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It's been difficult trying to survive in a musician in France. Much to my surprise, it--


--wait, no, wait a minute... I haven't tried living in France yet. I haven't been to France. In fact, for my entire life, I've never been farther east than Las Vegas.




Right. So what I meant to do, in all honesty, was to impose upon those of you who have traveled (and, ideally, performed) abroad a simple question. How do saxophonists fair in France? My gut tells me it isn't too much different than it is here in the States, but I'm really curious. To be completely honest, though I am only a modest musician at the age of 20, I plan on doing some extensive traveling within the next year. I'm really not all too fond of the United States, and I will be actively considering places I might like to live in later in life. However, I would also like to consider persuing my dream of being a jazz musician.

Seeing and hearing some of the great musicians from France and British Isles here on these forums really gets my hopes up. So... what's it like? Is it difficult? Are gigs so scant that musicians are fighting over them, or is there any fair amount of demand for the genre whatsoever? I'm looking for less of a comparison to the United States and more of a subjective point of view from your experiences.
 

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From a German perspective? Based on your sound clips I would say you would not be able to make a living playing jazz here at this time in your development. Later? I don't know. For jazz gigs competition is very stiff.

Now your short funk clip, I would say you could work as a pop player. Even then I don't know what your income level would be. By far the majority of working pop players have other income sources. Of the pop sax players I personally know or know of, I would say only about 5% (that's not a mistake) make a full time only playing. This doesn't mean that you couldn't make a full time living as a musician, but if it's as a player you would likely also have to teach as well as taking just about any job that comes your way.
 

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Master.America said:
It's been difficult trying to survive in a musician in France. Much to my surprise, it--

--wait, no, wait a minute... I haven't tried living in France yet. I haven't been to France. In fact, for my entire life, I've never been farther east than Las Vegas.

...
Well then, there's your problem. You've been going in the wrong direction. You should head due West until you run into France [You'll know when you get there because they talk funny.]
 

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gary said:
From a German perspective? Based on your sound clips I would say you would not be able to make a living playing jazz here at this time in your development. Later? I don't know. For jazz gigs competition is very stiff.
Criticism understood. Though most of those clips are over a year old and I have since gained some private instruction and had some structured practice, I know where I stand in the land of musicians--I'm not far above the amoeba at this point.

So it's pretty stiff, even for seasoned musicians? Good to know. Right now, I'm at a point in my life where I really need to decide my career path. I'm trying to decide whether to stick with an Associate's in music (as I had originally planned before I found out that I wasn't really the great musician everyone in my isolated town had thought I was) or to go with something more... productive.
 

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i see you are an english teacher. what about a degree in music and become a music director in elementary or middle school (no marching band) and play the sax in as many bands as you can in the evenings and weekends? you can pass along the gift of music and build your chops at the same time.
 

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Master.America said:
Criticism understood. Though most of those clips are over a year old and I have since gained some private instruction and had some structured practice, I know where I stand in the land of musicians--I'm not far above the amoeba at this point.
Not only that, Europe has a very high density of conservatoria (music universities more or less) which release a ****load of musicians every year. And above that, there aren't that many places one can play. The big jazz-guys from Belgium (Toots Thieleman, Jef Neve, Peter Joris, ...) all look FAR across the boarder to get a decent income.

But from a living point of view, I'm still glad I live at this side of the ocean ;)
 

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Europe, in general is an expensive place to live, and France is probably the most expensive place in Europe.

Your chances of making it there as a musician may be greater if you have sufficient experience and a decent enough career in the US as a sax player (or any instrument you may wish to specialize in). I'm talking having played in a number of major jigs with some of the acknowledged sax masters (perhaps taken lessons from them), sold a few CDs, etc., as some of the guys in this forum have done. Then you would have enough stature to start a career in Europe without starting from scratch.
My two cents.
 

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Saxmusiclover said:
Your chances of making it there as a musician may be greater if you have...a decent enough career in the US... I'm talking having played in a number of major jigs with some of the acknowledged sax masters... sold a few CDs, etc.,
And then, financially, an experience common to many expatriates is, once you've lived someplace long enough, you're no longer "imported talent" and what prices you might have commanded because of American-jazzer mystique disappears.
 

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Saxmusiclover said:
Europe, in general is an expensive place to live, and France is probably the most expensive place in Europe.
:sign5: You would be amazed if you checked prices in England, or even better, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. There are in fact even in Belgium quite some people that move to France because of the cheaper living conditions.

Not everybody in France lives a mile away from the Eiffeltower :D
 

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I can't see a reason to play in another country and make even more problems for yourself. I see the reason that a lot of the great jazz players have stayed in Europe for many years because the people and lifestyle seem to be more appealing and agreeable, but these guys were huge artists with big followings and were more or less legends.

There's plenty of oppertunities to play in the States, you'll never be too big for the US. Try traveling to the East coast and have some of those bad ****** rip you up and down.
 

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There's no reason to believe that the standards for porfessional musicians anywhere are any more relaxed than here in the US. In fact, since North America has probably one of the shortest musical heritages in the world, it would stand to reason that all other audiences, though appreciative, can be much more discerning. There are great players everywhere. Just do what you can to get to become one of them and it won't matter where you are.
 

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I moved to France, to play professionally years ago. Although it was a great cultural experience for me. Professionally you are in pretty much the same boat as you are in the states, except here (usa), there is a much larger pool of top notch musicians to benefit from. I would definitely recommend using music to help you travel to new places, but if you haven't learned to make a living with music in your home town then it surely won't happen in a foreign country where you don't speak the language.

I've since moved back to NY because I wanted to be challenged more and grow more musically.
 

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It might be best to check up on what kind of public assistance/welfare you can get before you go to the other side of the pond to be a pro player.:|
 

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Gandalfe said:
Seems to me that if you aren't making it in the US as a musician or anything for that matter and you think you might in the EU, you should be able to speak more than English. How's your French?
If you are working as a pro musician where you are, and making a living at it, you could probably go to any decent size city in the world and make it there also. If you aren't working where you are, you might as well forget it. The Bay Area has a pretty good work scene, at least it used to. If you go to Paris, you would have to compete with the likes of this guy and there is nobody around the Bay Area that plays like this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QQTBSecHkM
 

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There's a belief that Europeans appreciate and support jazz more than Americans. I don't know how true that is. So I guess the logic follows that there's more opportunities to play and make a living over there than there are here. If you follow that line of thinking, you definitely have to do some research to see what is actually going on over there and it really is any more feasible to be a full time pro over there instead of somewhere in the states.
 

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whaler said:
. If you go to Paris, you would have to compete with the likes of this guy and there is nobody around the Bay Area that plays like this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QQTBSecHkM
Yeah, except Rick is from the 'states. The trouble is, jazz (bebop, postbop, etc.) has really reached a terminus similar to that of western European classical music. In order to be differentiated, you need to express prowess in terms of flawless execution of accepted musical practice -- not innovation or individuality. I find this very disheartening. Making it in Europe or anywhere else means you are in the business of being a stylistic interpreter. This comes with a lot of expectations from any "informed" jazz audience. That is precisely what has kept me from ever trying to have a career here or abroad in jazz. If you don't measure up to people's pre-conceptions, you have no chance of making a living. YUCK!!
 

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Jason DuMars said:
The trouble is, jazz...has really reached a terminus similar to that of western European classical music. In order to be differentiated, you need to express prowess in terms of flawless execution of accepted musical practice -- not innovation or individuality. I find this very disheartening.
EXCELLENT observation and well spake! Good on ye! :notworth:
 
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