Being on tour.  To the non-musician it sounds fun, sexy even.  It sounds like you are getting paid to travel and see the world.  But to the musician it means the inside of hotel rooms, the inside of concert halls, and planes, trains or automobiles.  Very rarely on a tour do you have a lot of time to yourself.  At least, not in the tours I schedule because my time is limited in the region and I want to cram as many concerts and educational events in as possible.  So after a few days, which feel like a month, I always wonder if that was such a good idea.

Yes, it is.  But only because I’ve learned how to recharge.  The first rule is: any time you can take time for yourself, DO IT! You can’t be “on” all the time.  So when you have down time, use it to rest.  On Wednesday I had the morning “off”.  I whole 1/2 day!!!  (Before a concert and workshop that evening.) So I went for a swim, got a massage (which is a whole other blog topic as the person was HORRIBLE) and then had the audacity to take an hour nap (which was so delightful).  Then my time was done and I went back to work much happier.  Had I used this time to do work, blog, practice, or something else productive, I wouldn’t have recharged.  You need to be a little selfish on tour and put your rest time as a priority when ever it is available.

Second important thing: FIND the QUIET.  When you’re working with students all day or performing, you’re always receiving stimuli.  To me this gets overwhelming after multiple days if I don’t have some time when there isn’t commotion.  For me, this means a time like now, when I wake up before my tour travel friend and am sitting in a suite in silence.  My ears are appreciating this moment to recalibrate!  I could turn on the news and learn about what is happening in the world, or I could just sit in silence and enjoy it.  Ah, the sounds of silence!

Thirdly: Work out!  Your body is off on tour.  You’re not sleeping or waking at your normal times.  Who knows what you’re eating, when.  So take control over the one thing you can, find a gym or pool and get in a workout.  Not only will it reduce the stress of tour, improve your playing, and improve your muscle function (cause let’s face it – planes, trains and automobiles are not actually comfortable!) exercising will also improve your mental outlook.  Get those extra endorphins flowing to help you stay positive when you’re exhausted.

Finally, stay smart!  Get a hotel room that has space when you can (if you’re going to be there for more than just to sleep).  I really like suites for this reason.  If you’re traveling with someone this gives you a chance at quiet time.  Depending on budget, get your own room when possible.  When booking a tour, try to stay at the same hotel for 2 or more nights when ever possible.  This gives you a little extra stability and comfort.  It also makes it slightly easier to live out of a suitcase.  I’m crazy excited right now because we’ve made it to the last stop on this tour, Houston.  We’ve checked into a suite at the Hilton and are staying here for 3 whole nights!  The tour has gone extremely well to this point and I’m looking forward to a little time to rest before the final concert.

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