A Musician's Guide to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated: Mar 27
The recent global pandemic caused by COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, has put the entire world economy to a grinding halt. For musicians and the entertainment industry this has been greatly impactful because it has forced live music cancellations, a loss of jobs, and for many, a loss of day-to-day income. I, for one, have been forced to postpone all in-person studio work until further notice, leaving sessions already paid for stuck in limbo. Of course this has been both upsetting and unsettling for me and all my peers, and the uncertainty of the situation continues to create anxiety for many who's livelihoods are affected.
However, despite all the negativity that has been a byproduct of COVID-19, there are a couple benefits that have come from this. The importance to any bad circumstance is to persevere and stay strong, so here are a couple tips for musicians stuck at home during this time of social distancing.
By no means am I downplaying the severity of the virus, and I will never be able to fully comprehend everyone's current situation. These tips are for those who are healthy and able to put aside time to continue working on themselves. If you are someone who has been affected by coronavirus directly, or someone struggling with finances and a means of healthy living, please seek out professional help and counseling through your government resources.
How to make the best out of a bad situation
So you're stuck at home with no job, and album release party got delayed. What do you do now?
The answer is actually a lot simpler than you think and it starts with you. Use this opportunity to work on yourself, which can apply in many ways. Maybe it's a personal goal, and you want to take the time to maintain or improve your fitness. Or maybe, because you're an active musician, you can learn to play new instrument or learn more about songwriting. Maybe you have music ready to be released, so this can be a great opportunity to learn how to properly promote and release your music.
Whatever it is, the point is this: You are your business, and you need to learn how to pivot your business in times of crisis. If you're struggling right now, this can be a good lesson in learning to plan ahead for emergencies. Of course, no one could have predicted this to happen, so don't be too hard on yourself. But simply use this as a learning opportunity in how to full-proof your business. Because after all, if you're a working musician, you are a business. Write music
Of course this is an obvious one, but don't neglect the importance of it.
Use this time to either start or complete music that has been in the backburner up until now. Take this opportunity to perhaps try something new with your music and brand.
Listen, the possibilities are endless with this one, but the point is we are all experiencing this together, and there are going to be many people who seize this opportunity. But if you want to stand out, make a statement, and keep your relevance without relying on the crutch of a live show, take this chance to be bold. Make a statement, apply things you've never done before.
Internet presence has never been more important. With so many people inside, scrolling through social media, there has not been a better time to grab the attention of everyone watching.
At the end of the day, this too will pass. And as things shape up to being back to normal, whenever that may come, you're better off if you have a head start in the matter. Creativity is a beautiful thing because possibilities are endless. Be the artist and live up to that creative outlet.
This closely relates to my previous point about learning a new skill. However, you can go a step further by applying everything you learned and creating a new path for yourself.
Again, if you business has failed because of the virus, this may be a sign that you need to focus on alternatives to your line of work, finding ways to stay afloat in times of crisis.
This is especially true to all my recording savvy readers, who are so solely dependent on other artists to generate any income. So if musicians are unable to pay the bills, and studios are unable to book in-person sessions, where do you find work?
Again, the answer is simpler than you think. Applying a set of skills you already have or improving on them may easily help you find work in other areas.
Take audio engineering for example. If you are fully capable of recording a singer, there is no reason why you wouldn't be able to start doing voiceover work or learn how to edit podcasts. Again, the possibilities are endless, but it requires ACTION.
Action is the deal breaker in this one, and the ability to dive head first in a new field requires a lot of confidence in your set of skills and a willingness to learn.
I, for one, am doing just that by starting up a podcast (coming soon!) and learning how to do livestream mixing. These are skills that I will be able to apply in my future work, and things that I never had the opportunity to otherwise learn. I've also started a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=15687811) In which I will be delivering more quality content, as well as downloadable materials that other musicians and engineers may find useful. I don't expect this to thrive, as my priority still belongs to music creation and production. But I am making an active effort into these areas until something sticks, and I can then make a stable income.
Remember, experimentation is the key to coming up with a winning formula!
Yes, despite being indoors, we can still make an active attempt to successfully network. I've already seen this with livestreaming efforts and public forums hosting online parties for people to chat.
Again, we are ALL in the same position here. We all should be doing our part in staying home and self-isolation. So this is the perfect time to start having open conversation with people because we can ALL relate to what's happening.
The key is to stay top of mind, so that when this does pass, and we can revert back to normal living, you'll be the first person in people's radar for gigs or work.
And what if you're not good at networking? Well there are courses for that!
Look, networking is a necessary skill. It's not easy, especially if you're introverted like me. I'm an only child, I never felt the need to go out of my way to talk to anyone. But in order to do what I love, I HAD to learn this skill. So make an effort, think bold and think big.
Make everyday memorable
This last point is less to do with being a musician, and more of a self-help tip.
Being home all day everyday isn't exactly 'fun'. I know a lot of people who are losing their minds right now because they're not used to being tied down like this. But I'll tell you what, it's not that bad if you can give yourself purpose.
I don't want to see people becoming depressed or anxious during these hard times. It's very easy to let yourself spiral, and let life become dull.
So my suggestion is make an effort to do just one thing every single day that will make it memorable.
It could be large or small, but making sure that you keep things refreshing is going to play an important role in your mental well-being.
Plan your days, and make sure you're always working toward bigger goals. The last thing you want is to feel lost and hopeless, so make this your first order of business every morning when you wake up, and evening before you go to bed.
Even as I'm writing this, I'm doing so in an area of my house I normally wouldn’t be. And that's simply because it keeps me feeling like every day is a new experience and I'm making the most of it.
And of course, if you are suffering from diagnosed depression or another mental-illness, please don't be afraid to seek professional help. Always remember there are resources out there that can help you both mentally and financially. Don't let yourself sink too deep without a support system and always be open to talking about your well-being.
So there you have it! 5 solid tips that can help you through this global pandemic and see the light even through the darkest times. Remember, the most important part is that you take care of yourself first, and find ways to keep your day-to-day life fulfilling and productive. Not everything has to be a negative experience, and you can always make the best of any bad situation.
Take care of yourself and out of respect for others, please stay indoors and practice safe hygiene