I will talk about musicians point of view on this and my experience, but first-here are few reasons why people decide to move to another country in the first place.
1 – For love. To follow their spouse.
2 – For work. To earn more and grow in their field.
3 – For education. To eventually go back to their country.
4 – For experience and adventure. Just because they are bored. This falls into category – to get to know yourself better.
—– You have the freedom to discover who you are, what you truly want and don’t want without any distractions or influences from people close to you — whether it’s close friends, family, or just familiar surroundings. ——-
5 – They don’t particularly like their country anymore or never really felt as home there. They already have discovered who they are and that is very different from majority of people around them. So they move to another country to be surrounded by more like-minded people.
6 – The war situation.
7 – Weather! This is also one of reasons why some people decides to move. Simply because they want to be in more sunny place. Or maybe opposite, they love snow and winter more than their sunny native country.
8 – Retirement. Sometimes different country simply provide a better lifestyle for the retired person.
PROBLEMS THAT PEOPLE FACE IN DIFFERENT COUNTRY
1 – Different culture. They are not ready to adapt and not willing to change.
2 – Missing their friends and relatives.
3 – People are not prepared for the fact that they gonna have to work harder! Better place is also bigger competition.
Personally for me none of these things became a problem. I was so excited to be in London that I simply didn’t have much time to look back and miss anything. Plus I had some of my closest friends here in London already. But I met so many new and exciting people that there was only excitement for the first 2 years for sure. And, I loved different culture. That was probably the thing I loved the most besides jazz. And so many cultures! I was also prepared to work harder. I knew it’s not gonna be easy. But these few problems are very common for so many people who decides to move!
My suggestions for those who are thinking of moving
First, decide what are your reasons to move. And whether you want to stay or go back after a while. I you want to stay then you gonna have to CHANGE. Bigger city have different rules. Make sure you learn them in beginning. Absorb your new friends and ask questions. I have met so many people here, who later moved back to their country. The main reason was, they discovered it is too hard and they weren’t willing to change and accept the new rules.
Second – don’t expect anything to be easy.
First few years I was living in London was not very comfortable, I wen’t through a lot of struggle, I had to do things I would never do in the country I came from. I had no money, and places I stayed sometimes was a bit dodgy. However, I was happier I have ever been!!!!!!!!! Because the things I was learning can’t be measured in money or comfort. I have learned so much and I would never be able to learn those things if I stayed in Latvia. And I felt like home from beginning. London just was my kind of place 🙂
( After years I do appreciate the money factor regarding guitar teaching. This is comparing to the country I came from-Latvia. Pay can be even more than 10 times bigger.)
FROM MUSICIANS POINT OF VIEW
You will most likely need to find a day job first! (It wasn’t how I did it, but I had good friends and few opportunities that allowed me to focus on music rather than spending all day in the work that I hate. I could say I was lucky, but as mentioned before, it wasn’t easy!!!) However, most musicians who are not rich, and most of them aren’t, first need to survive to be able to succeed or really just to stay in the new country. Only after a while you will find enough gigs and/or students to support yourself with music. It takes time to understand the system, to socialize and meet people. Often musicians who have the most gigs have grown up in England and they are booked by people who they have known for many years. Often it’s time that makes others trust you. If you start with college when you move to another country, you will meet fellow musicians there but if it’s not a college, you will need to attend a lot of jam sessions and many times(!) just to make people remember you. Trust me, there are so many musicians in London. For example, I have been running a jazz jam for few years now. And, I can tell you, I remember someone only when I meet them multiple times. Or if they are very talkative! 🙂 Or stand out of the crowd somehow. But for others, only if I check them out in youtube or something like soundcloud after meeting them. London is very intense place and if you are active, you will end up meeting 50 new people every single day. (That is only if you don’t have a day job. If you have one, meeting people will take longer, as you will be too tired to go out every day.) Imagine how hard that can be to remember all the names and faces if you meet 50 people each day. However, if you attend jam scene often, you will end up meeting the same people in multiple jams. Advice is to ask questions to everyone you meet. How to find students, how to find gigs, what they have done. Ask questions to foreigners, as they went through the same thing as you do now. Do your research on the web. You can do this before you move! I found out that there are many teaching agencies on the web to find guitar teaching jobs. They do take a percentage for finding you students, but in most cases it is worth it! Another page that was useful in beginning to find gigs was – Starnow.com, there are also some Facebook groups for finding gigs I have noticed recently.
Practice. Of course! But this is for musicians in general, whether you move to other country or you don’t. Try everything until you achieve your goals. It will take time and patience and many musicians does give up! But! Many stays. And there is a reason why. I have been living in London for 5 and half years now. And I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Used to think of New York, but they have harsh winters and as an European citizen it is much harder for me to move there.
Good luck packing your bag! And good luck keeping up with everything new! Thank you for stopping by in my page!
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Nora Bite, guitarist, jazz player, composer, guitar tutor, Londoner.