THE SCOOP | New Book Looks To Give Touring Musicians Practical Advice For Life On The Road

Photo by Mohamed Assan (CC0/Public domain)
Much has been written about what is being called a mental health crisis in the music industry over the last few years. From 2022 into 2023, the concept rose to the spotlight after a string of concert cancellations by high profile pop artists, including Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes and American singer-songwriter/producer Santigold, among several others. Each of them cited the gruelling demands of touring and its effects on their mental health as one of the major reasons for their decisions to pull the plug.
A book set for release in 2023 looks to give touring music artists a helping hand. Touring And Mental Health — The Music Industry Manual, published in the UK by Omnibus Press, is set for release on March 23.
The collection of essays covers a gamut of topics aimed at helping touring artists preserve their mental and physical health on the road. It looks at managing crises as they come up (and they do), dealing with anxiety and depression, and maintaining physical health and well-being. The book incorporates personal anecdotes from a who’s who of the British music industry at all levels, including Nile Rodgers, Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, and Philip Selway of Radiohead.
“I wish this book had been around when I first started touring”, says Selway in a media statement. “Touring And Mental Health can really help us all navigate the darker moments and the bumps in the road out on tour. The insights, wisdom and strategies from the mental health and medical experts, the tour crew, and musicians in this book are invaluable. It should be the first thing we all pack when we head out on the road.”
From promoter to psychotherapist
Touring And Mental Health was compiled and edited by Tamsin Embleton, a one-time music industry promoter turned psychotherapist. It was her experiences in the industry that led her to pursue a role as mental health professional. She went on to help found an organization called Music Industry Therapists Collective (MITC), where she is now director. MITC is behind the book’s genesis.
In an interview with IQ Magazine, Embleton says the mental health toll of touring has always been around, although in previous eras, it was called “exhaustion” and other terms that deflected the true nature of the problem. And, the data about the disproportionate rate of psychological problems among artists has been well documented for decades.
It took the latest push from organizations like Help Musicians to finally bring about the impetus for change in the UK.
Musicians and mental health
To an outsider, the life of a musician on the road is a kind of modern day ideal — life in hotels and restaurants, the glory of cheering audiences… Certainly, popular movies have done little to break the mystique.
The reality, as always, is much different, and hits artists on many levels:

Long periods away from home, family, and the familiar;
Lack of support when snags occur;
Disruption of proper sleep and eating routines;
Loneliness, depression and anxiety when shows aren’t sold out;
Performing at a peak level while negotiating all the vagaries of travel;
And those are only the most obvious drawbacks.

COVID-19 and the long lockdown has added to a general level of anxiety, and pressure to make up for lost time in the performing arts field. Economic insecurity, coupled with galloping inflation, adds more stress to the mix. Stress attacks the body as well as the mind, disrupting sleep and creating physical problems. For popular artists, too, the media can often enter the picture, and may make matters public before anyone is ready for it.
As Embleton told IQ Magazine, “You’re always ‘on’ — expected to deliver to exceptionally high standards night after night, no matter what role you’re in — and that’s hard to maintain.
There are great soaring highs (when performances go well) swiftly followed by lows — a roller coaster people are rarely adequately prepared for. It starts off as very exciting, but as Nile Rodgers said to me it can be gruelling.”
She advocates for support from within the industry, including mentorship programs, which can be difficult to sustain.
The 600-page book includes practical insights from performance coaches, psychologists, therapists, and other health professionals as well as artists who have firsthand experience to share. Topics covered include dealing with performance anxiety, addiction, keeping group dynamics positive, and others relevant to travelling artists.
The book is endorsed by UK music charity Help Musicians, among many others, and is available for preorder.
Certainly, there is more to be done to support musicians worldwide.
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Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)

SCRUTINY | Jarred Dunn Warms Up Kingston Audience

Jarred Dunn (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Chopin: Mazurkas Op. 50 & 56 / Brahms: Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, Op. 78; Jarred Dunn, piano; Jeanel Liang Violin. Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Jan. 16, 2023.
Highly acclaimed Montréal-based pianist Jarred Dunn performed a solo and chamber music recital with Montréal violinist Jeanel Liang for a rapt audience in Kingston, Ontario’s Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on January 16, 2023.
The two sets of Chopin Mazurkas, Op. 50 and Op. 56, that comprised the first half of the recital were just delightful — unique and slightly unusual interpretations in places that brought out the traditional mazurka rhythms and inner voices without being affected about it or drawing too much attention to those features. These are more introverted pieces, unlike many of Chopin’s Mazurkas. In Mr. Dunn’s words, for him they “contain Chopin’s innermost monologues.”
Mr. Dunn plays in a relaxed style but with a high level of fine-motor control, keeping his hands fairly close to the keyboard. He has what I call “Chopin” hands — with long, slender fingers — and like a good organist, he easily maintains a sustained legato. His pedalling in this performance was exquisite — so unobtrusive as to be almost invisible.
There is a particular style of playing Chopin, popular in the nineteenth century but less so now, which creates slight asynchrony between the left and right hand parts. With some performers, it sounds eccentric or contrived and disturbs the musical flow, but a skilled musician can produce heightened, sensuous phrasing and create unexpected rhythmic emphases similar to a style common in some jazz piano playing. Mr. Dunn managed to incorporate asynchrony in such an elegant and subtle way, and with such refined control of phrasing, that it enhanced the harmonies and didn’t intrude at all.
Jeanel Liang, who joined Mr. Dunn in the second half for Brahms’ Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, Op. 78, earned my sincere praise for her beautiful tone, effortless bow control and overall musicality. The pair’s well-coordinated performance was not only sensitive, but also dramatic in all the right places without being too showy — an ideal performance of a rather understated piece of chamber music.
If you have a chance to attend a recital with either one or both of these excellent performers, I highly recommend going. They will draw you into the music in a most sublime way.
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Meg Freer grew up in Missoula, Montana and has lived in England, Finland, and Austria. She studied music, obtained a Master’s Degree in Musicology, worked in book publishing and now teaches piano, music history and theory. She lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario. Latest posts by Meg Freer (see all)

