VC VOX POP | “How Do You Deal with the Side Effects of Traveling?” [Q&A]
The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …
"How do you deal with the side effects of traveling?"
The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …
American Violinist, Jennifer Frautschi:
"In every city I visit I look immediately for three things ... a good place to go running, a yoga studio and a nice coffee shop ... I find that any kind of exercise helps with jet lag, but running gets me out to a scenic spot in town and clears my mind ... a yoga studio instantly connects me to a ready-made local community, and a good class will work out all of the knots, aches and kinks from traveling ... and finding a good coffee shop instantly makes EVERYTHING better in an unfamiliar locale - and of course wakes me up"
Canadian Violin Soloist, James Ehnes:
"I do pretty well with jet lag ... I’m usually excited enough to be in a new place that I find things to do to keep myself up during the day I arrive, so I’m so tired at night I manage to sleep through ... As far as loneliness, I’m lucky that at this stage of my career I know people in virtually all of the places I go, so the problem is not usually being lonely, but finding the time to get together with all the people I want to see!"
VC Artist, Violinist Augustin Hadelich:
"Jet lag used to effect me a lot more but with experience it has gotten easier ... for each trip I make a strategy mapping out when to go to bed and when to get up on each day, and I don’t allow myself to deviate from it"
American Violinist, VC Artist Stefan Jackiw:
"I used to fight the jet lag, trying to schedule meals at appropriate times on the flight over, not sleeping at certain times in advance, but I gave up on all of that ... now I just sleep whenever I’m sleepy ... often times I fly to a different time zone just for two days, so it’s futile to try to adjust"
Spanish Cellist, VC Artist Pablo Ferrández:
"Jet lag is easy ... just don’t go to sleep too early, so if you need to wait 4-5 hours to go to sleep, fight it ... and you will sleep tight that night ... Loneliness can be a struggle, I try to find something to do after I’m done practicing ... recently I’ve begun shooting some Vlogs - and editing is a really fun way to pass your time"
VC Artist Cellist, Kian Soltani:
"I love traveling and I wouldn’t be able to live without it ... I enjoy most aspects of it, except for the waiting around at airports ... but Netflix is a life saver!"
Canadian Violinist, Lara St John:
"Jet lag is sort of a myth IMHO ... their sun is now your sun, deal with it ... napping is very important though ... at this point, I know folks in almost every city but even if I don't, I go out and meet people ... I'm always curious, even if it's a lil' podunk town someplace or a big metropolis there's always something fascinating everywhere"
Norwegian Violinist, Henning Kraggerud:
"Hehe ... I compose in sleepless nights"
American Violinist, Jennifer Koh:
"I really hate airports so I try to spend as little time in them as possible by traveling with only 1 carry-on suitcase ... I’ve managed to go 5 weeks with one bag ... in terms of jet lag, I simply accept that I’m not going to feel great, and then just go about the schedule that I have"
English Violinist, Tasmin Little:
"Jet lag is very difficult ... I sleep when I’m sleepy, rather than give myself a hard time about needing a rest ... I’m rarely lonely as I like my own company - but, if I am, I Skype a loved one"
American Violin Soloist Anne Akiko Meyers:
"Traveling is an incredibly eye-opening experience ... I love meeting lots of interesting people, trying new foods and seeing historical places throughout the world ... when returning home, it also helps you appreciate your own bed that much more too"
Russian-American Violin Soloist, Philippe Quint:
"I rarely have an issue with loneliness ... I always think it’s a great time to reflect and concentrate"
Dutch Violinist, Simone Lamsa:
"Finding a good balance in my schedule is key to staying healthy and happy, I find"
American Violinist, Rachel Barton Pine:
"I’m extremely lucky that my husband has been touring with me since 1996 ... working remotely from his laptop from anywhere on the planet ... we avoid jet lag by never ever having any caffeine ... our daughter has joined us on the road since she was three weeks old, and now our nanny homeschools her as we travel"
London Symphony First Violinist “Queen of Bling”, Maxine Kwok-Adams:
"I am the queen of naps ... any time I am sitting down (though not onstage of course!) I am able to nap ... that really helps with jet lag on tour and loneliness is combated mostly through constant 'what’s apping' or watching a great series on Netflix!"
