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Opinion

A MUSICIAN’S GUIDE TO PANDEMIC TIMES

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It’s not all doom and gloom in these pandemic times as a musician. Yeah there’s no gigs, venues, festivals but on the bright side there’s also no buskers butchering Wonderwall for the millionth time. If you’re an independent musician here are some things to do in the meantime that will help you stay sane and when things open again help you hit the ground running.

Venues will open, gigs will be booked and unfortunately ‘Wonderwall’ playing buskers will return in due course.

See it as an opportunity to recharge
As a musician whether full time or part time you are constantly performing, rehearsing, writing, editing, recording, networking and generally being all about the music. Now you have a chance to chill. Read a book, watch a sunset, smell some flowers, feel sand between your toes, climb a tree. You get the picture. It is amazing how much some time away from music can energise you when you do get back to it. WAM are promoting a webinar series that promotes health and wellbeing. You can register here.

See it as an opportunity to grow
This is also a good time to work on your craft and I don’t mean Warcraft. Whether in song writing developing your lyrics or learning new things to play on your instrument you have time to learn and challenge yourself. You already shred on guitar? Take up another instrument. You only play country music maybe try some metal in your repertoire. Learning new things and challenging your brain will keep you from punching your screen after binge watching all the seasons of Game of Thrones, season 8 is a shocker. Check out Udemy as a great resource to find courses on pretty much anything and everything.

Search for opportunities to connect
For music artists if you’re not engaging with your music followers you should and that goes for followers as well. Badger your favourite local artist to finally cover your favourite Taylor Swift song or if you really want to torment them your favourite Tool song. Seriously though engage with your audience, they are stuck in the same boat as you and need some entertainment. Facebook live concerts, YouTube videos, online listening parties, just create some content. Also, musicians it’s time to check out the other local artist’s music in your scene if you haven’t already instead of just promoting your own (we get it you’re awesome) and get to know what’s happening in your local scene. Recently I started going through a lot of local musicians I have met over the course of the year and checking out and buying their music on Bandcamp as a small contribution to keeping them going or at least let them know they are loved and not forgotten. Please leave a link to your band’s Bandcamp page in the comments.

Search for new opportunities
Find out if there are ways to support your local music venues. Recently the Flying Scotsman has closed but there are venues such as the Mojos who have a fundraiser to keep it going. Around The Sound have a Go Fund Me page looking to raise money for creatives affected by these hard times. If you haven’t rescheduled a new booking date with venues, then you should look at doing it soon even if it’s pencilled in. Some good advice is to wait until you can launch your next album at a venue. This is a drawcard for both you as an artist and the venue so hang off on releasing that full length albums until later in the year so you can put on a real show. Other opportunities include looking at other musicians and creative disciplines to collaborate with. As a community we are all doing it tough and reaching out to other artists is a great way to grow, connect and reinvigorate our creative local scene.

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Keep your head up
The main thing is to keep your head up and remember that this is temporary. Venues will open, gigs will be booked and unfortunately ‘Wonderwall’ playing buskers will return in due course.

About the author
Derek Lee Goodreid began his songwriting in his twenties as a confessional exploring his own battle with PTSD, anxiety and depression with punk acoustic influences. After moving to Norway for love Derek’s music and lyrics evolved influenced now by Jeff Buckley, Johnny Cash and Robert Johnson. Derek’s blues inspired rockabilly won his newly formed band, Howling Light, a place to compete at Notodden Blues Festival and several festival gigs in Norway and established venues such as Cafe Mono and Buckley’s Blues and Roots Bar. Since then Derek has released four solo albums and has returned to his home town of Perth Western Australia. He continues to write, record and perform his own special brand of Americana Blues and Rock with his howling vocals red, hot rocking guitar and heart of gold.

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