Bassist's path without bass
My path to become a professional musician
What better way to start than telling a little bit of my story :) I am from the rural part of Chile (San Vicente de Tagua Tagua) so as you can imagine there are not many opportunities to get near to music. Still I was lucky enough to learn the double bass in the little music school of my hometown when I was 16 years old, an age considered very late to begin studies in classical music. In this school they were able to lend me a double bass in not very good conditions and I began to learn how to play the double bass in a self-taught way through video tutorials on youtube since there was no double bass teacher in the school. After some time I had the luck to go to lessons to a cello teacher who guided me in my first musical steps. After a few months, in my constant search for improvement, I began to travel around the country looking for double bass teachers to teach me the basics since cello still is a completely different instrument and at one point my cello teacher and I just reached the limits. So that’s how I met my mentor and finally I decided to study music professionally. This decision was perhaps the most important in my life since it meant leaving everything aside and concentrating on achieving the necessary level to enter the university and put myself on par with my colleagues.
Thanks to the support of my family and my teacher I was accepted into the university and was able to begin my studies. But of course there was always the problem of not having an instrument. However, thanks to some efforts, it was possible to get a double bass through the university on loan and with it I did much of my education. During these years I combined my studies with various jobs in extracurricular areas to earn some money which allowed me to live away from home and advance in my studies.
Life as a music student is difficult in Chile, since classical music is not something very popular. But with dedication I was able to live my dream of being a professional musician. At the beginning I basically locked myself up every day to study for hours for four long years in order to achieve the necessary level. Of course it was a great sacrifice but the results were visible: I have been invited on several occasions to renowned international music festivals in Europe (Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, Sommer Musik Akademie) and I have received scholarships from chilean organisations to finance my studies. All these achievements pushed me to work even harder for my next dream: to study in a great school in Europe. The luck was on my side and I got accepted in the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia in Madrid, one of the best schools in the world with the most famous musicians as professors. From this moment on another stage in my life started and the possibilities for my future as a double bass player were brighter than ever.
Starting a life in Europe at one of the most renowned music universities
Europe for me was always considered the paradise for classical musicians. Since I already had a little experience traveling regularly to improve myself and play in different countries I think the culture shock was not so big when I moved to Madrid. But the fact of going alone to live in a country that I didn’t know at all and in which I had no friends or family felt like I was starting completely from scratch. The beginning was very difficult for me. Of course I arrived without an instrument and I had to manage to get a borrowed one in order to have my classes. Not to mention the shock I had when I heard the big difference in level between me and my classmates. But I didn’t want to get discouraged, the opposite happened, all this gave me even more strength to grow and improve as a musician. As time went by the school decided to give me a scholarship with an instrument so that I could perform better in my studies. At the moment I’m still using this instrument and I also get a scholarship that helps me to live in Spain since I my family is not able to support me. However it is not a regular help and many times I have had financial problems to support myself.
Reaching the level but feeling the gap of not having a good instrument
These last few months have been incredible, I have studied a lot! I won a place as an academician in the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra last summer but unfortunately it was not possible for me to take it because I don’t have an european nationality, I was invited to two projects with the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, I had tours and concerts in Europe, professional auditions for orchestras. In short, a lot of things are happening and I feel like my level is increasing a lot in a short time. However, in all these activities the same problem of not having a good instrument remained as in all the previous years. A lot of times I had to ask to friends if they could lend me their instruments but this brings the problem with it that I always have to get used to an other instrument instead of being able to focus on achieving a higher level and after a few days I have to return the instrument again. My current double bass is not good enough to get a position in an orchestra or win a competition in Europe and this is the reason why I started this project and why it is so important to me. I am sure that with a good instrument I will be able to reach the highest level and bring my joy of making music to a lot of people!
I hope this knowledge of me brings you a little closer to my situation. You have no idea how much I would appreciate it and how grateful I would be if you can help me!
A big hug, Dante