Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Not too sure if this has happened to anyone else out there. I'm STUCK on ships! Go ahead and laugh, but it's quite the dilemna.
I started several years ago, and being pretty much self-taught (and a "jazzer"), it was a intense trial-by-fire. So... now I read and double, play with the section, and hang :cool: but I'm a little uneasy about venturing back out to land. At this point I'm thinking the only ways to keep it going (playing full-time but off ships) would be: go back to school in a big city (quickest wasy to get into a network, plus a few bands to play in to keep up the chops), put together a combo and head for asia.
SO: any comments, criticism, empathy, or advice? Thanks- Mike

Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
40,343 Posts

Again I am not an expert and just try to show some empaty here and generally think together with you.

I guess that this is a dilemma of every professional musician. More so in the Jazz scene that anywhere else because the market is very small compared to other musical things .

Playing on cruise ships has been traditionally something which has provided a good livelihood for many but hardly the artistic challenges one might be desiring. I remember when I was playing many years ago (it was progressive rock at that time... ah the '70!:cool: ) that many of my friends spent their summers on cruise ships, playing all sorts of music and generally gaining experience but at a certain point they too realized that they were running in circles and there was only so much dance music you can play and after that it will be just a job like any other......more or less (not quite true but that is what it feels like, I guess).

Many actually come to Europe in a continet so various such as this yu can move from Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Great Britain and make lots of new experience. I doubt you will make a good living though.

I ahve no Idea if Asia is more welcoming.

I wish you all the best anyway!:)

167 Posts
This thread hits really close to home. I just started working on ships last year. I'm going on my next contract in the end of May. It's a great life on board, most of the time, anyway, and decent pay for the amount of work, or lack thereof! But yeah, I've been worried about getting stuck in a rut, as it were. Right now I'm halfway between college, for the last five or six years, that is, and I have no clue when or where I'm going to finish. I mean, why sit in some cooped up classroom when I can be out traveling, meeting lots, and lots, and LOTS of beautiful women, practicing all the time, and performing for live audiences damned near every night?! There are pro players who don't perform the amount of shows we get out there.

Right now, having been in between contracts, I've been playing with my local college bands, keepin' up the chops, as you mentioned. Ship life is still pretty new to me, but I am worried about the future: I'm trying to use it as a chance to hone the chops up, write, make contacts from all around the world, who might be so obliged to let me crash on their couch while I'm in town, and give me some breathing room to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with myself!

So, now that I've read that all back to myself, I realize it probably doesn't help you at all, but man it feels good to get all that out! To tell the truth, I'd love the idea of taking a combo out on the road someday. For some reason, to me, it seems like the next logical progression after this.

Anyways Mike, keep in touch, it'd be great to share ship stories with someone who's been out there.

294 Posts
I used to do lots of gigs at the Indian casinos around here... they usually pay better than club gigs. I am guessing that they are very similiar to the cruise ship shows, except you get to go home after.

Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2007
1,143 Posts
Bingo. You have just described my life perfectly. I have been working on ships for the past three years. Although it does provide steady income playing music, there are a lot of negative things that happen as a result of being gone for such long stretches of time. You lose your musical contacts on land, you can't take lessons, and you can't hear any variety of live music.
I have just ended my time on ships. I am pretty dedicated to not ever stepping foot on a ship again as a musician. When I got onto land, I got business cards, made resumes, both performing and teaching, and got in touch with some people to find contacts in my new home, Las Vegas. If you're looking to teach, I think it's important to have a separate teaching resume. A couple of people I've talked to who hire teachers at music schools/stores mentioned this to me when I spoke with them. I've also tried to go to jam sessions whenever I can. I've been in Vegas two weeks and have a teaching gig, have some auditions, and am doing a little subbing around town. I'm also taking flute lessons and I think taking lessons, in school or independently, is a great way to get yourself into the musical community where you live.
At the end of the day, I think the more homework you can do about where you live and the music scene (or lack thereof) the better off you will be. Good luck here on land!
1 - 5 of 5 Posts