The Quarantine Challenge

Article by Steven Buckner

We all play a pivotal part in this time of how society views the value of what we do and the importance of what we do could possibly shape the foundation for the future of the music and entertainment industry.

Although I would have preferred to not undergo the quarantine challenge, I felt I got my life back somewhat. I should say that not everything’s fine and dandy right now because people are suffering, getting sick and dying. That’s the harsh reality of the times we live in right now. Prior to Covid-19, my life was very hectic and I was heading towards a spiraling roller coaster downhill with no uphill in sight! Talking about a demon drop; dealing with LA traffic, going to different events and meetings and working all the time accumulated to having less time while trying to accomplish more. I recall even saying a prayer to ask for help in managing my time and stress level prior to the Covid outbreak. As unbelievable as this sounds, the answer to my prayers and problems was to be quarantined. As artists and composers, we all play a pivotal part in this time of how society views the value of what we do and the importance of what we do could possibly shape the foundation for the future of the music and entertainment industry.

    1. Acceptance
      We all must come to terms with what has happened and how our life has changed in a matter of days or weeks. The thing is look at what you still have and not at what you don’t. Yes it is very important to be grateful even if you have nothing. For example, I spoke with a homeless gentlemen prior to the world pandemic. This person had nothing, but also had everything at the same time. He had nothing in the sense of material wealth and abundance, but where he had lack in that he had more in peace. His level of peace was stronger than mine and I could learn from him was that it was more important to feel the abundance within yourself. The material possessions are all temporary and go away with time. I feel the same way about this situation now, it will pass in time.  
    2. Fear
      Listening to the news and what is going on in the world daily will have an impact on anyone mentally and physically. It is ok to turn off the news and focus on what is important to you. Remember that you are still alive and we are all going to leave this earth one day. Why choose to live each day in fear. We all have a choice whether to live in fear daily or live in peace regardless of our situation. 
    3. Exercise
      Prior to this world crisis, I was running on fumes and making little to no time to exercise. Now since this has happened, I figured that I had more time around the house and with a treadmill that was collecting dust bunnies that I should go ahead and make the best use out of it. This sounds silly but it works for me. When I was in college, I use to watch and enjoy Rambo movies and seeing the crazy stunts and things that were happening in that movie. I created a work out regime inspired by Rambo. I called it the Rambo challenge LOL. Now I’m not jumping out of helicopters and holding AK-47s, but I did crack a raw egg and put some orange juice in it and had a couple of sips. 
    4. The Album
      Prior to Corona Virus outbreak, I was working on a track called Osiris. I later decided to create an album but it was going to be released sometime in the future with no release date. I was going to have some nice electronic beats and call it a day. Then Covid-19 happened and I found a purpose in creating the album to help people get thru the difficult times ahead. The album will have more than just electronic beats  I can  guarantee that! I plan to release the Osiris project 05/17/2020. 
      In the meantime, I encourage all artist and composers to work and release their art and music into the world. I feel the world needs it more now than ever. We have to shape and show the value in what we create and remind society of it’s value. Prior to Covid-19,  the value of our art has been diminishing because people have lost the connection with the artist and their craft. This may also have been due to the over saturation of music to stream for free as well as the need to find the latest trend to appeal to the larger audience to make ends meet.  For the artists and composers, it has been a matter of survival and deciding whether to continue to pursue their vision.  
      One other thing on this topic that I came to realize is that as artist and composers, we have to be the audience for our own music. We are all too publically humble and hard on ourselves as it is. We should not seek further validation from another person as to whether they will accept it or not. We should choose to accept our own music and that is that. Of course we would love everyone to enjoy what we do, but the reality is that if we do not accept it, how will other people be able to accept it. I think this is an important concept for all artist and composers. We have to see the value in what we do and try not to look at others for validation. The validation has to come from within first before anyone else can validate it on their own merit.  
    5. Know Thyself
      We may publically think we know ourselves and exhibit that level of confidence that we do, but when was the last time you had a conversation with yourself to ask the important questions that pertain to your very own existence, purpose and legacy? Prior to Covid-19 outbreak, I can pretty much safely say that we have become easily distracted by the outside world that we forget to look at our own inside world. Staying home and being isolated is a new experience for many people and it can be very difficult as well, but it forces you to think about those hard questions. I have heard the horror stories of how people are dying daily all by themselves because of this virus,  and due to the nature of it are unable to physically see their family and friends unfortunately. I can only imagine what is going on in their minds prior to this? Well one thing for certain is that if you are reading this, you are still alive and well with the hope of one day being able to see your family and friends healthy, safe and sound. Stay safe, strong and know thyself
Article by Steven Buckner.
image credit: Sharon McCutcheon, Markus Winkler

Article by Jenny J Nam

We always wanted more time. Now we have too much. How do we use it smartly?

