25 Things To Do As A Musician Whilst On Lock Down
25 Things To Do As A Musician Whilst On Lock Down
1) Try writing a song!
Ok so turning that ‘riff’ in your head into an actual song is not always that easy but have a go. Take a basic structure, intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus and just record it (use your phone if you don't have a DAW) and just give it a shot – you never know you may just write the monster tune of 2020!
2) Try writing 2 songs!
Well you've done one right?! You might as well do two, especially as you’ve now got the bug and you’ve just finished writing your first song (which is a monster by the way!) and you’ll need something for that difficult 2nd album.
3) Re- Arrange your set list.
So you’ve been gigging the same set list now for the past 10 years! Same order, same songs – your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner have long since stopped coming to your shows with excuses like ‘nah just fancy a quiet night in luv - is that ok?’. Even the bar staff know what song your going to sound check with. Well things are about to change..and here's why – NEW SET LIST BABY!! – obviously however they are just the same songs but you have thrown the world order into complete chaos by re arranging the set list! Go you! See: Things To Do 4 & 5
4) Write a new set list.
Probably a good idea to write a new set list and make sure everyone in the band has a copy of its glory and is fully on board with the concept. Unless written down the drummer will, like the solid metronome that they are, probably start playing 'Highway To Hell' – the same as they have done for the last 10 years. See Things To Do 5
5) Pick 5 songs that are ‘next’ of covers and learn them.
Come on you’ve been belting out Summer of ‘69 for far too long now, even Bryan’s bored of it (still a good tune though) its time for a shake up. Pick 5 songs that you have all agreed on (good luck with that one...how long are we in lock down for!) and start to make headway on learning them ready for when you can get back to proper rehearsals.
6) Tweak your patches.
So if like us ‘your never satisfied with your tone’ - (its a guitarist thing) then get to it – that Helix, Kemper, Fractal, Boss, Mooer (add your personal choice others are available) doesn't stand a chance, move aside hideous factory presets and behold ‘me’ – the master of taking a patch I’ve spent hours on and let me spend more hours on ‘improving it’ ...only to realise that I've actually made it worse! Editors note: Save your original patch first!
7) Make some new patches.
In relation to the above – seriously, time at present is perfect for building a few new presets from scratch to 'wow' your fellow band members with and who will be forever thankful. Think about expanding the sound that you bring to the band with some different ‘tones’ or create something new and experimental to record with. Dive deep my friends and find out what you can do – don't just go straight to the 5150 preset and add more delay….live a little, take your time, experiment with the reverse flanger that you never knew was in there...and then go back to the 5150 preset and add more delay :)
8) Clean your guitar – properly!
Ok, so all that grot building up on your fretboard? Well that's actually some of your fingertips ‘melted’ onto the surface (you shredder you)...clean me please! Whilst your at it perhaps change the strings and give your best friend a polish and some TLC (your guitar -filthy minds) useful video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoTFuLYSB7c
9) Clean your bass – properly!
As above ‘insert’ here though it might take slightly longer as bass guitars have longer necks...ummmm – not that funny!
10) Drum kit maintenance (fix that rattle).
You’ve been meaning to do it for ages, the rest of the band have asked you to fix it for ages – you know, that annoying rattle (no, not the singer) that always happens just at the quiet bit of the song. Time to strip the kit and come back to practice with an awesome ‘non rattling’ drum kit for everyone to behold – only then will everyone realise that it was in fact your singer that was rattling - NOTE: place an ad on www.mybandyourband.co.uk for new singer.
11) Clean your microphones – Urrrrgh!!!
Seriously this is something that you should do regularly, microphones collect so many germs its untrue yet we pass them around at gigs, let strangers at shows join in and use them and then 9 times out of 10 they go back into the box and fester for a week before we spit into them again: see video link – WARNING GROSS - useful video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVXlhdV5kwE
12) Re Arrange your pedal board.
This is an almost daily task for most guitarists (its an order thing) even without being on lock down, but try for the zilllionth time, to think about each position of every pedal relevant to its use. Think about the cable routing and try and tidy that ‘rats nest’ of patch leads up. Failing that just re arrange your pedals on your board which is something you do every day anyway! :)
13) Arrange weekly band meetings.
Even though we might not be able to ‘get together’ at the moment, try to arrange a weekly ‘band meeting’ via Skype or Whatsapp or your chosen social media multi meeting app. Don't just put the band on ‘hold’ until its over people will drift – get some focus, set some band goals for later in the year. Ground work laid now will pay dividends later – you never know, by actually taking the time to have a proper ‘meeting’ about band stuff, rather than just a quick chat during rehearsal pack up, you might actually realise that the (insert musician in your band of choice!) is actually, after all, a pretty decent guy/gal!
