I remember musicians who had kids always said they got more sleep on the road. I never could understand that until I had a son. When I travel, I miss my family, but it is nice to have a bit of a break from irregular sleep patterns. In fact, I think that the period after my son's birth has made me handle sleep deprivation a lot better than I did when I first started traveling. I remember after a few years of being jet lagged every time I went to Europe thinking, "Wow, this is not all that it's cracked up to be!" I don't sleep on planes- which is surprising, since trying to sleep sitting upright with a jet engine under your seat surrounded by strangers seems like it would just knock you right out.....
I always tell my students in my 9 am class, " If you are lucky enough to become a professional musician, you'll be getting up at all hours to make flights, trains, buses, and so forth. Missing a flight is an expensive lesson that you don't want to have to experience." I find I am better at mentally pushing myself through sleepiness. It can be tricky if I need to drive.
This past Friday, I had a good test of my tolerance for sleep deprivation. My son kicked me awake at 3:30 AM, which beat my alarm by 30 minutes. I left my house in Portland at 4: 15 and picked up bassist and former PSU student Jon Lakey at 4:30. We were planning on participating in Eugene based saxophonist Adam Harris' live recording; however, I wanted to make some recruiting stops along the way. We arrived at South Eugene High School at 6:45. I worked with Director Steve Robare's jazz band for about 30 minutes and then Lakey and I played some duo and we talked about the program at PSU. After a nice leisurely breakfast of omelettes, waffles, and gallons of coffee, we headed over to the University of Oregon to crash their Friday jam session. This was obviously not a recruiting stop but more of a chance to observe what goes on at other programs in the area. Lakey and I were invited to play a few tunes, which was of course a lot of fun.
I started to fade a bit, so I head over to saxophonist Joe Manis' house to try to nap on his couch for a few minutes. Lakey and I didn't so much nap, but we did play with Manis' 2 year old for a while. "George......Piano......Jon......Bass...." Ellery is a smart kid and we were having fun, but then it was time for a recruiting stop at Lane Community College. One of my combos from PSU, The Park Avenue Group, met us there, and we played some tunes and answered questions. The kids at LCC are very enthusiastic and it was a really good vibe. I took the PSU students for dinner at a small cafe in downtown Eugene, right before the soundcheck for the live recording, which was taking place at The Jazz Station, a wonderful non-profit venue. I was surprised at my ability to get through the concert, since around 10 pm I started to feel like I was running on fumes. After some quick goodbyes, Lakey and I got back in the car and drove back to Portland. I got home around 1:47 AM. I felt like I had just flown around the world and back.
Ironically, I am about to do something to that effect; tomorrow night, I begin my voyage to