familiar with their music scene.
  4. rms2


    May 27, 2008
    I'll be interested to hear what others have to say on this topic too. Aside from current politics and economics I'll say that living and performing abroad will be a great experience. Do it now while you are young and don't have too many complicating factors.

    A couple US bassists doing this that immediately come to mind are John Goldsby and Gary Willis.
  5. gricko


    Mar 29, 2004
    do you speak any foreign language?
  6. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    My bad getting political, I forgot that's a no-no. I've edited my post accordingly. Thanks for the article, this potential move wouldn't be for a few years at least (with planning, saving, etc.) anyway, so it gives some time to see if either the US or EU plans to battle unemployment pan out well.
  7. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    I speak reasonably passable German and am likely going to get some software to learn Spanish sometime soon.
  8. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    Your post reflects little to zero knowledge of the music industry on any level. Playing for 9 years means nothing. You can play your whole life and be the best player in your state and never get a call.

    There is no market harder to break into anywhere than studio playing. The old record mill type companies no longer exist, and more and more players are doing things in house.
  9. gricko


    Mar 29, 2004
    germany is one huge market.
    spain, france, holland are also countries to consider.
    great variety of music made/played.
    one way of making ends meet might be to play music by night and teach english by day.
  10. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    How would you work out the whole visa thing?
  11. The good: You're at the right age to do what you're talking about. I personally believe that travel is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Visit a foreign country and if you have an open mind, you'll never look at the world the same way again.

    The bad: Everything that's been said. Being a pro musician is hard enough when the economy's good. As a Yank competing for work in a country with double-digit unemployment, don't expect a warm welcome. No matter how much you improve as a musician.

    Strong language skills and connections will be significant advantages.

    Have you considered a change of scenery within the US? Your musical ambitions aside, getting out of the place where you've lived for 21 years will likely shake up your perspective -- and I mean that in a good way. Look for a city (Boston, Austin...) with a scene you can fall into and job opportunities for someone with your skills and experience (but no degree = liability). Pull up stakes and make a fresh start. You're at the best age to do it.

    Whatever you do, good luck.
  12. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    I didn't claim to have much, if any knowledge of the industry. In fact, I specifically said that it is something I need to learn about. I suppose I phrased it wrong with "studio musician", really any gig in-house or otherwise would be great.
  13. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    Hmm, an interesting idea. Definitely something to consider!
  14. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    I'm talking about a full-on change of citizenship.
  15. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    So do you have European parantage or something that would make that easy?
  16. paxrvr


    Oct 1, 2012
    I'm cliché-ly young and upset with this country as a whole and that's why I would like to get out. I edited out the details from my original post, but I can message you with them if you'd like.
  17. IMO, that's a disproportionately aggressive solution.
  18. No, that's OK—I think I get it, and I respect your opinion (heaven knows I've felt that way now and then).

    I'm going to duck out of this conversation and wish you all the best in whatever you do.
  19. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Just be sure to do your due diligence and research the political and economical climate of the country (or countries) you're considering... You may find that the grass isn't necessarily greener..