Every musician has a story to tell when it comes to bad show experiences. Disastrous tours, shady venue owners and promoters, and unruly audiences abound. Low pay and a lack of respect for musicians are the most common occurrences that musicians share. A lot of negative live music experiences are rightfully chalked up to inexperienced musicians paying their dues. Many others are rooted in a society that, until now, doesn’t value live music and artists the way it should. However, the pandemic may just reawaken a new and enduring appreciation of live music now that it’s not widely available.
Musicians are having an understandably difficult time in the age of COVID-19. Whether it’s a canceled tour or the inability to rehearse with bandmates in person, the pandemic is keeping us inside our homes and away from our musical routines. In strange and difficult times, embracing resourcefulness is essential when it comes to finding ways to stay inspired.
You might not be able to travel or leave your house right now. However, you can take a music-listening trip to inspire your process and transport your mind. An upside to our vastly increased time at home is that we can spend more time listening to music. And by listening, I mean sitting down and doing nothing other than listening to a piece of music. The following four listening trip ideas are designed to focus your mind on specific characteristics that shape music.
Expectation and pressure can be good for you as a musician, whether you’re performing on stage in front of a huge crowd or paying by the hour to record new music in a studio. Without a dog in the fight, what you’re doing as a musician is a carefree hobby. But, like so many other aspects of a healthy music career, a balance has to be found between striving to perform well and living up to what’s expected of us and not overthinking and questioning everything we do. When we let doubt, insecurity, and fear guide us in music, we stifle our best ideas.
If you’re a decade or two deep into your music career, stack up the music you’re making now against what you were doing when you started. What’s different and what’s the same? If you’ve been working from the same musical playbook for years, you’re essentially writing someone else’s music. Songwriters and producers have the best shot at creating engaging music when they embrace curiosity, newness, risk, and exploration. Everyone changes over time and your music should change along with you. But keeping up with your changing musical persona demands a willingness to fail and start over again in your creative process.
With schools closed for the foreseeable future, music lessons have also moved online. The good news is that online teaching is a solid alternative to in-person teaching, provided that you prepare ahead of time and take the necessary precautions. So, in this post, I would like to outline four tips for teaching online music lessons:
The world has a romantic image of how music is made that often involves scenes of musicians caught up in moments of passion and despair expressing their emotions through music. Sure, this sort of thing does happen to some of us from time to time. Yet, the truth is that great music almost always takes hard, consistent work to make. Inspiration is essential for creating music that connects with people. However, it’s up to us to be listening and ready for when it comes to us. That’s where the importance of a consistent, productive songwriting practice comes in. No matter who you are, making songwriting a part of your routine will result in you creating better music. Here are four tips for building a strong, fruitful practice:
Pitching music is a frustrating but crucial part of being a serious musician in 2020. If you want to play shows or put your music into consideration for playlists, radio play, and press coverage, some amount of DIY pitching has to happen. It’s natural to view the people you pitch to as hurdles preventing your music from finding an audience. However, that attitude will make it harder for you and your music to be taken seriously. Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else is feeling. Embracing empathy is something that will help your music career in the long run.
Did you hear the story of the artist whose social media account got hacked and locked her out? Just like that, she lost 10k + followers. The worst part? This was the second time it had happened to her! The truth is, it happens far more often than you think, and not just to accounts with tens of thousands of followers. While sometimes it can be fixed, oftentimes, these users end up having to start from scratch and all those followers. Those potential buyers and supporters of what you offer are just….gone.
This is just one of many reasons that it is so important to have and maintain a healthy email list. Email lists might sound like something reserved for the big corporations. But when done right, your email list is the glue that holds you and your fans together. It’s a space for your most loyal followers, it’s a way to build connections, get vulnerable, and give them exclusive access to you. And best of all, unlike with social media, you don’t run the risk of losing those fans. There’s no risk of someone locking you out of your mailing list provider (and even if they do, odds are you’ve downloaded csv files of your followers and will still have their emails), or changing the algorithm (your emails will always be delivered to their inbox).