The Coronavirus shutdown shuttered art venues, music festivals, performances, and group rehearsals, leaving artists desperate to maintain a sense of control and self-identity. In a hopeful, shared solitude artists are turning to unique ways to maintain their sense of control in the industry. Besides performing in front of crowds there are a myriad of ways to grow as an artist in this time of isolation.
These ideas are just a few of the dozens that the business side in all artists can identify to keep themselves mentally stimulated. Home solo practice, the usage of streaming services, and a logistical to-do list are some engaging tactics instead of lounging on the couch, longingly pining for better days. This is the key to remaining productive as a laid-off artist during quarantine.
The Home Offers Daily Practice and Guidance
Of course, everyone maintains their practice to remain skilled but take this time to really nitpick that troubling sequence. If a musical progression is challenging, practicing it during this time of idleness could be the secret ingredient of a next performance! Jobs and life get in the way of really taking the time to sit down and study up on the troublesome spot. And, that’s life. And now, take this opportunity of stillness and break it with some intense self-made intensive.
In accordance with self-discipline, there are plenty of YouTube warmups, exercises, and how-to videos for artists to perfect their skill. For instance, there are numerous voice warmups online ranging from only a minute long to a longer 60-minute exercise. Perhaps, paper lovers prefer ordering sheet music. That’s great! Whatever motivates performers to exercise their skillset can work wonders in such a short time. Well roundedness comes not only in practice but in trying other varieties of music one wouldn’t normally perform. Personally, I’ve been practicing singing jazz with my voice instructor, a genre I normally would steer clear of and would opt for rock or musical theater tunes; but quarantine allows a chance to explore different styles and perhaps write new lyrics.
If lyric writing is what’s missing, then embrace the stillness and create something new. Poetic phrases normally flow out as ideas when writers give themselves a chance to just be in the moment. The quiet of the surrounding could prompt imaginative word-onto-paper time. Indeed, writers block happens for a variety of reasons, one being because when the mind is in a constant flux of bombardment from the daily hustle and bustle of life it’s difficult to create anything new from whirling thoughts. The mind simply does not have room to breathe. Now, instead of feeling forced like the rest of the population to sit still and stare at Netflix why not let the mind wander instead in front of fresh paper and create some awesome tunes or meaningful lyrics? Tranquility at home helps to activate the imagination to create.
Right now, the internet is a great source for everyone who is left stuck at home and who had multiple spring gigs canceled. To provide income for themselves instructors have accommodated their lessons and teaching styles to offer online classes. Music groups are bonding over social platforms such as Zoom and social media such as Facebook has proliferated with artists.
Taking online classes to hone one’s craft is the ideal way to maintain technique. Dancers, choreographers, musicians, and singers alike have transitioned to online video platforms to dedicate weekly lessons to new and returning students. The video program, Zoom has been a popular alternative to in-person lessons. Granted, it could be a little harder for beginner pianists and learners of string instruments to find the correct finger placement through a video screen than it would in a face-to-face class. Still, online classes are the preferred teaching method momentarily. There are some free classes specifically to support artists during the pandemic, but typically, be prepared to pay instructors. Afterall, online classes for instructors are a way to support their income. Depending on the instructor’s experience and length of class, an average half hour lesson can be anywhere from $20 dollars and up. Lessons that are on the cheaper side are most likely reduced in price because of the online component.
Furthermore, artists are social creatures. They thrive on receiving praise and recognizance for their work and love to support others in their creative endeavors. Thus, online group sessions have been gaining in popularity. “Concerts and Cocktails,” “Wine and Chime,” and “Saturday Sing-along” are some examples of what friends and local organizations have created to keep the music scene alive and to remain connected to uplift people’s spirits.
Last but not least, utilization of social media to collaborate and promote each other is important now more than ever. To continue the momentum of support, captivate an audience, and have an appreciation, social media is key for artists that rely on their community to survive the loneliness that is quarantine. Facebook, for instance, has a variety of groups dedicated to a specific style or community. Posting about one’s artistry is a great way for followers to get hyped for the preparation that entertainers will showcase when venues reopen. People have also been flocking to Instagram to promote their businesses and home practices on social media. Instagram Live and even the Story feature allows artists to promote sneak-peeks of work they’ve been busily preparing during the quarantine. These sneak peeks can excite their supporters for when they perform live in the near future.
Since quarantine has most people in a slump consider doing a sort of a project to gain a head start on competitors. Sometimes, people are so focused on the “creating” and “promoting” aspects of their hobby that they fail to recognize alternative activities that can up their success rates. Call it “projects,” “side jobs,” “business models,” or any other phrase, this activity is to get the hobby to take one further in the scene than pre-Coronavirus.
These ideas here are just a short snippet of what a project could entail. Perhaps one would like to instruct kids one day. Then, create lesson plans now for that day. Maybe business cards have always been in the background but were never the priority until now. Design and print them now to be ready for the next encounter. Always wanted to record advice, tips and tricks but never had the time? Take this quiet time to organize thoughts and technique and write them down in a journal, organize them in a folder or binder, or type them onto an online document for future reference, for knowledge is power.
At the end of the quarantine, keep continuing to lead by example and everyone who remains productive will come out a stronger artist. Quarantine is not an excuse to stop inventing. Public spaces, concert halls and bars supportive of local talent will reopen. Today, tomorrow, and this week, stay motivated!