Updated: Aug 18, 2020
We’ve lost the live concerts that united fans as they gathered into the crowded trains heading into Sydney’s center. We’ve lost the festivals that would entertain audiences with emerging musicians and their unique sounds. We’ve even lost the live restaurant gigs, the buskers and the local live shows that gave the little corners of Newcastle the beautiful atmosphere and unique culture we’ve developed.
Without this broad exposure to new sounds and musical environments, it’s easy to get stuck listening to the same old CD’s that your Dad had when he was your age or to pick up your instrument, play 5 minutes of the same tune you’ve been doing the past month, get bored and put it back down. This is a struggle that can be felt all throughout Newcastle and the wider world at the moment.
It doesn’t have to be so.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before, but we live in an age of unprecedented opportunity. Even while being stuck within the physical confines of your house, we have unlimited opportunity to experience the words, the sounds and the ideas of people from every stretch of the world. Artists are able to publish and perform their music in so many intuitive new ways. Whether it’s musicians releasing EP’s, singles or albums onto Spotify, local artists streaming originals onto facebook and providing online lessons or music enthusiasts posting youtube videos to provide you with new concepts and musical techniques, there are so many avenues for aspiring musicians of all levels to learn something new.
This is where it comes back to you.
With all of the musical information out there to be accesed by everyone, now is a perfect opportunity to expand your repertoire, to improve your musicianship, to experience a whole new kind of music or to learn a new instrument.
Experiencing new styles of music
With the continuous advancements in music streaming platforms, which we can’t talk about without mentioning Spotify, people can be exposed to so many new artists and sounds that they wouldn’t have previously thought twice about.
Now instead of listening to that old CD or favourite playlist for the hundreth time in the last month, I challenge you to pick an artist from a whole new genre and dedicate an hour to listen to a whole album of theirs. If you don’t know where to start here’s a popular artist from some varying genres:
Blues rock - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Jazz - Miles Davis
Rock - The Beatles
Grunge/post-grunge - Foo Fighters
Reggae - Bob Marley
Classical - Stravinsky, the rite of spring
Funk - Vulfpeck
Folk - Simon and Garfunkel
Metal - Black Sabbath
It’s not just internationally renouned artists that we can look into but many local artists are turning to streaming such as Spotify to release their own music amongst this financially difficult time.
Just streaming their music and spreading the word can mean so much to them. Here’s some of the local musicians who have released music on Spotify:
Paris Grace; Oceans carry me home
Cooks and Bakers; Don’t hold your breath
Midnight Movers; Midnight Movers
Bluetide; Like it on this Side
Ryan Hemsworth; Husky
Rachel Cox; Untidy lines
The Viper Creek Band; The beautiful destination
Aaron White and the Passengers; Aaron White and the Passengers
James Reynold; Goodbye Hobart
The Royal Coats; Rain
India and the Journey to the East; Sunshine
SHRIMP; Berlin / Son of a Gun
Austin Mackay; Back to Me
Two Knives; Two Knives
Honey Hills; For What it’s worth
Midway; Beach Girl
Jesse Morrison; Standards
Now once you’ve got your head playing these new songs non-stop. I challenge you to take it another step further. Learn a new scale or new lic from your freshly learnt genre and incorporate it into your own improvisation. If you want to keep improving in these newfound areas, talk to one of our National Music Academy tutors who are trained and have performing experience in vast arrays of different styles, sounds and techniques. Challenge your friends to do the same and you might come out of isolation jamming away to some Stevie Ray style blues instead of your usual hard rock or pop.
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Improve your musicianship
It’s not just artist's music and sounds that are there for you to discover. Numerous musical enthusiasts and teachers are portraying their ideas and tips throughout social media platforms such as Youtube.
These muscians can give you a second perspective and further understanding beyond what you have already accustomed to. Just by subjecting yourself to new ideas, musical beliefs and tastes, a musician can unlock new skills and abilities that they had never originally contemplated.
It’s not just your repertoire and instrumental skills that can be improved by such learning. Now would be a perfect opportunity to learn and study the instruments that you play. If you’re a new electric guitarist, you could learn how to finally utilise that amp that you’ve had on the same setting since you bought it and if you own a piano, you’d thank yourself down the track by learning the proper maintenence that should be done to your instrument. These small contributions that you can make to your equipment now, no matter what instrument you play, can make all the difference in deliving a crisp intuitive sound with your instrument when you and the world are ready for you to busk or perform.
Here’s some youtube channels that have inspired many muscians learn such things are:
Paul Davids - introducing beautiful sounding mellow lics and at home music production techniques, any guitarist should check him out
12tone - Demonstating all the wonderful things musical theory can reveal in a way that can appeal to musicians just grasping the first concepts as well as trained and experienced musicians introducing themselves to new concepts
Holistic Songwriting - Showing an expertise in songwriting and musicology, this channel can be great for anyone looking at improving their songwriting, musicology or preparing for music listening exam
Drumeo - With clear expertise in musical theory of the drums, this channel is perfect for any drummers looking at building their repertoire and theoretical understanding
Now it’s time for you to expand your repertoire
While being stuck inside with little to do musically in the outer world, now is the perfect time to look at our own music and performances and see what we can expand on. Whether this is our sets, our instruments or our original music, you can come out of this isolation with a whole new skillrange and outlook towards performing music.
Build upon your performance sets with songs from new genres or try your hand at writing a song with an influence from something new, even just try throwing in a few fresh bluesy riffs to your next solo or some syncopation to your rhythm. Maybe even try learning some vocals to integrate with your instruments, which you can pursue with tailored tutoring lessons. These small changes can add a whole lot of entertainment to your music practice and even more interest to your live performances as you get new crowds on their feet dancing to your inspired sounds.
So next time you look to play that same playlist or go to watch a youtube video in a semi-present state, try something new and grow your own musical talent. Make something of this isolation and come out with something extraordinary.