In this Tour Tips segment, the singer-songwriter, Chappell Roan, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips, after the break.
1. Get on a sleep schedule – You’re constantly going so by the end of the day, you’re completely exhausted. I brought my own pillow and blankets and slept in the car, invested in a nice sleeping mask, wore earplugs, and tried to stay off my phone before I went to bed. I haven’t been on a bus tour, but I’ve been in a van and a suburban, and sleeping in both is quite uncomfortable and crammed. I tried to make sure I was asleep before 11:30 if possible, so I could wake up feeling good for the long drive the next day.
2. Take care of your body – Sitting down for long periods of time does nothing good for you, so I had to make sure I was stretching/exercising every day. Any time we stopped for food/gas I always got out and stretched, especially my hips which tighten the most when you sit. What was super helpful was the small foam roller I brought and rolled out with every day. There are a ton of YouTube videos that show you the best way to roll out your body so it doesn’t become stiff. If the hotel had a gym, I usually tried to do something, even if it was just walking on the treadmill for 20 min.
3. Take care of your mind – Being mentally healthy is the most important thing along with sleep while touring. It’s very easy to slip into a dark place when you’re on the road because you are with the same people day after day and most of the time, all of you are exhausted, and no one feels normal. Please for the love of god, go outside and sit in the sun at least a few times a week, even if it’s outside the venue in the parking lot. Meditation is helpful if you can find a calm place to do it alone. Journaling helped me as well as reading a book that’s easy to read and enjoyable. The goal is to try to have the least amount of mental stress, so if reading/journaling stresses you out, don’t do it.
4. Take care of your hands/voice ( if you sing/play an instrument) – The best thing that helped my voice was vocal rest. I also had a vocal warmup routine from my vocal coach that I did for at least 10 minutes before each show, drank warm tea, and steamed with eucalyptus and distilled water. I try to talk softer after shows when I meet people. I also can’t stress enough how important it is to stretch your hands, wrists, and fingers. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that can show you how to properly do it.
5. Have a semi-normal “social life” – I noticed when I visited my friends who lived in different towns we toured through, I had a hard time remembering how to have a normal conversation because I was exhausted and hadn’t had calm, normal human interaction in weeks. So for this, please just call your friends/family/anyone regularly so you can get your mind off of how hard you’re working. Of course, you need to vent how hard touring is, but try your best to keep conversations positive and ask questions about how they’re doing. I set up a weekly call with a friend so I could talk about something.
(photo credit: Lissyelle Laricchia)