Ground Turkey Skillet with Sweet Potatoes and Black Bean

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.This quick and easy Ground Turkey Skillet with sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and tomatoes is perfect for meal prep. So filling and flavorful!
Skillet Turkey, Sweet Potatoes and Beans
This dairy-free, gluten-free winter skillet recipe is a variation of my summer ground turkey skillet but with sweet potatoes, and it has the perfect blend of protein, carbs, and fat. Also similar to these Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls, but quicker and made in one skillet. It’s versatile, so you can switch up some of the ingredients depending on what you have, and it reheats well, so leftovers are delicious. Some healthy ground turkey recipes to try are this Turkey Taco Skillet and Cheesy Turkey Meatball Skillet.

Ground Turkey Skillet Ingredients

Ground Turkey: Get 93% lean ground turkey.
Onion: Chop a quarter cup of a white, yellow, or red onion.
Tomato Paste: Sauté two tablespoons of tomato paste with the onion. Don’t know what to do with the leftover paste? Freeze it in ice cube trays to have on hand for future recipes.
Sweet Potatoes: Peel and dice two medium potatoes into half-inch pieces.
Black Beans: Rinse and drain canned black beans.
Corn: Use fresh or frozen corn kernels.
Tomato: Dice a large tomato.
Jalapeño: Keep the seeds and ribs in the pepper for a spicier meal or remove them if you prefer mild dishes.
Garlic: Mince one clove.
Cilantro: Add fresh cilantro to the skillet and garnish with more. If you don’t like cilantro, omit it.
Seasoning: Cumin, salt
Chicken Broth: Feel free to sub vegetable broth if that’s what you have.
Garnishes: Serve with lime wedges and sliced avocado.

How to Make This Ground Turkey Skillet

Turkey: Brown the turkey in a large skillet set on high heat and season it with salt and cumin.
Onions: After about five minutes, push the meat to the side and cook the onions and tomato paste for a minute.
Remaining Ingredients: Add the sweet potatoes, beans, corn, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro, stir in the broth, and season it with the rest of the salt and cumin.
Simmer: Cover the skillet and cook on low for 12 to 14 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Serve the turkey mixture with lime wedges, more cilantro, and avocado.

How to Meal Prep Turkey Skillet
This easy turkey skillet dinner is excellent for meal prep. You can dice the onion, sweet potato, jalapeño, and cilantro in advance, so most of the prep work is done when you’re ready to cook. The leftovers are great for meals throughout the week. They’ll last for four days in the refrigerator and reheat well in the microwave. You can also freeze the turkey mixture for up to three months.
Variations:

Protein: Swap turkey with lean ground sirloin.
Tomatoes: Use canned diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh.
Vegetables: Add spinach or bell pepper for extra veggies.
Make It Spicy: Top your bowl with hot sauce for an extra kick.
Cheese: Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top.

More Ground Turkey Recipes You’ll Love:

Your comments are helpful! If you’ve tried this healthy Ground Turkey Skillet recipe or any other on Skinnytaste, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. And if you took a photo of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can reshare it on my Stories!

Ground Turkey Skillet with Sweet Potatoes and Black Bean 
8

394 Cals
28 Protein
41 Carbs
14.5 Fats

Prep Time: 5 minsCook Time: 25 minsTotal Time: 30 mins

This quick and easy Ground Turkey Skillet with sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and tomatoes is perfect for meal prep. So filling and flavorful!
14 ounces sweet potato, peeled and diced 1/2 inch, from 2 medium1 pound 93% lean ground turkey1/4 cup chopped onion2 tablespoons tomato paste3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained3/4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen1 large diced tomato1 jalapeño, diced1 cloves garlic, minced2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish1 1/2 teaspoon cumin1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 cup chicken brothlime wedges, for serving4 ounces avocado, sliced
Spray a large skillet over high heat with oil and brown the turkey, season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cumin.Cook breaking the meat up until the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes.Push the meat to the side, spray the other side with oil and add the onion and tomato paste and cook 1 minute.Add the sweet potato, black beans, corn, tomato, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro and stir with the chicken broth.Add the 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste and the cumin.Mix and cover, cook low 12 to 14 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.Serve with lime wedges and more cilantro.

Serving: 11/2 cups, Calories: 394kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 14.5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 635mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 7.5g

Keywords: Black Beans, ground turkey recipes, meal prep meals, One Pan, skillet recipes