The global pandemic of COVID-19 has led to the cancellation, or rescheduling, of most major festivals and gigs.

As a result, many musicians will find themselves with time on their hands and a gap in their schedules later in the year.

While this might seem like a negative, it’s crucial for your physical and mental wellbeing that you focus on the positives, namely that you have a lot of extra time.

Use this time wisely to improve your skills and enhance your career using these handy tips and inspiring ideas.

Write New Music

When you’re out touring and managing your music career, it’s easy to overlook the actual creative process. You might rush through it, or even outsource it to someone else. Now that you have free time to spend at home, you can exercise your creative muscles and start creating fresh music to debut once the lockdown is eased.

Rehearse Your New Ideas

Once you’ve managed to create new songs, sets and performance ideas, you need to rehearse them. It’s crucial that you practice before you take your new work out and show it to the world, so book quality rehearsal space, like the Los Angeles rehearsal studio offered by Pirate Studios which is due to launch this Spring. You can use this professional studio (where you can also enquire about a free initial session) to hone your ideas and create a spectacle that fans will love for when the live performance market reopens.

Learn New Skills

Many individuals are using the lockdown to learn new skills; from knitting to practising a new language, it feels like everyone is learning something. As a musician, knowing how to make fajitas or needlepoint the alphabet probably isn’t going to be of much benefit to your career, so use the time to learn a useful skill that will help you to grow as an artist and performer. Test out some of the latest music editing software on the market, or learn to play a new instrument. You could also practice some cover songs from your favourite fellow musicians so that you can intersperse these into your sets in the future. Fans love cover songs, as they feel familiar and give them a chance to hear an old favourite in a new way, so they’re a valuable addition to your repertoire.

Keep In Touch With Your Colleagues

Throughout the music industry, individuals and companies are feeling the strain of the pandemic. Don’t forget anyone who has supported you throughout your career, and connect with them digitally during the lockdown. Consider hosting a virtual quiz night for a selection of individuals that you are close friends with, so that you can all catch up, vent your frustrations and generally have fun. For individuals that you’re not that close to, such as vague acquaintances who work at a venue you’ve played at before, you can simply drop them the odd message to check that they’re OK. By communicating with your industry peers during this challenging time, you will not only improve your own mental wellbeing but make them feel valued and supported. When this is all over, they will remember your kindness, and this could bring you some goodwill in the future.

Support Your Fellow Musicians

Much like the managers, studio reps and technicians who have supported you over the years, you also need to connect with and support your fellow musicians. Use your social media platform to share and like their posts, and reach out to anyone who is hosting online gigs or has requested help to see if you can be of any assistance. This support will be valuable to both of you, as it will ally you with their brand and make them feel less alone during these isolating times.

Grow Your Online Presence

Touring and spending so much time on the road means that you probably do little more than scroll social media and occasionally share a post to promote your work. You may even have outsourced your digital marketing to an agency that posts impersonal information designed simply to update fans. Now is the ideal time to grow your online network and show them the person behind the music. Take over your social media accounts, personal website and any other online platforms, so that you can add the personal touch and show everyone that you are still committed to creating great music, even while you’re confined to your home.

Find Alternative Ways To Engage With Fans

Just because you’re not out touring, doesn’t mean that you can’t spend time with your fans. Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube and more mean that you can create innovative digital content and communicate with your fans. Learn how to host an online gig and think of innovative ways to engage with your online followers, such as Q&A sessions or competitions to win free music.

Turn the cancelled festival season into a positive and make the most of your newfound free time with these handy tips.