Rock Your Road Gigs: Tips for Touring Musicians

Although touring promotes a certain sort of energy among bandmates, long distances and time spent in close confines can certainly take its toll. Harsh and grinding as it can be, touring with your crew also cements a bond, one that carries over to performances, furthers the familial nature of your “team” and provides unpredictable opportunities for adventure.

The question is, how can musicians not just survive — but actually thrive — en route?

As industry leaders and working musicians ourselves, we have a few road-tested tips.

Common goals and drive
Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re not on the same page — or like a bandmate isn’t pulling their weight. In order to sustain the rigors and responsibilities of touring, surround yourself with likeminded performers. Ensuring everyone you’re touring with shares a vision — and is working toward the same goal — helps prevent frustration, resentment and disconnects.

Accept the realities
Long days — and nights — are par for the course when you’re on the road. So are early morning drives and flights. And lugging equipment from point A to point B.  After a while, it feel like a bit much — especially when you’re touring for the long haul. Be sure to enter into this phase with realistic expectations. That includes accepting you won’t always be comfortable, feel well rested or get the space and alone time you crave.

Cover the basics
Make sure you pack light enough to lug your stuff around — but thoughtfully enough to have what you need. Bring a journal to jot down your experiences. Make sure your roadside assistance is up to date. And bring chargers for your mobile devices, as well as an array of ways to pass down time, be it audio books, movies or TED talks.

It’s all about shows
When you’re on tour, everything revolves around performing. As such, you and your crew need to plan accordingly. Shape your days and nights around shows, be it warming up, practicing or the actual act of performing your set. Remember that your time is about that, and not much else. And remind yourself there won’t be much time for “play.”

Gear matters
Choose gear that works for your lifestyle, band and situation — regardless of where you’re touring. Be sure the equipment you choose sounds the way you want it to, and be certain you’re using gear that you know and trust. After all, it has to last — and serve you well — for the duration of the tour.

Don’t stop… rehearsing
It’s a big mistake to think you have everything under control. When you’re on tour, you need to rehearse and rehearse some more. You’ll be facing a new crowd, different stage, unique stage sound and varied vibe each and every place you perform. That’s why you need to know your material backward, forward and everywhere in between.

Need some advice? Want to update your essentials? We’re not just industry experts — we’re professional musicians ourselves. Check out our wide-reaching selection here, and give us a shout at (800) 356-5844 with questions that need answers.

2 Comments

  1. At 62 and having been actively touring dince I was 16 from one night to month long runs. This is pretty spot on. I have seen a lot musicians burn out. Some became Divas and faded away. Was even in a band that was so close to a deal that the ink was still wet on the paper when the lead singer got cold feet. I am getting a little down time now to deal with some health concerns, but I am still out there for the most part. Keep on rocking.

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