Since the recent mandate of Covid-19 related quarantines were made many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves with more time on our hands, battling boredom within the confines of our homes. Luckily, if you are a musician or music lover, there are still plenty of ways to pass the time. If you’re in a rut, check out our list of ways for musicians and music fans to pass the time during this difficult time. You’ll find this can actually be a great opportunity for you to open new musical doors of discovery!Watch a concert performance on YouTube
Many of us who are used to regularly attending or performing concerts may feel especially anxious to scratch that itch. However, with large groups of people being especially dangerous right now, concerts are basically out of the question. YouTube, however, offers hundreds of previously recorded concerts from nearly every artist imaginable. Once you select the concert that matches your taste, crank the volume and crack a beer, and it’s almost like you’re there!
Learn how to play guitar or another instrument
Since working at Herzog Music in downtown Cincinnati, I’ve constantly heard patrons say “I’d love to learn to play guitar, I just never have the time.” Well now, for many of us, the lack of time excuse is no longer valid! Grab that guitar from the corner of your room that’s been gathering dust for the last couple years and get started! There are many free step by step instructional videos online and free guitar tablature sites. In addition, Fender is currently offering free three-month online subscriptions to their Fender Play platform. This platform provides instructional videos to teach guitar, bass, and ukulele.
Do a live streaming performance on social media
Many musicians are understandably upset by the sudden, rapid cancellation of all their upcoming gigs/tours due to complications caused by Covid-19. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing “live” though! Streaming performances are quickly becoming the future of live performances and are easy to do from the comfort of your home! So learn a new cover song, play some originals or simply improvise a new set from Facebook or Instagram today.
Experiment with home recording using a DAW
Just like with learning to play guitar, there’s no better time than now to download, learn and start recording on a digital audio workstation (or DAW). Many expensive prosumer recording software programs exist, but don’t worry, free options have become more and more accessible in recent years. Garageband, Audacity, Pro Tools and Ableton now offer free beginner versions of their software that can be downloaded and installed easily. Many of the most popular,Grammy winning albums of 2020 were actually recorded in home studios! So gather up those songs that you’ve been meaning to record and get one step closer to releasing them to the world!
Watch a music documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime
If you’re anything like me, when you find a musician that you greatly admire, you want to find out everything you can about their background, influences and musical process. Few things can illuminate these interests more than music related documentaries. As mentioned above, YouTube offers a treasure trove of documentaries, but if you are a Netflix or Amazon Plus subscriber there are even more fantastic options to choose from. Netflix has some great original documentaries, like What Happened, Miss Simone, a highly illuminating study of the tumultuous life of singer/pianist Nina Simone. Amazon offers the fantastic Gimme Danger, the Jim Jarmusch directed profile on Iggy Pop and the Stooges.
Find new music and create a playlist on your favorite streaming site
This is a great time to “go down the rabbit hole” of your favorite genre on Spotify or Apple Music to discover artists and albums that you’ve never heard before. Take the plunge into the unfamiliar and make a playlist of your new discoveries. Share your playlist with your friends on social media and start a discussion!
Organize your record collection
If you’re a collector of physical media, you’ve likely found that if you don’t stay on top of organizing your collection it can quickly get away from you. Amazon isn’t shipping records and most record stores are closed so this pause in your record purchasing can give you an opportunity to organize and appreciate what you have! Consider downloading the Discogs app to develop an inventory of your collection and even see how much your collection could be worth!
Write a song (or an album!)
Take this time to write some new music. Make a list about all of the potential topics you could write about. Journal separately about those topics to brainstorm lyrical content. Or simply grab your guitar and let it all come out! Just make sure not to lose your new ideas! Consider purchasing a field recorder to document your new ideas or record via voice memos on your phone. There’s a lot to write about these days, don’t let the inspiration pass you by!
Clean and restring your guitar or other instrument
Another tedious exercise that many of us can claim to not usually have time to do is keeping up with the maintenance of our instruments. Take this time to clean, restring and tune your guitar. Get weird and try out some new tunings or different string gauges! This is a good time to experiment and this process could also help with your songwriting.
Read a music bio
Just like music documentaries can be inspiring as they offer an intimate glimpse into an artist’s life, biographies often take that concept one step further. In an age where we all probably watch too much TV it can be refreshing to switch it up and read instead. Next time you’re getting cabin fever during the quarantine, grab the music biography of your favorite artist and go read on your front porch. Beyond the fun of reading you can also get a breath of fresh air without truly stepping out into public.