The life of a musician has its ups, but it has its downs too.
Touring is probably the most complicated part of it. You’re looking at an experience that’s a lot of fun and gives you a chance to interact with the fans. You get to spend a lot of time with your crew, bond and make connections.
On a professional level, it’s a great opportunity. You can sell merchandise or albums. You can get the attention of people along the way and make more fans.
The chance to explore, to see places you wouldn’t have otherwise, is awesome.
However, touring isn’t all fun and games.
Here’s a look at the typical day a musician is going to have while on tour.
Most of your time is going to be on the road. Half the day is going to be driving from one venue to the other. You get out of bed at eight and start travelling soon after that.
Bigger bands have a bus, but most musicians have vans. Things are going to get bumpy and cramped, and you learn to sleep on the road or listen to music. Rotation for whose turn it is to drive is a good way to keep the peace and minimise people arguing over who should be behind the wheel.
At about lunch time, you’re hoping to start unloading your gear. Now is an excellent opportunity to hit a gym and get a workout before the show, if that’s your thing.
You’ll want any local wandering you do to happen close to your venue, to avoid unexpected traffic or inclement weather. There’s something very embarrassing about being a few feet away from the stage, but you can’t make it because it’s raining.
Sometime in the afternoon, you grab something to eat. Coffee shops, diners, and local places with Wi-Fi are preferred. You never know when you might have a chance to do some last minute promoting.
If there’s a local radio station for your genre of music, you’ll want to visit. Try to stop by, hand off some CDs, and shake a few hands. The meet-and-greet is an excellent way to build ties.
If you have a day job, now is a good time to get some work done – if you couldn’t get any done on the road.
Once evening hits, the venues start opening doors. You need to be there already, working on any merchandise or meeting new fans. If the doors aren’t open yet, you might want to get some last-minute practice.
The wrap up of the show will involve a moment to rest.
After that, you load everything back in the van. You head to the hotel to get some sleep because you’ve got an early day tomorrow.
When you’re on the road, you learn the value of having a schedule and sticking to it. Being on the road is a chaotic thing, and you’re never going to know if anything will throw your plans off the rails. Stick to your schedule, because that’s going to be an oasis of predictability.
Yeah, it’s a lot of hard work, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as looking out at the crowd after a performance. You just know you nailed all the right notes.