It’s been a few weeks now since the Coronavirus pandemic brought public life to a halt in most countries. Musicians all over the world are feeling the devastating effects. Shows have been all but cancelled for the foreseeable future, recording sessions are only possible in your own home. We’ve put together a few tips with ways to keep productive during lockdown, finding ways to generate income and sharpening your skills for the AC era (After Corona)…
Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for emergency financial aid. The effects of the lockdown are severe in all sectors of the economy, and governments all over the world have scrambled to pass economic stimulus bills to prevent a total meltdown. Measures range from direct payments and simplified loans to things like loan forgiveness and protection from eviction or foreclosure. Since we cannot cover the different situations in each country, please check with your local authorities if help is available to you and how to get it.
In addition to government aid, several nonprofit organisations and companies have set up Coronavirus relief funds. We’ve compiled a list.
In this article, we’d like to focus on ideas for things you can do yourself to make it through the crisis. With a bit of creativity and the help of modern technology, you don’t have to sit at home and wait for better times. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you put your time to good use. You’ll feel much better – and you might even be able to make some money.
Give online music lessons
If you’re a music teacher, giving lessons online is an obvious way to protect this source of income. In the age of smartphones, basic video chats for music lessons are extremely simple to set up, and there are numerous platforms available: Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Viber, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, and others. Doozzoo is a dedicated platform for online music lessons, which offers a virtual classroom with cloud storage, metronome, tuner, audio player and video recorder. Depending on which instrument you play and which service you use, you may encounter problems with the background noise reduction algorithms of some apps. Depending on your needs, an audio interface and microphone can greatly improve the sound quality, and a good-quality webcam can do the same for video.
To broaden your scope, look beyond your primary instrument and consider offering subjects like ear training, harmony, arranging, improvisation, software, orchestration, music notation, marketing, etc. Advertise your services on social media, forums and your own website if you have one, and spread the word through colleagues, family members and friends.
Offer professional recordings
If you have a home studio and your own recording equipment, such as a DAW, audio interface, and microphone, you can offer to play on other people’s tracks and productions remotely. If you do it right and deliver a professional-quality product, both sides can benefit from this, as the producer doesn’t have to deal with setting up a recording session, and you can work at your own pace in the familiar environment of your home studio. Again, try to look beyond the usual scope of your musical activities. Seek out producers and composers in fields like jingle writing, film and TV scoring, game soundtracks and library music, as well as music production.
Transcriptions and score preparation
If you’re a professional musician, chances are that you have a good ear and know how to read and write music. That puts you in a good position to offer transcriptions, music notation and score preparation for projects that require sheet music. School bands, theaters, choirs, film composers, churches—there are many possible clients if you think outside of the box. I have personally transcribed and prepared the sheet music for two song books for a friend’s band, who sells them as merchandise. In order to deliver a print-ready product, you’ll need to invest in professional notation software like Sibelius, Finale or Dorico.
Presets, sound packs, samples and loops
Depending on what you do and which equipment you own, you may be able to offer presets for synthesizers or produce your own sample or loop packs. Guitarists can offer Kemper profiles, IRs or presets for units like the Fractal Audio Axe FX or Line 6 Helix. It’s not an easy market to start making money right away, but if you’re good at it and your output gets noticed by manufacturers or plug-in developers, you may be laying the foundation for a future assignment.
Since quarantine hit, we’ve already seen an unprecedented surge in streamed living room concerts and DJ sets. While this isn’t a big money maker, it can help to stay connected to your followers and prevent cabin fever. You can also ask for donations for your live streams. Remember: your fans are also forced to stay at home, and they’ll probably be grateful for a bit of musical distraction.
Collaborate with others over the internet
Modern technology makes it easy to work on projects together, even if you’re not in the same room. There are many ways to collaborate online, from simply sending recordings back and forth, to collab platforms like Blend or Splice, to apps like Soundstorming or the newly released Endlesss. We’ve compiled a list of 10 online music collaboration tools.
Practice, compose and expand your skills
Even if you don’t find a way to make money while you’re self-isolating, you can still put your time to good use by working on your chops. Now is the time to get back into practicing, expand your musical horizons or maybe even learn a new instrument. Immersing yourself in music can offer distraction and boost your confidence. There are probably some things you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time to do, like learning a new software, learning photo or video editing, or building a synth or a pedal. If you use your time in quarantine to work on your skills, it’ll be much easier to get back in the groove once the world opens up again.
Here’s a list of free and discounted music content to help you stay inspired in self-isolation.
What are your suggestions? How do you cope with the situation? Let us know in the comments!