The last couple of weeks has thrown many a curveball at us. Suddenly, we are all a lot ‘free-er’ than we used to be and while trying to work out where the next dollar is coming from and keeping our mental well-being in check, we are trying to work out what to do next.
Well, I read an article from The Music Network last week which was enlightening and I wanted to share it as well as adapt it on a more local level.
The article was an opinion piece written by Charlotte Abroms who is an Artist Manager at Hear Hear Group – ‘The music industry in isolation: A (kind of) good news story (I hope)‘. She was inspired after reading a headline that said ‘Coronavirus offers a blank page for a new beginning‘.
Prior to ‘the virus’ I was really busy in both my work and personal life. At work we had lots on the go, planning new events, working on the touring shows we had booked in, booking our awesome artists into venues and private functions. Personally, I had started to look at wedding venues for my own wedding, planning for this year’s ukulele festival, learning the ukulele and the list goes on. That feeling of ‘busy’ seems like a distant memory and so insignificant in the scheme of things. What I’d give to go to one more live gig or to just give my family & friends one more hug.
Despite having a super tidy house now, there are many other positives to this forced ‘break’ that I’d like to talk about and I hope that you can find hope to.
No better time than now
Use this time to start breaking some unhealthy habits and creating healthier habits. Find something you love doing.
Musically, you could start your original music project again, finish writing that song, release that song you’ve been working on, do maintenance on your guitar, learn a new song, pick up that other instrument that’s been collecting dust in the corner, work on your singing technique, start practising to incorporate percussion into your performance.
Personally, you could start an online yoga course, read, watch the TV and catch up on those shows you’ve been wanting to watch, try that recipe, learn something new, go for regular walks.
I don’t know about you, but this forced ‘break’ has meant that I can focus on the things I’ve been pushing aside for so long, because I simply ‘didn’t have time’.
Catch up with family & friends
As a musician who works primarily on the weekends, you would’ve experienced missed family functions, opportunities to catch up with friends, spending time with your kids etc, date nights with your loved one etc.
Use this time to make your favourite meal, set the table, and have a romantic dinner with your partner on a Saturday night. Have a Zoom chat with your mates, enjoy a drink together albeit virtually, write a letter to someone. Check on your neighbour and your Grandma.
Is there a local musician that you’ve always wanted to collaborate with? A music teacher you wanted to ask a question or learn from? Have some questions about studio work or need some recommendations on something? Got a question for us at EAO?
If there’s one thing I know about the Newcastle music community its that we are all a very supportive bunch of people. While we can’t physically collaborate, there are so many ways available online and over the phone. Just reach out.
For EAO artists, we’ve created a Facebook group just for this purpose. Join it and join the conversation.
Expand your curiosity and find interesting ways to tell stories
I took this heading from The Music Network article I linked to earlier because I love it. Here’s why, in the article Abroms talks about her job as manager and touring being the biggest source of short-term remuneration for an artist and their team. She talks about the collaboration between a venue, artist, management team, agent, promotions team and production team to put on a show, a tour and how they work together to bring a certain feeling in the room.
Without shows, without venues, and with the benefit of newfound time, we can think about how we want the Newcastle music landscape to look when all this COVID-19 stuff is over.
Abroms gives the following examples on what we can think about:
- How do we tell our stories to our audience?
- How can we find interesting ways to release music?
- How can we continue to support our teams without live shows?
- How do you want to connect?
As a local musician, perhaps you can think about:
- Your own style and performance
- The current landscape of the Newcastle music industry
- What do you want to change?
- What do you want to see more of?
- How can venues/artists/agencies/production crews/marketing teams collaborate more?
- What will the recovery effort look like?
- What can we be doing now as a whole industry to aid us all in the future?
We want to hear from you, we want to hear your stories, your ideas. Instead of working in our own silos, we’d all benefit from sharing our stories to strengthen our community.
Remind yourself why you’re proud to work in this industry
I know that might be a bit hard right now but think about why you picked up your instrument and/or started singing in the first place. Think about all those gigs you’ve played and the joy you’ve brought to people. Think about the music you’ve made that has been the sound track to those people’s celebration, wedding, birthday etc. Think about all the memories you’ve been a part of. That was you!
EAO wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the passion, drive and love of music ignited by Steven, Terry and Paula. Our team wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that passion, we wouldn’t get to work with amazing artists like you if it weren’t for that passion.
We are all in this together and want you to know we are here for you and we want to hear your story, your idea or the new song you’ve been working on.
P.S. If anyone wants join me for an online uke jam, I’m in!