Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

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Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by Somarithedark »


I had a passing thought this evening that, maybe moving abroad from the States to somewhere in Europe might be a better, safer idea in terms of a career in large ensemble tuba playing. Besides the cost of living, quality of life, and other benefits being much better in Europe compared to most the US, there is also much more prevalence in music jobs it seems. Not to mention the overall importance and respect that orchestral music has there compared to here.

It just seems to me that, with all of these things considered, it makes sense to make the attempt to work abroad, at least for a decent chunk of my career. Also, given that our economy is continuing to tank, as a young fresh-out-of-college guy with no money, maybe it’s worth considering moving somewhere else, where things are going better for me to start the beginning of my adult life.

Have YOU ever thought about this yourself? Is there anyone out here from the USA currently living abroad in EU or elsewhere? What’s it like? Anybody here from another Continent that has their career here in the USA? Would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and/or experiences.
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by MKTuba »

I’ve thought about this idea for a long time. Besides what you mentioned, the prospect of living and working in another country (permanently or otherwise) is something that has always interested me. I think the obvious idea of waiting until you have a gig before you go over there is probably a good one, but I don’t know much about the musicians economy in other countries.
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by GeoffC_UK »

The UK.
I am an amateur player, so what I say may be not quite right.
This is what I see on the professional tuba scene from my perspective.
The most populous professional tuba job in the UK would be with the armed forces, such as the RAF Central Band, Royal Marines Band, or the Guards.
Full-time orchestral jobs are very, very few and there would be many tubists hunting that job.
Freelancing is a hard life with most work surrounding our major cities, especially London.
Teaching may be option, but in secondary and tertiary education funding is not great.
May be worth contacting the MU (https://musiciansunion.org.uk/) for a more informed view.
Finally, I have worked overseas a couple of times in my life: not for financial gain, but certainly a wonderful experience.
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by circusboy »

Lovely idea, but you'd need to have a close look at immigration policies in the EU and UK and any other places you might consider, paying close attention especially to work visas. These are generally not easily gotten.

Good luck!
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by charlieJ »

I've lived in Europe on the local economy (12 years) and am a frequent visitor. I'm not so sure the statements in your first paragraph (which presumably is the basis for you considering working there) are entirely accurate. You may want to do some deep research on that...plus the comments above are valid. Regardless, living overseas is a wonderful experience that everyone should consider just to gain much broader life perspectives.
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by Matt G »

Not sure about the policies nowadays, but in the past, you had to be a citizen of an EU member to even audition for some of the bigger jobs, specifically the orchestras/operas that receive a good deal of state funding.
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by hubert »

Perhaps also look at the emirates, esp. Oman. Apparently the emir does invest a lot in ensembles and music education....
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Re: Having a career abroad: USA -> Europe and Beyond

Post by burningchrome »

24 years ago, I met an American trumpet player in the Transylvania State Phil in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He was a couple years out of grad school, and got to play all the cool principal trumpet parts. But, they paid him peanuts, so he had to go to Germany every so often and gig to make ends meet.
This was 24 years ago, so the COL in Cluj-Napoca is probably much higher today.
A lot of rose-colored glasses about classical music in Europe. My German relatives were pretty pissed the city was spending money to build a new concert hall for the philharmonic in Reutlingen.

If you're healthy, look seriously at the US Military. It's a hell of a deal. If you want the benefits, but not the full-time commitment, your local National Guard band is all the benefits (cheapest health insurance anywhere), and very little commitment.
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