This is a guide. Well not really, when the pandemic first happened I had several nervous breakdowns. I lost my job at USC in the Music Department, I lost my many gigs and some of my private music students. I am one of many and my heart goes out to all the musicians who suffered financially during these strange times. The following is a guide to help you focus on the positive. The show must go on, one way or another.
Cyber concerts have been blowing up online:
Live streaming, meeting new people online, collaborating, and online band lineups are the way to go. Why not? It’s safe.
The new realities of live music:
Live music will never go away. There is, however, a new reality, and new and safe approach: with hand sanitizers, outdoors venues and social distancing why should we stop playing? Why must we? It’s just a new reality and humans have an amazing ability to adapt.
Musicians are still going on tour and organizing tours in this environment. Yes, it is possible if you play it safe and mainly are outdoors. One of my friends went on tour in the middle of the pandemic and covered 10 outdoors venues with masks on and social distancing.
Getting Financial Assistance:
There still is help out there. It’s modest, it’s not much, but it’s still helpful. In the Los Angeles area, for example, here are a few of these incredible organizations assisting musicians financially:
- Musicares Foundation - grammy.com/musicares
- Pen America - pen.org
- The Actor’s Fund - actorsfund.org
- The Jazz Foundation of America - jazzfoundation.org
- Music Health Alliance - musichealthalliance.com
- The Center for Cultural Innovation - cciarts.org
Several Organizations have updated lists of Emergency grants that are available, such as:
New opportunities to collaborate, write music and grow a fan base online:
Posting positive and uplifting content more often during this pandemic opens doors, and collaborating in safe environments is key. Posting regularly on Facebook pages and Instagram accounts can help build larger-than-life fanbases in the middle of this Pandemic since the whole world is online. People flock toward a good, positive, music spirit in this age of anxiety.
An opportunity to reinvent yourself:
Do you need a new stage name, a new collaboration, a new direction in your musical career? Maybe this is the time to think about next steps. This time is a gift.
If you are in a comfortable financial place and you have time to give back, humanitarian causes are wonderful ways to pay it forward, raise awareness and give back.
Facebook has a feature to link a foundation to raise money for a cause that matters to you from the Musicares Foundation to the American Cancer Society. Your fans will appreciate you and will perceive you in a certain way if you don’t always make it about you, especially in these unusual times.
Final Food for Thought: As this pandemic season ends, will we all keep our music careers in more of a hybrid form? Online and Offline? How will you rethink your career?
LENA TUFENKJIAN is a Musician-Career Coach-CEO of Dream Music Studios. She formerly worked at Musicians Institute and the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music Links: mi.edu, dreammusicstudios.com