Music business and lockdown—has the industry gone digital?
Crises and strong emotions are part of the human experience. Love, success, connection, and belonging inspire us. Heartbreak, worry, self-doubt, or the seemingly never-ending pandemic, for example, can plunge us into deep emotional despair. At the same time, however, these are great opportunities for us as musicians to deal with our emotions. In this article I'll show you how you can navigate your emotional chaos and channel those feelings into a source of inspiration.
Music is its own multilayered, emotional language. It is born from certain feelings, and also has the power to move listeners emotionally. With the help of music, complex entanglements which we may not fully understand ourselves can be translated into sound and words. This creates thematic spaces that allow us (and possibly others too) to access the world of our emotions. You have probably already noticed that listening to music from a certain artist or genre can have a direct impact on your mood.
Several big albums have already emerged from the personal crises of various artists. The rapper and singer Kid Cudi, for example, suffered from anxiety and severe depression for many years. In order to process his feelings, he addressed them in his album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. The album received very positive reviews and substantially helped the artist with his depression.
Another example is the singer Beyoncé. After her husband, the rapper Jay-Z, cheated on her, she vented her feelings on her album Lemonade. The album has been called Beyoncé's greatest work, as it was also emancipatory and politically significant. True to the motto “when life gives you lemons,” Beyoncé knew how to transform her emotions into music and to use the crisis as an opportunity for her musical development and career.
So if you are stuck in your own emotions right now and want to know how to make “lemonade” from them, you’re in the right spot! I have prepared a step-by-step guide that will help you convert your emotions into music. Ready to learn how? Then let's get started right away.
The first step is to create a safe framework for the duration of your exercise (or rather, practice sessions). This enables you to deal with your feelings in a positive and not overwhelming way, so that you are really able to devote yourself to your work. A protected framework means that you have enough time and energy to deal with your project.
It is also important to do this exercise(s) in a comfortable and undisturbed place. If that still sounds a bit abstract, see if you can make some time for it—maybe tonight at home. If not, find another time slot as soon as possible.
The second step is to give yourself permission to allow and perceive your feelings within your protected framework. You can imagine a kind of internal switch for this, which you can turn on and off again for the duration of the exercise unit. As soon as you flick on your inner switch, you begin to perceive your emotions. There are numerous methods of doing this. For example, you can practice being mindful: Try to focus on where and how the feeling is being expressed in your body. You can listen to music that accurately reflects your mood. And as soon as you feel ready you can start creating something out of your feelings.
In step three it’s time to express your feelings. This can mean, for example, that you verbalize your thoughts and feelings. Whether in writing on a piece of paper or verbally in front of you is up to you— nothing’s off-limits. Of course, there are many more ways of expressing yourself that you can also use (for example, singing, playing your instrument, painting, drawing, dancing, body movements, and much more). Your ideas may be musical, but they certainly don’t have to be.
Make sure you have your smartphone ready so that you can record and save everything you produce. And definitely say goodbye to all perfectionism. It's not about creating a masterpiece on the first draft. First just let your emotions out, unfiltered and unchanged. The finishing touches will come later!
In the fourth step you start to collect every idea that you have produced up to this point. It is therefore advisable to physically record as much as possible on paper. In addition, it is of course also possible to create a folder on your computer for virtual content. However, every file in this folder should also have a physical equivalent in a physical box, as computers have a tendency to distract.
Once you’ve organized your own ideas and put them in the box (or in the folder on your computer), you can see what other works of art or information are available on your topic. Here, too, you have the freedom to choose whether you concentrate only on artists from the music scene or do comprehensive research. The only important thing is to only select content that interests and inspires you. Whatever meets these criteria, you can collect and also put in the box and/or in your folder. And when you lose interest, it's time for step five.
In the fifth step you let all the ideas you have gathered rest and indulge in an activity that simply lets you relax and daydream. After all, dealing with your own feelings is exhausting. Now your subconscious has the opportunity to sort and connect all the information. These connections are unique combinations which form original ideas that you then simply need to “receive.” Make sure you have a notepad or your smartphone ready for this step.
The last step is to combine the best of the ideas and inspirations into a coherent whole. So if you already have ideas for sound sequences or lyric passages, you can carry them out now and fill in all the gaps. Then you can start working on the subtleties. The best compass here is your gut instinct—it will indicate whether or not what you are expressing is a true reflection of what you internally want to communicate.
Depending on the individual depth of your emotions, this process may take a long time. It is also possible that the individual steps happen in a different order or that you are in different phases for the various elements of your creation. That’s all perfectly fine. Just work with your own time and energy resources. In the end, it's about your emotions gradually transforming into an original musical work. I wish you a lot of fun and success in your project.
If you have difficulties coping with your crisis on your own, I can support you as a coach and hypnotherapist. Have a look at my offer here.
If you would like to join forces with other musicians in your area for a joint project or for a band, register here on our mukken portal.
Originally published on December 15, 2021, updated on December 19, 2021