To say that the times we’re currently living in are strange would be an understatement. Like many of you, we’re navigating the coronavirus outbreak as best as we can. Before we knew it, things we may have taken for granted became more difficult to accomplish, obtain, or deal with. We know it’s important to stay healthy and do what we can to stay safe and help others but it can be hard to shake the feeling of darkness that this “new normal” can bring. Thankfully, as musicians, we can lean on our instruments to help us through the tough times.
In the weeks since the “shelter-in-place” orders started, we’ve been considering ways that we can help our fellow musicians during these times. The music doesn’t have to stop and, in our opinion, is more important now than ever before.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Music is an intensely therapeutic art form. It involves many senses from the obvious (touch and sight) to the unexpected (smell). It exercises the mind, body, and soul. Music can be used to convey emotions and express feelings that are otherwise kept hidden. The guitar doesn’t talk back, put us down or belittle us. When we feel intense emotions come on, we turn to our guitars.
With the end of social isolation seeming to be further away than we’d like, we want to encourage you to turn to your guitar more than ever. Do you have a practice routine for yourself that you could only previously do on weekends? Find a way to re-work your practice routine into a program you can do several times a week. Seek to challenge yourself as a musician: learn your favorite David Gilmour solo, transcribe some jazz licks, maybe even write a song! These challenges will take your mind off of what’s going on in the world. Don’t let the darkness keep you from what gives you light. And maybe take a moment to consider how you can share this light with others around you.
Sharing Is Caring
Music is for everyone. However, we sometimes guard our connection to music because of what it has done for and means to us. We can be afraid to share the joy and sometimes it creates rifts and conflict within our lives. And the chances of this can only increase now that we are spending more time around our families. But we think the time is right for letting our loved ones in on our passion and exposing them to what music means to us.
The next time your child comes around while you’re trying to get some practice in, don’t make them leave the room. Instead, let them hang out and listen. Let them ask questions and maybe even consider playing a song for them. If they ask you what a piece of equipment is, show them what it is or what it does. You might find that this gradual exposure results in them listening to the music you love or even taking up an interest in learning to play an instrument themselves.
The point is this: don’t force these things. Don’t get angry. Don’t make others feel that the exposure is a burden on your relationship with them. Expose them naturally and involve them. You may be surprised to find that it results in your joy spreading to them.
One Day At a Time
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that this situation is only temporary. Don’t look at time so far ahead. Be present, be in the moment. Enjoy the newfound time you can spend with your family. Take a moment to text, call or video chat with those you haven’t been in touch with for some time. Embrace the isolation with your guitars in hand and devote time to it. Show your favorite YouTubers, bands, and musicians support as they continue to produce music and content for you.
And finally, bring more positivity to the guitar community. Too often, our little community is its own worst enemy. Now is the time to build each other up and encourage our growth as musicians. Be kind to the beginners, back up the veterans and be the best version of yourself you’ve ever been.
With all of this in mind, we will be doing our best to live this creed. We’re going to do everything we can to give back to the instrument that has meant so much to us. Part of that will be filling this blog with articles, entertainment and wisdom to help you become the best guitarist you can.
Until then: stay safe, stay healthy and go play your guitar!
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Whether you are starting from scratch or re-working the order and layout, building pedalboards is a regular part of life for the gigging guitarist. Sometimes these building sessions can be filled with a lot of frustration. In this article, we’ll offer up our favorite tips to ensure that your next pedalboard building session goes off without a hitch. Most of these tips assume that you already have a pedalboard and several pedals…if you want some more tips on starting from scratch, let us know in the comments section. Here we go…