Being a musician is hard enough. You have to build up your skills, develop a fanbase, and write your own music. Doing it all in the middle of a global lock-down is even harder. Everyone has had a rough 2020, leaving us all wondering how to be a musician in a quarantined world. Regardless of where you are on your musical journey, being in isolation can affect our methods of learning, making money, and connecting with others. Here are a few tips to guide you through the near future.
The Music Business is Constantly Changing
Much like the rest of the entertainment world, the music business has evolved a number of times over the last couple of decades. The biggest change-up has been the development of iTunes, Spotify, and other digital media formats which have pushed listeners away from purchasing albums and paying attention to radio play. In response to dropping album sales and other losses of traditional revenue, the industry responded by focusing more on concert dates in order to close the financial gap.
Even this strategy has been jeopardized today through the COVID pandemic. Some of the more popular musicians out there have been able to create some revenue by playing at drive-in theaters and other spacious outdoor venues, but for many of the mid-tier and lower names there has been no great substitute for concert tours and live shows. Thankfully, we live in a technological age where the internet has allowed for these individuals to at least have a fighting chance. What does this have to do with how to be a musician? Why do we say all of this? To let you know that learning how to be a musician in a quarantined world isn’t the first time people like yourselves have had to figure out new ways to do what they love. As we move on we’ll discuss ways you can keep up your skills and get your music out there today.
How to Be a Musician When You're Stuck at Home
If you’re a relatively new musician or someone who is looking to advance your skills, not being able to get out there and meet with people may sound like a horrible curse. Let’s look at the positive angles instead. Now you have so much time to practice with your instrument. There has never been a better time in history to have to be isolated from others because, frankly, most of us in the Western world have been practicing isolation for years. Between moving our social worlds online and gorging on Netflix, we think we can do just fine away from everybody else.
Through online classes, subscription services, and video tutoring, you can do a lot to become a better musician while being cut off from the outside world. Now is the time to put in the work because once you are able to return to the “normal” life we all enjoyed before, you’re going to want to live to the fullest with your friends and family. Seriously, we’re all going to be backpacking across Europe and living at the beach the second this thing is over.
Whether you choose to learn on your own or hire a video tutor, you need to set some kind of schedule and curriculum for your learning. If you want to learn a complicated song, make that your goal for the week. Discipline can be hard in a world where we’re all just socializing in video chats, but you can still get it done.
Beyond keeping up with your music education during a time of physical separation, you need ways to get your music out there to be seen. First up, you should have a way for people to stay connected with you online. Not only should you be trying to build fans, but find ways to stay rooted with those who give you support. Friends, family members, fellow musicians, your faith, whatever grounds you and inspires confidence should be something of which you keep a firm grasp. Secondly, you need to branch out of your comfort zone and try new things. Learn how to do video streaming and invest in a half decent setup for your music to be heard online.
The Importance of Connecting with Fans (and Your Family and Friends)
Thinking about fans may sound like landing on the moon to some musicians who are only at the beginner level, but it’s so important to have people in your corner as a music maker. Besides being a possible source of revenue for your work, these people can help boost your confidence and help you make important business connections down the line. Fans can range from your family to friends from school to people you’ve never even met. Find ways to grow your audience and tend to your fans’ appetite for music through the internet. This may mean putting together live stream shows, posting behind-the-scenes footage, taking questions on air or just about anything else. Do enough that people won’t forget your music, but not so much that you give them fatigue and they stop tuning in.
Fans aren’t the only people you should be connecting with online, however. You need to have a solid base of people who love and care about you regardless of your musical talent. If you’re living in isolation during a pandemic or something similar, those people are even more important. Music shouldn’t exist solely in isolation and neither should you, so find ways to connect with the people who matter.
Be Flexible and Willing to Try New Things
You could say this any time over the last century, but an important aspect in how to be a musician in a quarantined world is to stay flexible. The business changes, the audience’s desire for certain genres fluctuate, and the technology is always progressing at an incredible rate. At the same time, measurements for success are often unique to each decade.
Don’t be scared to step out and try something new as a musician. Even if the choice you make doesn’t work out, you’ve at least learned what not to do. If you’ve always made your living playing at restaurants and festivals, maybe try to put your music online by improving your presence on social media or through playing live shows from your home. You can even pair up with some of your friends to host a series of livestreamed shows where people can send in tips or request a song. With the speed at which the world is changing, you’re living in the Wild West of modern music. Stay true to your music and what drives you, but don’t wait on the sidelines for the industry to morph into something with which you’re comfortable. That’s how to be a musician in a quarantined world.
At Camp Electric, we want to help young Christian musicians learn what it takes to become the next generation of talented creators. From classroom sessions featuring some of the biggest names in the industry to important workshops and entertaining concerts, we’ll help you make the most of your talents. Find out how you can join us at Camp Electric by clicking on the link below.