    1. It’s Cooking Time
      Many people have experienced that going to the grocery store is not that easy anymore, and getting food from a restaurant is also such a hassle due to this situation. Some people who are not used to cooking at home are panicking about what they should do. Cooking is not difficult. It’s just one of the tools for daily living. By cooking at home, you don’t have to worry about a lot of salt and sugar and MSG from eating out. At the same time, many people are in financial trouble due to the Covid-19 crisis. Just like me, lots of musicians are facing economic difficulties. So, what should we do? We gotta save money! Spend time on your healthy meals — just 30 mins to an hour a day. Kitchen is not your territory in your life? No worries, human beings are historically capable of adjusting to new environments in order to survive. This is your chance to learn skills essential for your health. There are many easy recipes, and YouTube channels you can get help from! Now, move your fingers on the kitchen table not only on your instruments! 
    2. Open Your Personalized Home Library
      I haven’t read a lot of books in years. I have to admit that. So, I’d like to ask you, how many books have you read in recent years? Most people don’t go to the bookstore anymore. I still go to the bookstore. But it’s a few times in a month. I used to go to the bookstore when I was young quite frequently. One of my pleasures when I was young was finding some interesting books at the bookstore after the school. Now, that hobby is no longer part of adult Jenny’s life. Okay, we are being quarantined. You don’t have any books on your bookshelf? Simple. Read an e-book. It’s on the internet. 🙂 E-books are now pretty common. You can easily access e-books from any public library website. Of course it’s free. Reading books enhances your critical thinking. We can boost our 5W1H skills during this time. The Arts are all connected. Reading will improve your music writing skills in music in the long term. So, let’s grab a book!
    3. Studying Is Charming Your Inner Beauty
      I’m sure you’ve wanted to learn something new for your life even before shelter-in-place was ordered. However, you’ve been hesitating with so many excuses such as “oh, I have no time to do that” “oh, well, it costs me a lot of $ … maybe some other time!” The funny thing is, when you look at your credit card bill carefully, you will realize some of your expenses are not really essential. Then let’s sum up your spending again. Right now, we are all under quarantine. That means, you don’t need to drive so many hours on the road, you can’t go out for a drink, you even don’t need to go to your favorite stores for shopping. All you need is a pair of pajamas at home. Several people are in financial trouble and I absolutely know that pain. However, it doesn’t mean you are not able to study something for yourself that you’ve desired for. Some say that crises hide opportunities – I believe this old Korean saying. There are so many great free websites on many subjects. From YouTube channel to https://www.jstor.org/ there are many great courses you can get. Regarding music-related studies, I can be your helper. If you want to learn music theory more deeply, go for it. I can let you know where you can find the right sources without commercialized junk.
    4. Enjoy A Moment Of Solitude
      Stay calm and look back on yourself. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’m in the middle of that. If I have to choose one of them to describe myself, I like to say I’m a secret introvert. Some people are really sociable, including several of my friends — they are literally social-creatures. They love to always hang out with friends, enjoy being introduced to the new people at a party or social gatherings. If you are one of those, this is the hardest time for you, NOT going out where you want to. However, this will pass soon. We all know that. Why don’t you give some time to yourself to cleanse your inside and outside? Solitude is not the same as loneliness. This society is just pushing us to keep running every single day. Sometimes, from my observation, people don’t know what they are chasing after. We forget what we’ve done in the past and why we’ve made the decisions we have. From time to time, I look back on myself – what I have done to others and to myself. What makes me happy or what makes me not happy. Often, I ask to myself “why”. This is how I use my moments of solitude on a regular basis. For now, you have absolutely more time than usual. Why don’t you try it out right now? Maybe today? Before going to bed or early in the morning with a cup of tea is the best time, at least from my experiences.
    5. Get In Touch With Your Family
      Share time with loved ones. Thanks to the internet, you can get in touch with people who are not living right next door. Like my parents, who are in So. Korea. My father, who is still not familiar with technology, nevertheless texts me often. I now feel much more closer to my father than before. I was so glad that he learned how to text me through ‘messenger’ and we can share some thoughts even though I can’t see him in person. At the same time, several friends that I haven’t spoken to in years also have messaged me from Italy, Japan, Thailand, Canada, and So. Korea. Every time friends around the world talk to me, I feel reconnected with them. It warms my heart. So, I’ve learned another life lesson again: Get in touch with your friends whom you haven’t spoken to in a while. It’s showing your affection to your friends and your family. They may be really glad when you reach out to them.
Article by Jenny J Nam
image: Lacie Slezak

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