There’s no getting around how monumentally bad repercussions from the COVID-19 are impacting musicians. From indefinitely rescheduled festivals to canceled tours, musicians are being challenged in profound ways. There’s no silver lining here, but trying to stay as creatively engaged as possible during this time can help. Not every musician will be able to stay productive while stuck at home. However, many can use the time to plan their next career steps, write new songs, and engage with fans.
In the last few weeks, the music industry has scrambled to figure out livestreaming. Whether it’s major artists starving off their boredom on Instagram Live or artists trying to replace touring income, everyone is trying new things and learning as they go.
The questions I hear most artists asking is where to put their energy, what to expect from it, and how to do it. If you’re wondering the same, these nine questions will help you find answers.
Whether it was normal for you or not, writing and recording from home have become an unexpected necessity due to the COVID-19 crisis. As musicians, creating from home presents many challenges that we may not be used to. Distractions like roommates, family members, pets, and other things can make creating music from home especially hard. It’s not easy, but by managing our time we can make room for music in our lives at home.
Music takes on two very different identities. The first is what a song or album means to the person who created it. The second is how the world interacts with musical work. When a musician throws money, energy, time, and love into a project, it makes sense why getting negative feedback can be hard. Allowing criticism to impact who you are as a person can lead to negative consequences for you and your music. Learning to navigate and accept criticism with grace is a crucial survival skill for all serious musicians.
Not focusing enough on music doesn’t seem like a problem for most musicians, but there have never been more distractions in music than there are right now. Whether it’s petty jealousies, disagreements with your team, or obsessing over your social media following, focusing on the things surrounding your music instead of your work can transform into a big problem if you’re not careful. Here are three ways your music suffers when you lose focus on it:
Musicians have a lot on their plates these days. We’re told that there’s virtually no chance we’ll succeed without throwing a huge amount of our time and energy into doing things like promoting our work over social media or carving out brands for our digital identities. But while there’s some truth to that advice, it won’t make a difference if the music you’re looking to share isn’t solid. Yes, in today’s music industry, artists shouldn’t expect to post music online and find a following without throwing in some hard non-musical work behind it, but many of us are missing the point of what it means to be creating music in 2020, and that point is to share compelling, interesting, fresh, and meaningful music.
Despite our best efforts, creative stagnation and predictability are things we all experience as songwriters at some point in our careers. Working hard and pushing through works for some artists, but others need to bring real change into their processes in order to move forward. Here are four ways to get a new musical perspective if you’re stuck and in search of a little creative inspiration:
Making music is a creative process in which the lines dividing a solo artist or band from the spaces they work in become blurred. You aren’t your music studio or the pristine desert landscape that might have inspired your last album, but where you work makes an indelible mark on your process and what it is you ultimately create.