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  • Writer's pictureEvan Clifton

Growth in uncertainty.

4 states. 550 miles. 8.5 hour drive.

No, I didn’t move across the world… but it sure has seemed like it at some points over the past month and a half.

This move to Nashville, TN has been the biggest challenge I’ve had to tackle in my life so far, but it’s exactly what I needed. I was comfortable in Michigan, but that comfort lead to a lot of internal frustration, problems in my relationships, and just general unhappiness. I wasn’t happy being comfortable when I knew there was more out there for me to do that wasn’t possible in my current location. I had consistent orchestra work, a great group of private students, and a large network of colleagues, but I needed more, and different.

So I pulled away the safety net.

But thankfully, my circle of people here in Nashville has helped me land on my feet. Referrals to contractors for playing work and school band directors for private lessons, sending tons of new opportunities my way like producing a record within my first month here and doubling on tuba for recording sessions, and massive amounts of personal support.

Has it been easy? Absolutely not. This has been the most stressful, anxiety inducing, and terrifying month and half of my life, it's shaken me to my core and challenged everything I thought I knew or wanted, but that's where growth happens. In the uncertain moments.


Lean on your friends and colleagues, ask for help, trust people who know the scene better than you.

Say yes to everything. Even if you’ve never done it before and it makes you incredibly nervous, you never know what growth will come out of it. Even if it ends up being a horribly negative experience, positive growth will still come out of the situation.

Develop a routine. As a full time freelance musician, routine can sometimes be difficult to come by. With almost total control of my schedule, it’s been easy for me to feel off-kilter some days and have a really hard time focusing and being productive. But now that I’ve started following a (general) routine of work, practice, exercise, reading, and a few other things, I feel like I’m starting to function on a much higher level.

And finally, trust YOURSELF. Whenever you (I) make a big move in life, of any kind, there’s always a reason. Hold on to that reason and let it drive every decision you make. It’s been easy for me to lose sight of that focus while trying to adjust to life away from everything I’ve known, having lived in Michigan for 25 of the last 26 years, but keeping this reason, my WHY, at the center of my thought process has made tough situations easier to handle.

In keeping with the reason I started this blog, here’s a recording that I shared on Facebook quite a while ago but it seems fitting for this post. The Sarabande from the first suite for solo cello by Bach, but played on an 11 string guitar.

MUSIC. It’s good for ya.

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