Five Things I Need When I’m Headed out The Door

JoAnn Lamolino is the Associate Principal Trumpet of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra following a successful national audition in February of 2018. She has performed with the Hawaii Symphony and the Honolulu Brass Quintet since the 2015-16 season. JoAnn is also a member of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Reading, PA. For two seasons, she was a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in SC. Additional performance highlights include the Baltimore Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, State of Mexico Symphony in Toluca, MX, Czech Radio Symphony, Adele, Josh Groban, Taoramina Arte in Taoramina, Sicily, Spoleto USA,  and on Broadway shows. As a soloist, JoAnn has performed at the Trinity Concerts at One Series in Lower Manhattan, Bahamas Music Conservatory, RAI National Television of Italy, Charleston Symphony, throughout Europe with American Music Abroad and was a First Prize winner at the International Women’s Brass Conference.

JoAnn received a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Principal teachers include members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Since I started playing with the Hawaii Symphony three seasons ago, I’ve learned a lot about performing well while my body clock is displaced by 5 or 6 hours. I primarily live on the east coast and make an average of 7-8 round-trips from New York to Honolulu per season. It can take anywhere from 9-11 hours of non-stop flight time or 10-13 hours with a stop. I’ve always enjoyed traveling a lot and dealing with all of the particulars that go along with it. When the opportunity arose for me to play in Hawaii, I was very excited for a lot of reasons. I’ve compiled a list of my 5 Things I need when I’m headed out the door. 

1. Melatonin, Kava, CBD oil. Or as I like to say, the drug bag! I am typically flying during the day and I have to go to rehearsal at night after I have arrived. The best way to adjust to your new time-zone is to eat and sleep on that time ahead of time. My preparation starts when I wake up in the am before going to the airport. I drink water and do not eat anything. I don’t want my bodyclock to think we are going to be up for long. So, when I get on my flight at 8am in NYC, I look at the time in Honolulu. It’s typically a time when I would be sleeping, like 2am. I take a melatonin and maybe a drop of CBD and I go to sleep until it is a time I would actually wake up in Honolulu. By the time that happens we are over Nevada or California. Kava and CBD can also be used during other flights when you just want to chill. The worst feeling is having too much energy and you are stuck on a plane for hours. They take the edge off without falling asleep. Obviously everyone is different and these are what I have found to be helpful for my body. You may need to experiment to find the right fit for you.

2. Food and Water. When I am flying, I carry whatever meals I need. Usually breakfast and lunch. I do not eat on red-flights. I only eat at times that are normal times to eat in my new time-zone. I carry foods that won’t cause extra inflammation. Flying causes inflammation on its own and I can’t control that. I generally pack hard boiled eggs, an apple, a banana, a bunch of cooked vegetables or a salad and a small piece of meat. For a snack, it’s some kind of protein bar. I never have alcohol (unless I get that First Class upgrade!) or the free cookies. Too much sugar = inflammation. My chops feel puffy when I play later in the day and jet-lag lasts longer. Carry your own refillable water bottle and fill it up after security. No matter how many times the flight attendants come around with the small cups of water, it’s never enough. Your food and water intake will help you feel better and sustain your energy once you land and have to play well and be social.

3. Practice-mute. Delays happen! Weather, mechanical, whatever…there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t complain and get agitated like most of the people on your flight. Go find a space to warm-up and practice in the airport. I’ve had success at an empty gate area, the chapel and a vacant space in an airline lounge. I once got stuck at the Zurich Flughafen for 8 hours. So after spending way too much money on lunch and buying a watch that I never wear, I got some good practicing in.

4. An old-school iPod. I know it’s 2018, but I still carry it. I like to give my phone a slight rest a long trip. I use the phone if I want to check out a podcast. On my iPod, I keep 90% of my music and a sleep playlist that I use to sleep. When I hear the list and I’ve taken a Melatonin, it helps me fall asleep faster and stay asleep until Nevada. Based on where I am on the playlist, I know roughly where we are in the flight and when I can get up, eat breakfast, drink coffee and start my day. After the sleep playlist, I do a guided meditation. I have a regular meditation practice and I am a firm believer that having that practice helps me stay grounded when I am taking such long flights and changing time zones as frequently as I do. Wherever I am, I am comfortable.

5. Your own entertainment. For me, that is always a book and a notebook. You never  know when there is going to be a problem with in-flight entertainment and you are completely bored. Again, don’t complain. All it does is put you in a bad mood and waste your time. I once had this happen flying eight hours from Milan-JFK: I was so bored, I drank 4 beers. It was fun… until it wasn’t. Airplane flying helps you unplug. When you are reading a good book, it can entertain and stimulate new thoughts and ideas that you may want to write down in a notebook. It’s your own sanctuary of time. It’s kinda priceless.

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