“Singing is such an important part of so many people’s lives – not only economically if you’re a professional musician, but also spiritually, psychologically, socially, emotionally [and] culturally…”Declan Costello Singing, Aerosols and COVID – what does the PERFORM study tell us? 17th September 2020
Declan’s words really struck home and I’ve had this blog post running round my head ever since. I’ve hesitated writing it however. This year has been unimaginably hard for everyone and I didn’t want the below ideas to dismiss our struggles or sound glib. I’ve also been riding my own changing tides of emotions with tightening restrictions in the autumn, the second lockdown, and coming out of it two tiers higher than when we went in. (Don’t get me started.)
So, on a positive day a while back, I thought I’d jot down some ideas to keep me focussed on what music I can do at the moment. Hopefully it’ll give you a boost if you’re missing performing with – and to – others as much as I am! It is only a sticking plaster and meant as some small encouragemet to all musicians out there. I am under no illusion that my ideas are a magic bullet to what is a major crisis in our industry, for your vocation, passion or hobby.
Just for fun
- Set yourself a plan for the next month… or three. What do you want to achieve musically? What have you always wanted to sing or play? Now’s the time to learn some music, just for you.
- Become accountable and buddy up with a friend, checking in on each other’s musical progress.
- Make some music videos. You don’t have to share them, but they could well brighten someone else’s day!
- Book a recording session at a local studio. Tunbridge Wells has plenty to offer including Doz Studios in Fordcombe, Audio Sorcery in Wadhurst and the Granary Studios, Lamberhurst.
- Experiment with IGTV (Instagram TV) and reels.
- Have an online jam using JackTrip or a singing app such as Smule.
- Volunteer musically at a church that doesn’t usually hire musicians. Provide music for livestreamed services or as a soloist when congregations aren’t allowed to sing.
- Treat yourself to some 1-2-1 lessons for YOU. I’m currently loving a four-week course of hourly Zoom jazz vocals workshops. It’s getting me inspired – and giving me the weekly opportunity to have a sing with others.
- Become an educator, be it online or face-to-face. Although I’ve enjoyed teaching singing for over twelve years, it has proven itself one of the only ways I’ve been able to connect with others musicly during the pandemic. It has really given me purpose, knowing that a lesson will brighten someone’s mood that day during such a difficult time.
- Give yourself some CPD or specialise with a Masters (but don’t “reskill” like Fatima). There is so much online training available at the moment, it’s almost easy to be overwhelmed by it! Progress in another area of your music life, if performing isn’t an option at the moment.
- Attend a music course in person: Music educators such as Benslow Music, Finchcocks Piano and Voice Workshop have all (at least at certain points this year) been offering in-person training in 2020. There are likely others too.
- Attend online training instead: Again, there is so much available nowadays. My favourites are OB1 Store, Voice Workshop and VoiceHub. AOTOS (The Association of Teachers of Singing) has been fantastic this year too, offering members – and at times non-members – free training for most of 2020.
- Get your teeth into a creative project you’ve been putting off because you’re too busy. Now is the time!
- Get your promo materials up-to-date. Homemade music video, recordings etc can be more authentic and will attract people to who you really are.
- Session work: If you’re able to record from home or have access to a studio, remote session work might be something to consider.
- Think solo for now: When live music cranks back into gear, budgets will be small and social-distancing likely still a reality to some extent. What can you do “solo” when the time comes?
- Plan for outdoor events – or brave some winter busking now if you dare.
- Think online: Livestream on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to just a name a few. Livestreaming is not everyone’s bag, but TicketTailor is offering their ticket platform for free for all online events up until the end of the year.
- Plan ahead for the next festive period. Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day – how can you adapt?
Try and stay positive and get your ducks in a row for when live music is back with a vengeance! I hope something from the above proves useful in keeping your music spark alive until then.
Keep on singing,
If you want to show your support for professional musicians, you might consider donating to the charity Help Musicians, which provides musicians the extra support they need at a crucial stage that could make or break their career.