How to make the most of the COVID-19 Lockdown period as a gospel musician
In this article, I shall be addressing both Singers and Instrumentalists as Musicians. Sometimes people tend to focus more on the vocalist than the instrumentalist when the word is used.
The Lockdown is really not a pleasant period, and I am sure you’re getting fed up with staying indoors already. But hey, we must try and see this from a different perspective this time as a musician. Let see how we can make the most of this period and make it fun. Shall we.
1.Practice Practice Practice
Most Gospel Musicians as would any ordinary person within the working class, are also caught up in the rush and stress cycle of the everyday life which culminates into the inability to fully get the time to work on their gifts and talents. This is the period for personal rehearsals.
There are many musicians especially the emerging ones who wish to master the technicalities in a particular ‘difficult’ song for close to a year now, or wants to sound a particular way because you feel your notes are not precise enough or you could sound better if you had the time to work a little bit on yourself.
Well, this is a good period to practice, practice and practice some more. You know what, it’s time to get the vocal exercise rolling morning, noon and evening if you really care about your ministry at all. For the mature ones who were booked all year round for worship event and more, I think this rather a good time to give your vocals a little break and strengthen through vocal exercise. I can assure you, the TV series on Netflix will confuse you, but you don’t have to spend the whole period Netflixing.
These are few tips to help jumpstart you into making good use of the time practising:
- Regular Aerobics first thing after your devotion in the morning.
- Get your favourite Vocal exercise and try new ones – this is the fun part. (You can find tons of these on YouTube).
- Try Riffs and Runs etc. from some of the best in the industry by breaking these notes down into a smaller unit. This will help you understand different notes and how they can be applied in different situations.
- Have the time to really learn ‘difficult’ songs and pay attention to every dynamics.
- If you can, sign unto an online music school or read more (if you are the reading type). This will help you understand music in general.
- Learn something unique about other genres of music to understand the elements and composition, say Salsa and see how some of these elements can apply to your gospel genre (These can be very helpful especially for an instrumentalist)
2. Write New Songs
Gospel Music is a Holy Spirit inspired genre of music. Pay attention to His leading in your spirit man, for instance, you humming especially during times of prayer/worship and after prayer. What you may be led to work on may not necessarily be related to the times we are in, still, prayerfully work on it and see how far you can go with it. Again no rush.
Also, I will advise you to pick the old pieces in your diary and continue to work on them. With dedication and prayer and the help of the Spirit by the time lockdown is over, you might have worked on a song or two.
3. Keep Engaging with your fans on Social Media
Most people are homesick already and I bet you, getting creative on your part can push you up in their minds. What do I mean by that? For instance, if you can play an instrument as a singer and you have an instrument easily accessible to you without crossing boundaries, what you can do here is to video record yourself doing some of your favourite but very common songs and post it on social media. Imagine doing an acoustic version of public domain Twi worship medleys. They will love it.
If you cannot play an instrument, all hope is not lost here. Make your followers fall in love with whatever you have available and make it appealing. Example, getting up early in the morning and either video record or doing live social feed of yourself doing vocals, worshipping or even doing devotional live. Do this regularly to keep your followers engaged.
4. Increase your Music Library (Listen Wide)
Having a limited library of gospel music, album or gospel artists can only limit your creativity and growth of your talent. This is the right moment to listen wide. There is an ocean of gospel music out there, move out of your circle, listen to lots of gospel albums, fish out more gospel artists into your favourite library and read more about them.
Listen to gospel music from different gospel music sub-genres. Chase after songs and gospel artists whose names you’ve never heard of. Watch live album recordings, pay attention to stagecraft, composure on stage etc.
You can set a target for yourself. For instance to listen to 50 albums before the lockdown is over.
The best way to get new music is via the follow platforms.
- Spotify (1000s of gospel albums and gospel songs at your disposal once sign-on)
- iTunes ($5 a month, you have 3 Months free and can cancel anytime)
- YouTube Music
- Gospel music related website like WorshippersGh.com
5. Pray, Pray and Pray
Well, last but definitely not the least is to find time to pray especially for your ministry. Ask God for divine direction. Sometimes the reason for hitting a dead-end in ministry is not because of other people but ourselves. When you failed to inquire of God for a divine direction, we fail to make an impact. Set aside these few days and pray for your music ministry and stay in tuned with the heavens.