Travelling as a Solo Musician | How my Musical Views Changed

In January of 2018 I was lucky enough to be given a spot at The Banff Centre for The Arts in Canada, where I did a two week musician residency. This trip absolutely changed my life, my perspective, and my musical endeavours for the better! 

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Travelling alone was a big thing for me for a lot of reasons. As it is, my anxiety levels sky rocket whenever I have to get on a plane.. Let alone when I'm doing it alone and going half way around the world! I also had the fear of if I was doing the right thing for myself. It was all going to be a new experience for me, working as a solo performer and keeping myself on track to achieve goals while in a completely new (and amazing) environment. 

Here's the ways that this trip totally influenced my life:

  • I learnt that I didn’t have to be the same as everyone else! I met a number of quirky, amazing, and talented people who weren’t trying to fit in. They were just doing what they loved and doing it really bloody well! Coming from an environment where we were almost trained to be cookie cutter musicians and not stray to far from the pack, being in this new, non-judgemental and open environment was mind blowing.

  • This was the first place that I had ever improvised in a performance! This may not seem like a big thing, but oh man you have no idea how scary the concept of improvising is for me. Getting over this fear was a pretty exciting thing to experience finally, and I was only able to do this because the environment I was in was so supportive. Everyone there knew how nervous I was and they were all there to cheer me on when I got on stage. This kind of camaraderie, where there was no judgement, is exactly why I felt like I could give it a shot and that was the best decision I made when I was over there!

  • I spent a lot of time alone in a room. Normally this would drive me crazy, but I think because I knew I had given myself this time overseas to work on myself, and my music, I really enjoyed this time alone. When I try to practise at home, I always feel guilty thinking that I have other things I should be doing, but I didn’t have that problem in Canada because there was no where I else I needed to be. What this resulted in was some really productive and relaxed practise, which I have tried to bring back with me and incorporate into everyday life.

  • I found out that poutine is the most amazing food on the face of the earth! Oh my god, how do we not have that stuff in Australia!

I 100% recommend travelling solo for anyone who has the opportunity. I have only spoken about how it affected my musical outlook, but even just the opportunity to be in a foreign country alone is an experience that I will never forget, but more on that later!

I’d love to hear about your musical adventures around the globe


Judy Maree


Photo by Liam Simpson on Unsplash