New England Conservatory Viola Professor, Kim Kashkashian:
"Eating on the new schedule helps ... I find getting enough oxygen in your lungs after a long trip also helps ... as does lots of good reading material"
University of Michigan Associate Violin Professor, Danielle Belen:
"After traveling for a couple of years very regularly as a soloist, I learned that living out of a suitcase really wasn’t for me ... I enjoy being based at a school where I build deep relationships with students every week in and out over a long period of time ... while I continue to travel for performing, it has now shifted that I mostly travel for teaching and giving master classes ... it’s always more fun when my husband can come along, but since most of these types of professional trips are solo, I try to make the most of the city I’m traveling to ... connecting with old friends or venturing out and exploring the touristy side of the town"
VC Artist Keiko Tokunaga from the Attacca Quartet:
"Hydration, meditation, bath, wine ... and FaceTime"
VC Artist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt from the Dover Quartet:
"Eating healthily and having consistent 'sleep hygiene' help me deal with jet lag ... one way I deal with the loneliness of travel is by being proactive about reaching out to anyone I may know in a given city, even if I haven’t seen them in years, and meeting up even for just a coffee to catch up"
American Violinist, VC Young Artist Sirena Huang:
"In terms of jet lag, I try to plan my schedule so that I can arrive a few days prior to the first day of rehearsals to have enough time to just sleep a lot whenever I feel tired ... despite traveling alone often, I never feel lonely ... since I was very young, I’ve been in touch with meditation practices and I've learned to enjoy time with myself"
South Korean Violinist, VC Young Artist Inmo Yang:
"They are inevitable ... and you just get used to them"
America Violinist, VC Young Artist Kevin Zhu:
"Jet lag is always a concern ... I always try to arrive at a city a few days before a performance so that my body can get adjusted to it ... if there simply isn't enough time, I adjust my sleep schedule beforehand by a couple hours so that it fits to the time zone that I'll be performing in"
VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:
"I think having a good support system of family and friends helps me a lot when traveling ... eating well and healthy, I think contributes to minimizing the side effects of constant traveling ... I also think jogging really helps fight jet lag"
VC Artist Violinist, Angelo Xiang Yu:
"I probably suffer more than most people because insomnia is often a problem for me ... and it only gets worse when I travel ... If I have to travel a long way to perform, I usually try not to sleep during the day and then try to stay in bed, even when I'm not tired, until local morning time ... the other important thing is to eat a lot in the morning and less in the evening - I find this helps my body better adjust"
VC Artist Violinist, Fedor Rudin:
"I sometimes use sleeping pills when I have to travel to the East, and I also try to already move my biological clock a few days before departure whenever possible ... loneliness is not a problem, it can even be a positive thing - sometimes you can be very productive being alone"
VC Young Artist Violinist Ji Won Song:
"Usually, after I eat good food and see a few beautiful local sights I feel less tired and feel more content ... with having the internet, I always feel connected to my friends regardless of where I am - I think it helps with feeling less lonely!"
VC Artist Violinist Bella Hristova:
"I’m probably lucky in the fact that I enjoy my alone time but it can definitely get lonely and tiring to travel extensively ... I speak to my husband David every day when I'm on the road to feel connected to home ... when I'm traveling and there are big time differences, I try to make myself sleep on the flight as if I'm already in the new time zone ... then after I land I try to stay awake if it's daytime by taking a nice walk"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Luke Hsu:
"Jet lag sucks, but usually, my excitement for the music helps me get over jet lag ... I have so many wonderful friends and family to talk to when I am lonely, so I do not worry too much about that ... Skype, FaceTime Audio/Video, Facebook Messenger are only a dial away"
VC Artist Violinist Igor Pikayzen:
"I feel that, after the music-making itself, traveling is the greatest perk of our profession ... I love flying, and jet lag usually doesn't bother me too much ... you can find a cozy coffee bar anywhere in the world, most hotels have gyms, and if you can't live without sight of your loved ones for 5 minutes, there are more ways to reach them on facetime/whatsapp/facebook"
VC Artist Violinist Francisco Fullana:
"I love traveling, even if the continuous 6am and red eye flights sometimes get annoying ... as a musician, one gets to meet and become friends with some incredible people all around the world, it’s so nice to be able to have friendships in each city ... I also find every musician is a huge frequent flyer nerd ... we know all the tricks for comfort, which help ... if you walk into any party full of musicians, chances are we are talking about them"