With my new updated 2020 playlists loaded with tracks of creative musicians half my age and who have none of my presuppositions, musical hang-ups, or history I'm going for a walk. A long walk, in a safe place, deeply listening to the tracks.
Ten things you might consider:
Being internally driven when sitting at home takes some extra effort. Idleness, loneliness, cramped spaces, financial stress; it adds up.
I've made a short list for musicians of positive qualities that may help us focus our efforts, deal with reality, be creative, and get on with it.
The short hokey video below is a good reminder that fitness, appearance, and conduct go a long way to preparing us what is to come. Combine this with professional pride and imaginative thinking will, I believe, move us forward.
For more on this subject I suggest checking out this peer reviewed article: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-intrinsic-motivation-2795385
What is a good attitude in the midst of a pandemic?
I. Stay in touch with others. Especially musicians who are still practicing, staying sober, practicing safe practices. This has really helped me: Jamming with social distancing in safe spaces.
2. Stay physically active. Keep the endorphins up. A challenge for sure. I'm drinking way for much coffee.
3. Taking lessons gives us another reason to stay musically fit. I take weekly classes on drums. For piano classes twice a month plus an online teaching course here and there.
4. Explore alternative routes for your career. I'm exploring drum teaching. This is a creative industry, let's get creative, we have no choice. As someone wiser than me said, "you got your war". This is our moment.
An external link:
“Flexibility, improvisation, practicality, and the ability to recognize and respond to changing environments”
This is a good time to revisit these thoughts from my old alma mater. We all understand the disruption of the pandemic. Now what lies ahead for musicians? Public performances are out until an effective vaccine appears. And, is widely adopted by the population. In this “age of the crazy” that may be wishful thinking.
For established performers it may be time to consider alternative career paths. This is the path I took 20 years ago in response to the SARS pandemic. As the songs says, “you gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them”.
For younger musicians though it is a whole new opportunity to reinvent the arts. The established crowd is hoping for a miracle, the younger crowd got one. The status quo is not likely to return. And, anyhow the young will not wait. They are filling the void with viable alternatives. The leviathan of public arts support will need to be reimagined and reallocated post Covid-19
I hope I live long enough to be a witness; it is going to be good.
Louis Armstrong is reported to have remarked, "musicians don't retire, people just stop calling". Then we move into community groups of various sorts. Rarely do we hang up the horn completely.
Over the last decade, as a both pianist and drummer, I have played in:
In these settings I have met countless career musicians. Long after the roar of the crowd has dimmed, we are still at it: playing, jamming, practicing, and swapping tall tales.
We the musicians.
Three months of reflection during isolation has yielded valuable insights.
I am sure you have gone through a similar experience.
So, I am still practicing. I also have sought out younger musicians to learn from as well. I am working out safe jamming practices/spaces for piano and guitar trios to meet.
The cinematic noise trio Fade/Dissolve will continue to produce work and post it online. Our newest work drops soon.
I will be taking a live online class in adult education next month. I am reading, creating, dreaming, and scheming.
It is going to be ok, but it is going to be different.
What's the coolest thing that could happen to your musical life in the next five years? I've answered this question, have you?
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 5th enthusiastic musical decade, David works with adults pursuing musical dreams in the autumn of life, while he maintains an active presence in the Toronto arts scene.