Life Lessons from Quarantine: A Musician’s Perspective


 

What I learned from being in a world pandemic.

A musician’s perspective.

1. Maybe I don’t need to be that busy in life.

Yes, I want to reach my fullest potential as a musician. Yes, I want to accomplish as much as I can during my short time on earth. But overloading my daily schedule to accomplish as much as possible was starting to become unhealthy. It was wearing me down, burning me out. But now that I’m forced to stay home and not constantly be somewhere, I’m starting to be more present. Maybe I don’t need to always be doing something. Maybe trying to do a million things with my life is too much. Maybe having more quiet time is a good thing.

Maybe I don’t need to constantly network and grow my business.

Maybe, instead, I should balance lots of activity with a period of nothingness: sit and breathe. Go on a walk. Sleep in. The positive side of nothingness is allowing my mind to recharge. Do nothing sometimes, and then work hard when you get back to work. It’s all about the balance, and it’s all about finding how much leisure you should balance with work to get optimal results as well as satisfaction. I hope this habit carries over post-pandemic.

2. Wow, I really should have multiple streams of income.

When I’m not recharging my batteries or being present, I break my career down into two parts:

1. The business side of music.
2. The creative side of music.

Since I’ve lost tons of gigs over the past few months, the pandemic has really taught me something:

Diversify my income paths.

However, I would add this important caveat: don’t diversify so much that you get spread thin and master nothing in life. I’m still figuring out how to have multiple money-making endeavors to support my personal and career needs, yet not over-diversify and master nothing in my life. There probably isn’t a perfect formula for how to correctly do this, but I believe I can get close to having multiple income streams and still master my craft. This will probably take me years to get good at.

3. Artistically, I should be creating some kind of music every day.

Since I’ve been home most days, I’ve had a lot of hours to myself. I don’t know about you, but time has gone by extremely fast the past few months, but many individual days have gone by slowly. With all this time, I’ve been able to structure my days by trying to do four major things every day. If I do these four things every day, then I consider my day a success. They are:
1. Write at least one song.
2. Record my songs for at least an hour.
3. Practice voice for at least an hour (I have been working to improve my singing)
4. Do at least an hour of business work (i.e. growing my fan base, creating content for social media, etc.)

If you decide what your everyday goals are, and do them every day (and keep track of them to track your progress!), you will see major results over a year. I know that because I am starting to see results.

4. I really should see savings equal to several months of expenses at any given time.

Support yourself so you can make art.

Okay, one more business-related topic. I know this isn’t music-related, and I don’t want to talk about the business side too much. I hate to say it, but it’s true. We are not yet in a world of universal income, universal healthcare, or other government funding where having to make money is unnecessary. Therefore, we are still depending on having to make money for a living. And what we do with our income is even more important. A chunk of it should be saved or put in an emergency fund. I know it’s not fun to talk about, but if I didn’t have months of savings from gigs and work, I’d be in trouble right now. The starving-artist thing, in my opinion, is overrated.

5. Emotions rule.

Music mirrors life.

Congrats on making it this far. Some of my points may sound contradicting; work on several streams of income yet do nothing and relax; time has gone by fast and slow at the same time during the pandemic. The most important thing the pandemic has taught me, and the final thing I’ve learned:

If I live life right (or, at least how I believe life should be lived), I will experience everything over a lifetime; I’ll experience the boredom, the stress, the happiness, the pain, and many other emotions at different points in my life.

Believe it or not, our brains use emotion as a guiding force of what kind of action to take. Since music mirrors life, music is therefore created from our emotions. As a creative person, try to take some of those emotions and turn them into art.
Article by Steve Solomon
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