What to do when the “Coronavirus” (or other disaster) cancels all of your gigs

Mar 12, 2020

With the widespread concern and panic surrounding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, otherwise known as the “Coronavirus”, many musicians have had their gigs and tours, and therefore the work they rely on to make a living, canceled.

Instead of rehashing all of the harm the coronavirus is causing, you can choose to take advantage of the positive side of this extra time. Here are seven ways you can make your isolated time productive and come back on the music scene stronger than before, whenever that happens to be.

1. Rest

Most of the time as musicians we burn our candle at both ends. Late night gigs can lead into early morning lessons, sessions, rehearsals, or church and brunch gigs. Aside from the time it takes to maintain and grow as a musician, most musicians are also busy working other jobs and freelance work to make a living and haven’t really given themselves a chance to take a breath. Use the time to sleep, rejuvenate, and take care of your health.

2. Practice

When we’re in the thick of gigging season or running from show to show it can be tough to find the time or energy to practice. These extras hours of time with your instrument can be incredibly helpful to you not only by improving your skills for the longterm, but also for the sake of connecting with music and allowing it to relieve some of the stress caused in these types of situations.

3. Compose

Self-isolation can be the perfect time to reflect and create original music. If you have dreams of making an album or need a few more tunes to finish one that you’ve started, make this time move you closer to that goal.

4. Grow

Now more than ever is it evident how important it is to grow your online audience and build your online streams of income. There are so many options here. One method is to build an audience on a platform that you can monetize such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, etc. You could learn how to grow the number of streams of your original music. You could grow your audience and use that to convert into online students and sales of teaching material. If you are interested in growing your online audience to be able to monetize it, check out our Six-Figure Audience course here.

5. Learn

If you want to grow your audience online you will need to learn new skills such as content creation, modern marketing strategies, and much more. If building an online audience doesn’t interest you, this is still an opportunity to start learning new skills that will benefit your musical career. Maybe it’s learning some basic piano skills to accompany yourself as a vocalist, or on the flip side, maybe it’s learning some basics about singing so you can increase your value as a musician by being able to sing backups or even perform solo gigs.

6. Create

For those that teach students in person or online, you know what a difference in your student’s learning it can be to have a step-by-step method for them to learn from. Unfortunately, creating your own method takes an upfront investment of time and it’s very easy for lessons to turn into just asking the student what they want to work on. For the students I work with, I create custom lesson plans with specific short-term goals in mind that will allow them to reach their longer term goals. My suggestion for the teachers reading this is to create the teaching materials that you’ll end up using over and over again to benefit your students and speed up their learning process. If you want to check out the free educational resources we provide as an example, click here and click on “Learn” at the top header.

7. Plan

For many freelance musicians, the marketing and brand of their group is the last thing they focus on, and in times when the recommendation is for people to isolate themselves and avoid groups, one of the best things you can do is plan for aspects of your musical career that you may have been neglecting. Here are a few basic questions you can ask yourself to see if your marketing and brand need work.

  • Do I have a website for my group that is updated and easy to navigate?
  • Do I have high-quality photos of my band for clients, companies that book me, and social media posts?
  • Do I have at least one high-quality video that represents my band well and clients love?
  • Do I have a system for building the audience for my band? (This could be via an email list or social platform like Instagram or Facebook.)
  • Am I creating regular content for my audience that they’re expecting and engaging with each week?

Which of these strategies for making your time productive will you implement? Let us know in the comments and share this with a musician that you know.

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