Of course we should.
It’s a no-brainer. All the time we have on our hands.
Upskill. Practice our instrument. Learn how to market ourselves better, to reach our audiences in different ways. Write more music. Expand our network. Form new creative partnerships.
All examples of ways in which we can retrain ourselves, ways in which we can add to our ability and output as a musician in these most quiet of times.
But let me be clear – if we are being told we should retrain and find work in another industry, as seems to have been suggested recently by a minister in our government – then I don’t find that acceptable.
To be fair to the minister, there is no mention of musicians anywhere in this particular speech, but many musicians have been upset by it, because it seems we are part of the group of people to whom she is referring. And I haven’t heard of any other professionals being told they should find a new career.
But it is disappointing to see politicians use successes in the arts to champion our country, yet offer us very little in terms of guidance/assistance/support when we can’t do our jobs in the normal way any more.
So what can we do, in the face of governmental indifference or worse? I wrote this three months ago – most of it still applies. It may help. Gigs will come back, and I believe each of us should want to be in the best shape possible to play them when they do, because people will want more than ever the joy we can bring to their lives.
But right now, I think that the best way out of this for us is to use the time to produce amazing work. Something better than what we have done before. Don’t focus on what we can’t do – it will get us down. Don’t wait for others to help us. Instead help ourselves. Use the time we have. Work hard. Learn. Write. Create. It’s what we do best, and it’s the most effective way to answer anyone who thinks that what we do isn’t important.