14) Make a plan for world domination in 2021.
As with the above - make a plan for 2021. Its going to be a tough time for us all especially musicians. Discuss during band meetings ways in which you can ‘promote/push/plug’ your band. If you need another band member then use us or one of the other great sites to place an ad. Think about shooting a video??.. either a ‘covers promo’ or an original song video – hey don’t forget, you’ve just written a monster tune. See: Things To Do 1
15) PLACE AN ADVERT ON MBYB!
Were not just here if you need to find a new singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer etc. though we are here for that. Why not place an ad about your band (if you looking for gigs etc) in your region on this site – its FREE and all publicity is good publicity as they say, well, unless your band is happened to be called COVID-19 ..then perhaps not so good!
16) Research venues to contact for gigs when ready.
On a slightly serious note, its difficult to predict quite how long this will go on for, it wont be over even after we get the 'all clear'. The financial impact for us all is probably going to be long term, musicians and venue’s alike. Make a list of places and venues that you would like to play, perhaps offer a 'FREE' show?? (I know that's contentious) ..maybe offer to do a show in aid of the venue itself or a worthy charity that the venue supports or you do – reach out to them, introduce yourself (not in person) and make yourself known. It will all get back going again in time. That’s the serious thing finished!
17) Design new merch!
Worth while doing if you don't currently have any ‘merch’ . If your not a designer then don't worry, there are plenty of people out there who are...but where can I find them? Try a website like FIVERR https://www.fiverr.com/There are 100’s of designers etc. from around the world just waiting for you. Good merch at your shows will help raise your band profile and your band finances – and its also cool seeing someone wear your logo – unless your band happens to be called COVID-19.
18) Create a band website.
Why not, ‘just do it’ (perhaps don't use that phrase!) If your band doesn't have a website, then create one – seriously why not. We know most bands use facebook/instagram to promote and that's great but you can also have a website. WIX https://www.wix.com/for example is just one site of many. Its free and simple to use. Try it, just drag and drop format.. go live to the world – or at least 'as far as Leamington Spa!' (if stuck for lyrics you can use that. See 1)
19) Set up a facebook or instagram account.
If, as a band, you don’t have one then think about setting one up, or both. Its a great way to promote your band. It doesn't need to be complicated and is a good medium to interact with your followers or find new ‘friends’. If your not sure how to set up an account Youtube it or better still..‘ask the kids’ ..you know they are those ‘strangers’ that you are now finding scattered about your house! Social distancing 2m apart of course.
20) Do a ‘live stream’.
Everyone else is!! Try and do something different if possible. Maybe do a live ‘Q&A’ session with your fans, maybe ‘Auction a Song’ or 'Merch' (See 17) proceeds/donation to NHS or charity of your choice, maybe a free song lesson – perhaps an instructional video - show all your fans/followers how to ‘butcher’ one of your favourite songs (perhaps the one you've just written. See 1) or maybe just sing/play a few tunes.
21) Learn how to intonate your guitar properly.
‘In to what’? Intonate ie: why does my guitar sound in tune and the far end and way out of tune at the ‘dusty’ end. Well that might be because your playing a Teisco (not Tesco) guitar from the 1960’s...or more likely the saddles are not quite aligned correctly – basically (with a tuner) its all about the harmonic note v fretted note at the 12th fret – wow that’s our knowledge base exhausted see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muDCsdgM0Q4
22) Learn how to do Truss rod neck adjustment properly.
As above you may also want to adjust the truss rod to get proper bow/relief on your guitar neck, check out video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAg6Kvbr_OU
23) Learn every single scale known.
Errrr, we'd rather not! Leave that to the professionals, far too dangerous for the likes of us!
24) Research ‘new’ gear you’ll be buying as a treat when this is over!
This is the most important point of all and is duly saved for last!You’ve been in isolation, you’ve been at home, you’ve finished doing all the DIY you can, the garden (if you have one) has never looked better – its now time for you to stand up, be counted, play your part – BUY NEW GEAR!
You deserve it, the retail outlets deserve it, the band wont deserve it but will get it anyway and most of all the wife (boyfriend/partner/significant other) DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT! So do all the research now and look forward to the new arrival in the not too distant future. :)
25) Keep safe and stay well.
This of course is a very light hearted list of things that you could do/can be doing in the light of the current Covid 19 events.
Above all else, everyone here at www.mybandyourband.co.uk hope that you and your family are well and that you stay safe and healthy.