Life During Quarantine: Finding Ways to Stay Sane as an Artist

March 30, 2020

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]

Look, this sucks.

I’m not even going to try to pretend it doesn’t. We’re all nervous, we’re struggling, and we can’t go outside, go to our favorite restaurants, or even find solace in the one thing that has always been a safe haven for most of us—live shows.

It’s a mess.

And while I struggle to find a balance between “being a total couch potato” and “trying to do all the things and burning out”, I know that most of us are looking for ways to stay sane while stuck inside. So, we’re putting together this list to help out, but before we dive in fully I want to first emphasize one very important point:

This isn’t forever. We will get through this, we will recover, and we will come out stronger.

If there’s one thing I know about the music industry it’s that we are pretty hard-headed. I mean, would we even be in this industry if we weren’t ridiculously stubborn?

So try not to worry, try to wash your hands and make the best of this, as much as you can. We’re going to get through it, together.

Alright, on to the tips.

Focus on your craft

Focus on the thing you already do, and then focus on the things you want to do more of. You’re always saying you wish you had more time to just play, to songwrite, to learn a new instrument, to learn how to play your instrument in another way.

Well, now is the time. Make it happen.

If you need motivation, think about Future You, doing noticeably better at that gig a few months from now, when everyone’s out celebrating your first show back. Wouldn’t it be awesome in a few months to play your first show since all this and be noticeably better? Yeah, that would be pretty cool.

Learn the business

You know how everyone is always telling you that you need to know the business side of the industry to really succeed? Well, now’s your chance to learn! Everything you’ve always wanted to know is waiting on the other side.

Try not to go overboard and overwhelm yourself here though. Don’t try to learn Facebook ads, PR, and marketing all in one week. Pick the thing you have either been wanting to learn the most or that you think will move the needle the fastest, and double down on it. When you’ve conquered that, you can move on to the next.

Start a Series

I’m talking webseries, YouTube series, podcast series, behind the scenes series—just start any series with your bandmates, your producer, or yourself and go for it.

Get a routine down and stick to it. This can be:

  • A podcast about how you’re making the most of the quarantine (or a podcast about anything else)
  • A video series every Tuesday called Band Practice with (Band Name) where you share clips of your practice, of you guys goofing around, and answering fan questions
  • A weekly IG Live with your fans where you just hang out, share your day, and play a song or two.

One of my favorite examples of this is Arkells have started doing this every day on their IG Live and labeling it Flatten the Curve Music Class, where they go live and teach their fans a different Arkells song on the guitar (and other instruments) every day. They also invite other artists to join them on IG Live as well, which makes for a really fun experience. It’s been a huge hit and honestly really heartwarming.

Giving your fans something to look forward to like that can really make their day, especially now more than ever.

Get Physical

But really. Go for a walk. Do some Yoga. If you’re fortunate enough to live near a park or side street no one goes down, go out and go for a walk. It’s ok to be outside just, you know, stay away from everyone and don’t touch anything.

Or, go in your backyard and read, or make s’mores.

Not wanting to go outside? I get it. Why not stay inside and do some at home exercise or yoga videos. There are a ton out there, but for those of you that aren’t natural yoga-people like myself, Yoga with Adriene has been a favorite, and PopSugar has some amazing 15 minute dance videos that make you feel like you’re actually having fun instead of just sweating a lot.

Or, turn to active video games! Don’t laugh, but my fiance turned me on to Ring Fit Adventure a few months ago and no joke, I now exercise with it for about 30 minutes a day and it is the only exercise other than walking my dog I have ever done consistently so that stuff WORKS.

Don’t forget about things like mindfulness, and general well being for your mind as well as your body. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally and be sure you’re practicing lots of self care. 

Learn something new

So many places are offering free online courses right now, including Yale’s famous course on happiness, and Fender who is offering 3 months of free guitar lessons. There are a ton of courses being offered or free right now—a quick google search in the area you’re interested in should produce a few great results.

How will you choose to use this time? 

We’re just getting started! If you’re looking for even more tips on building your brand and  increasing fan engagement then join me for my free video series ‘How to Reach a Wider Audience Without Spending a Dime.’

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more as well as the THRIVE Mentorship program—an online community that provides indie artists with affordable year-round mentoring from music industry experts, and much more.

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