For the past year of all things 2020, we have been living on borrowed time. Some of us have found ourselves with a whole lot more hours in the day than we’ve been graced with in previous years. You may have witnessed your friends’ new projects, hobbies and undertakings, but have you been one of those doing the opposite, simply trying to maintain some normalcy while those keys have been collecting a little dust?
Now that things appear to be shifting, perhaps you’re ready to get back in gear and bring your music back to life. How does one dust off an untouched arena made up of decades of practice, patience and performance perseverance? Sometimes it’s even harder to come back to a sense of sanity when it can feel like you’ve fallen from great heights.
So, once we’ve diagnosed the problem and accepted the fact that we’ve fallen a little behind and our musical chops are just the slightest bit rusty - the good news is that now the only thing standing in our way is the mechanisms of exactly why, what and how to get back on track.
Prior to even attempting to get your groove back, the most important step, which is often the most overlooked, is re-igniting what made you fall for the art form in the first place. Allow yourself to fall back in love with what music means to you. If you’re cooped up at home, spend an afternoon getting lost in your vinyls, or go down the rabbit hole of musician interviews that YouTube has catalogued throughout the years. There’s so much goodness to soak up. You may be surprised at just how effective stumbling upon one moment of genius and clarity within another’s work and/or their perspective on their work.
Before we continue further down the list of ways to reawaken your sonic spirit, it’s most wise to start small. Get back to the basics. Spend an entire afternoon doodling around or staying strict with scales. Do what feels like you’re getting a tune up and a warm up. This will differentiate with everyone. Create a productive environment around you. This should be done as often as possible, but especially when you’ve lost your creative way. Sometimes reawakening it can take a fair amount of focus. Minimize your distractions and stick to the plan.
Embrace some form of accountability. This can be your significant other, a friend, a band member, your social media followers - even yourself. Promise to really put that time and effort in. Accept that we’ll always be too busy with too much to do. Make time to fiddle around with your instrument.
In technical terms, one sure fire way to kick start reviving your creativity is to keep the necessary tools readily available and plugged in. Would a painter leave their brushes up in the attic, making it so troublesome to dig them out every time that inspiration strikes? Treat your microphones, cables and beyond as such. Keep them at bay, tuned up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
One incredible factor that we all must keep in mind is that, if you listen closely, all legends, both unknown and world famous, have had hiccups throughout their creative journey. This is simply part of the process. Don’t be too hard on yourself and ease back into playing at your own pace.