How Musicians Can Stay Active During Social Distancing
With social distancing in full effect due to the COVID-19 virus, it can be challenging to remain positive as a musician.
All of our favorite venues, bars, and after-gig hangouts are likely to remain shut down for the foreseeable future. You likely had a handful of shows that you were looking forward to and preparing for that got canceled.
While it is healthy to keep perspective and be thankful that you aren't hospitalized due to the virus, you're still allowed to be upset about our current climate.
Musicians work hard to perform, entertain, and spread joy. That's a very surface level statement of what a hardworking musician can bring to the table, but you get the point.
So, is it all doom and gloom for musicians until the quarantine is lifted?
We say no!
Listed below are 8 tips for musicians to stay active and productive during this difficult time of hardship.
Table of Contents:
- New Material
- Take on Old Projects
- Journal Your Thoughts
- Learn a New Instrument/Song
- Learn a New Program
- Take an Online Course
- Support Each Other
1. New Material
There is a fine balance between perfecting songs that are ready to be played out vs. the time and effort it takes to create new material.
Well, it certainly seems that you've been given a little time to beef up that setlist.
If you have an unfinished song, an untapped idea, or a riff you've been playing around with, this is the perfect time to sit down and iron out the details, so to speak.
You know what would be a major win? Coming out of this COVID-19 quarantine with new songs that you otherwise may not have had the time to finish for a long time - if ever!
2. Take on Old Projects
While this can apply to unfinished songs, is there anything else you started working on, or thought about, and never actually finished? Anything at all?
Think about these ideas:
- Merch (shirts, hoodies, stickers, etc.)
- Mix/Master tracks
- Social Media Accounts
- Simplifying band tasks (with options like Monday or Google Drive)
- A lyric video
- A YouTube Channel
- A Bandcamp
Even if you may not benefit from these at the moment, you're planting the seeds to have these channels running smoothly when the gigs start rolling in.
3. Journal Your Thoughts
How is social distancing making you feel? Have you gained any new perspective? What simplicities have now become challenging?
For you songwriters out there, one of the healthiest ways of dealing with a struggle is through sublimation. Turn the negativity into a positive result.
Surprisingly, it can be difficult to write songs that truly resonate with listeners when you're actually content and nothing is impacting you. The coronavirus is likely to lead to a lot of fantastic and moving music that we will all be able to relate to on a national level.
Jot down some thoughts and feelings as we are going through this difficult time. You never know what could spark an amazing idea for a song.
4. Learn a New Instrument/Song
Flex your brain muscles a bit and try picking up a new instrument.
With so many locations shut down, acquiring a new instrument at this point may be a bit difficult, but if you have one at your home that you bought, intended on learning, and haven't yet, now is the time.
Even your voice counts! If you've never considered yourself a great singer and want to improve, we recommend checking out our ultimate guide to singing.
If learning a new instrument isn't an option, what about covering a song?
Whether it is a song you love that you've never got around to learning or a difficult song that you didn't think you had the time to learn, both options are at your door now.
5. Learn a New Program
While you may be comfortable with writing music and songs, how much do you know about music production?
If your music production knowledge is more limited than you'd prefer to admit, now is a fantastic time to start playing around with it.
Whether you're using Garageband, Pro Tools, Logic, or Ableton, there are a million techniques you can mess around with and test out.
Not sure where to start?
Check out our article discussing the best DAWs for beginners.
We established that going out and playing is currently not an option. No more gigs or open mics.
So, what can we do?
Remember that little device in your pocket? With all the social media platforms and apps? Yeah, it's pretty powerful. Use it to your advantage!
Make a post letting people know an exact time you plan on live-streaming and prepare a small set just like you would for a normal gig. Followers are also notified when you go live, so if you're feeling like an impromptu performance, have at it!
This is a fantastic way to stay safe, but also get your music out there.
Besides, think of all the people that are sitting on their couch at home and scrolling through their phones. You may have a better chance of gathering a large group to watch you perform now than you would have before.
7. Take an Online Course
Let's stay on the digital trend for a second.
Just because you're at home and your work/school may be closed doesn't mean that you have to stop learning. Taking an online course is an awesome way to stay on top of your instrument, sharpen your skills, and practice effectively.
Right now the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media is offering Free Online Music Courses.
Check it out and keep your music knowledge and skillset growing.
8. Support Each other
Above all, this is a time to be supportive of one another.
Tons of musicians are in the same boat, where income has been put on pause and opportunities for performing have been massively limited.
There are two major ways to help support other musicians: financially and networking.
If you're in a situation where you can support another musician financially it can be incredibly helpful. Buy a shirt or download their newest EP. They may even return the favor down the road (which is why tip number two is important).
Share what other musicians in your city are working on. Tag musicians you'd love to collaborate with when the social distancing is said and done. Create a playlist of your music along with other local artists and throw it up on Spotify.
Networking during these hard times can keep people motivated and positive now and pay off in the future.
Stay Positive and Stay Active
Again, we hope everyone out there is healthy, safe, and still enjoying their love of music.
Keep practicing, keep learning, and keep bettering yourself. As mentioned above, AIMM is currently offering Free Online Music Courses.
Whether you are interested in guitar, vocals, bass, drums, keyboard, or music production, AIMM's online courses have fantastic techniques and concepts that are guaranteed to elevate your knowledge and skill level.
Click the button below to start taking the free online courses today.