When you play and tote around a musical instrument, you must be agile and strong. You also have to be a bit ingenious. You often have some weight to lug around and you better be coordinated. Remember the student who got his Strad stuck in a subway door in New York. I don’t think it had a good outcome. It was a scary lesson to us all to be careful and mindful of unforeseen events. It was downright tragic! You never know when terror will strike next. Doors are notorious for snapping shut when you are not ready. These may be in a building, a car, a train, or other types.
A good backpack helps a musician a lot. You can load stuff in and carry it hands-free to make room for your precious gem which counts a lot more than any books or papers. Even if it is small like a violin or clarinet, you still have to balance everything as you walk about. If you travel frequently by car, you don’t want to have to crowd your instrument with oversized suitcases. If you play the cello or bass, you are no doubt a genius at adapting to circumstances.
Musicians carry wallets, appointment books, changes of clothing, gym shoes, etc. just like anyone else. The difference is that their other cargo is usually a very expensive work of musical art. They have to be more than practical. They can be banging everything around indiscriminately. They have to be quick as quail and light on their feet.
James Galway is noted for buying a high-end brand backpack in fine brown leather. He travels a lot for concerts and stores gear of all types in it. His wife has a matching one in navy blue. They don’t need a suitcase for short plane rides and can put them in the storage units above the seats. They keep their cell phones, ipods, and precious calendars inside. They want everything at their fingertips. Jimmy also reads a lot and has his latest mystery on hand for those very few casual moments. The Irish flautist and his lovely wife Jeanne are both professional performers who need to be organized and efficient. This is where owning a cool backpack comes in. Now their piano accompanist, Phillip Moll, has a better deal. He can use a small, more convenient carry-all and has elected to use a water-proof nylon utility backpack. This illustrious trio knows their needs and has made careful purchase selections.
So when looking for a new backpack, take a tip from me. Go for multiple zippered compartments that don’t spill out their contents. The strap should be adjustable and secure, wide enough to spare your shoulders when filled with extra weight. Waterproof, sleek, expandable, and roomy are also great descriptors for a practical choice. The pockets can be inside and/or out to accommodate phones, sunglasses, money, documents, and personal items like combs, brushes, and a compact (for the ladies). Musicians with a burden of responsibility can’t spend enough to protect their belongings.