True School founder Ashu Phatak shares his opinion about the present situation and the steps musicians can take for a better future.
“I’m a musician – what now?”
Hi, I’m Ashu, co-founder of the True School of Music. A few musicians and parents of our students had approached me for advice on ‘What to do NOW?’. Here’s my take…
STAY IN THE PRESENT
Don’t dwell in the past.
The future is unknown, tough to predict – it’s way too early to commit to forecasting.
Think only of the now.
PUT YOURSELF IN EVERYONE ELSE’S SHOES AND THINK
1 What are people thinking “right now”?
2 What are people doing “ right now”?
3 How are we communicating “right now”?
4 How are we connecting “right now”?
5 What are people needing “right now”?
Most people are in confined spaces.
Most people are introspecting.
Most people are relooking at their relationships.
Many are reassessing their pre COVID lives.
Many are getting to know themselves better.
Many are looking to make themselves better.
Some people are scared….A few people are excited….
PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR GENUINE THOUGHTS AND CONNECTIONS TO HELP THEM GET THROUGH THIS
SO ARTISTS, We need to think of our careers in 3 ways:
1 OURSELVES: What do we do for ourselves at this time?
A) Physically –
Confined in our spaces, we don’t have a choice but to notice our bodies and how it makes us feel. Even if you exercise out of boredom, you realize the positive impact it has on your being as a whole. It’s unbelievable how connected physical fitness is to creativity. So in a sense when you’re working on your body, you’re working on your career.
B) Mentally –
Our minds tend to go wild in uncertain times. Racing with crazy thoughts, fear and anxiety. Thinking about how our lives used to be, and trying to imagine what our lives will be. Both are quite futile as you can’t do anything about the past and you definitely can’t predict the future so it’s never been more important to focus on the “NOW”! Meditation helps to calm the mind and give it focus and honestly anyone can do it. If that’s not your thing there are many ways of de-stressing and focusing your mind. Practising your craft is pure meditation! It will have a double effect of calming your mind and increasing your skill – which in turn means you’re working on your career!
C) Vocationally –
THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO UPSKILL! You will never get a situation where the whole world is on a break! (Hopefully never again!) So since your normal daily routine has come to a halt, GO LEARN! Learn whatever you wanted to, and didn’t get a chance to before. Grow yourself as an artist, a creator, or even a businessperson. Anything that you felt you lacked and had to depend on other people for, this is your time to learn that. If you’re a singer depending on a composer to compose or an engineer to record, learn to compose and record from home! Even if the world is changing drastically, by learning how things were done in the past, you could figure out how it could be done in the future. So whatever you do to enhance your abilities, you’re 100% working on your career.
2 EVERYONE ELSE: What do we do for others at this time?
Actually putting the needs of others before yourself can have a tremendous positive impact in your life at this time. When you really think of others and their needs, you might come up with genuine solutions for them. A true fan has a genuine connection with the artist because the artist’s music resonates with their soul. This is a 2-way process. If you spend your time giving back and helping others, you are seeding the pathway that could be used for your profession in the future.
It’s physical distancing time and not social distancing time. Stay connected to all your friends and fans by finding meaningful ways of interacting beyond memes and jokes. At this point in time, we are all exploring, in some way or the other, what it means to be human. Since we are all living much simpler lives, we can actually connect on more meaningful things – things that matter at the core of who we are. This is an extremely fertile ground for creativity and collaboration. This is where we explore the truth of humanity and the art that comes out of this will be eternal and not transient.
The artist fraternity can really lean on each other as well as learn from each other. There are things that you do well – TEACH THEM. Imparting knowledge will not only give you immediate income but also strengthen the bonds of the community and raise the standard of artistic expression. Since everyone is in the same boat we should look to complement each other rather than compete with each other. This is an opportunity to create new scenes and new collectives – (all lounge piano players come together to create a virtual lounge where you can take requests at dinnertime – start as a free service if the collective manages to create true value for those tuning in, they could eventually start earning from it.)
3 OUR LIVELIHOOD: What do we do for work at this time?
Simply put: what you do for 1 & 2 is going to define your 3 in the future.
PRACTICAL AND POSITIVE THINKING:
A) Think about your window of survival in the present
Currently don’t think longer than 1-3 months. If I can survive for 3 months work on 1 and 2 and hopefully, that window of survival will start increasing.
B) Think about the fact that EVERYONE is in the same boat!
Draw strength from that. It’s become a level playing field in many respects and again what you do for yourself and the community today could put you in demand as the new era unfolds.
C) Think about the meaning and relevance your work carries at this moment.
If you can’t find justifiable answers, then work on 1 & 2 till you do. And only YOU will know when the significance of your work arrives.
WILL THE ACTIONS WE TAKE IN 1 & 2 GET US REVENUE TODAY?
At the best – yes, at the worst, it will help define your livelihood in the next era.
~ The future is going to be molded by our present actions.
~ Some random things done today might become the standard for the future.
~ What resonates with Humanity today in this moment of weakness could be the foundation of prosperity for the future.
These are genuinely difficult times and all people are hurting in various degrees just like you.
In times of need, people look for genuineness and truth for solace. So if you find a way of reaching people with genuineness and truth, that just might become the distribution and revenue model for the future.
With the same lens, if the content you put out NOW resonates with people today, this just might be the best route to discovery and future security.
So the most important thing to think about is “The Now”!
The future is going to be molded by what we do NOW!