As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to unfold, we are all starting to feel the sheer lack of inspiration that comes from being stuck at home day after day. If you’re struggling to get motivated and looking for that special something to spark your creativity, give the following six tips a try.
Explore music outside of your comfort zone
We’re all guilty of it – listening to the same band, the same artists, and the same old albums over and over again. But if you’ve found yourself with a little bit of extra free time, why not give something new a chance?
Try listening to something you’ve never listened to before. Go into it without expectations. Be curious. Be receptive. You never know what you might discover – whether that be a new technique, an interesting sound, or perhaps a new lifelong favourite.
Learn about the history of music
Do you know where modern music came from? Are you familiar with the evolution of pop, rock’n’roll, blues, jazz, even classical music? If you’ve never taken a deep dive into the history of music, now’s your opportunity.
Why not start with some classic blues? Here’s Robert Johnson’s 1937 Love in Vain Blues followed by the Rolling Stones’ cover, which appeared on their 1969 album Let it Bleed.
Challenge yourself with a difficult piece
Got a lot of time on your hands? Instead of starting a 5,000-piece puzzle, get stuck into a challenging composition. Really stretch your ability – after all, what have you got to lose? Remember, there’s nothing quite like achieving something really, really hard to reignite your motivation.
Don’t know where to start? If you’re a guitarist, explore Steve’s original guitar renditions of iconic songs.
Play with no inhibitions
How often do you grab your sax or take a seat at your piano and just play – play anything at all, even if it sounds absolutely awful?
Writers suffering from writers’ block often use a free writing exercise to overcome their lack of inspiration. This involves writing whatever comes to their mind for a set period of time, sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes an hour. You can apply the same concept to playing music. Just go for it!
Watch live music online
The world is full of talented musicians, and many are keen to showcase their skill and passion online. You’ll find incredible clips of true masters at work all over the internet. Plus, by watching, engaging, and sharing musicians’ work, you are supporting fellow artists and helping them reach a wider audience.
You can watch Academy Director Steve Flack perform over on the Liverpool Academy of Music YouTube channel. Here he is tackling an extremely difficult piece originally composed for the lute-harpsichord.
Host a virtual open mic night
If your friends are musically inclined, why not host a virtual open mic night? Use a video chat platform to get the whole gang together, each taking turn centre stage. A little bit of performance nerves should get your creativity flowing.
The power of music
Things are a little strange right now, but us musicians can take solace in our instruments. Music has a way of sparking joy, of providing us with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. It’s an outlet for frustration – something we’re all feeling amid COVID-19 restrictions. Don’t give it up. With patience and dedication, inspiration will come.