We’re currently living in very strange times and with many of us now spending our days at home, it’s easy to feel like you can’t operate on the same creative level, but there are plenty of ways to overcome this.
Each day, more of us are transforming our homes into our offices, our studios, our classrooms, but as creative beings, we thrive on soaking up the world around us and channeling that inspiration into the work we create, which is a much trickier proposition when you're self isolating.
Though it's a time of great uncertainty, we have seen the world come together, spreading positivity in a unique number of ways in the face of social distancing. We wanted to highlight some of those things, but also talk about the many ways you can make the situation work for you and also bring some much needed positivity to those around you.
1. Download some free stuff
Apps & Software
Moog’s Minimoog Model D iOS app and Korg’s iKaossilator are free for a limited time to download to help musicians who are now self-quarantining or working from home. You can download them both using the links below:
Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular Nucleus has been made free for the foreseeable future. It’s a complete modular synthesiser package that includes 22 modules and 130 presets to dive into. You can redeem your copy using the link below.
dBs Insider: Free Software Friday
Don't forget, we here at dBs Music are big fans of free software, so much so that we've got a whole section of the blog dedicated to it! Whether you're keen to try out a new plugin or venture into the world of game audio (most of the software for building a game is free!) then we've got you covered. Check out our archive here.
Avid recently announced that from 16th March through to 17th April it would be making 90-day licenses available for free to help those affected to complete their projects whilst working remotely. These licenses cover Media Composer | Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools | Ultimate, and Sibelius | Ultimate.
There are restrictions involved with this, where anyone trying to redeem this free license will need to prove that their company or educational institute has an active license for the respective software. You can find the instructions for how to redeem a free license here.
Ableton is also following a similar path and has reset it’s 30-day trial, so anyone who has already had a trial can get a new one. Should the situation call for it, there’s also the possibility that the time for the trial will be extended.
If your work involves using Adobe’s Creative Suite, you are now able to get two months of Creative Cloud for free. This promotion was previously only available to students, but has now been opened to every current subscriber. To find out the steps needed to redeem this offer, head here.
2. Take advantage of your restrictions
In the many years that we’ve been teaching music production and speaking with professionals across the industry and one common thread always appears: creativity is impeded by too much choice.
While it’s fantastic to have a plethora of creative options in the studio, sometimes the many paths you can take completely ruins your flow and you barely achieve anything.
With most of us unable to boast a robust home studio setup, now is a great time to use those restrictions to your advantage. With fewer things to choose from, you can instead put all your time into creating music. You may have to also limit the plugins you’re going to use as we’re all guilty of hoarding those!
3. Interact with your community in new ways
Across the globe we’ve already seen how people have adapted to social distancing. In Italy, people have been singing together from apartment balconies, performing DJ sets and creating improvised laser shows using Max/MSP.
Musicians and teachers have also offered their services through online classes to help those who are now based at home, and with the limitless reach of the internet, there’s no reason why you can’t do something similar.
This can be anything from live streaming a performance on Twitch, Facebook or Instagram, teaching people through Skype or starting collaborative projects across the world. If you've never tried it, BandLab is a free all-in-one cloud-based music collaboration platform where you can bring projects to life with people thousands of miles away.
4. Learn a new skill
In the last 10 years, YouTube has become the unofficial home of learning pretty much anything you want to know, so if you’ve been putting off expanding your skills, now is the perfect time.
The dBs Music YouTube channel has a backlog of video masterclasses from visual artists, DJs, producers and sound designers that you can watch right now, and there are several more in the pipeline.
There’s no reason why you can’t learn new skills that have nothing to do with music either. Watch some TED talks, delve into some design tutorials or learn how to fix some things around the house. Keeping your mind stimulated and achieving new things will make all the difference right now.
5. Take care of yourself
Although the last point on our list, taking care of yourself, your wellbeing and mental health is paramount. It’s something that a lot of us put off because we tell ourselves that we don’t have time, but if you’re stuck at home you’ve probably got some extra time on your hands, so put it to good use.
Apps like Headspace and Calm are a fantastic way of introducing meditation into your daily life and can be tailored to target the areas you feel need the most attention. The full versions do require you to sign up to paid subscription plans, but you can sample most features before committing to see what works best for you. You can also read our article with Rock-up Ready and discover some techniques to help improve your mental health.
If you have the space, start doing some exercises at home. There are plenty of articles online about suitable routines for living rooms spaces that you can use to get started. Once you’ve found something that works for you, do it when you would normally be heading out for work or school. Establishing a routine is really important to maintaining a healthy mindset, and when it’s combined with exercise, it’s even better.
Make sure to take regular breaks, too. Whether you’re usually based in an office environment, studio or are a student, you forget how many mini breaks you take throughout the day, and it’s important to maintain that when you’re at home. Get up and stretch your legs and allow your eyes and mind to take a break.
All of this directly feeds into your creativity, and when you can’t get out of the house to clear your mind when frustration or creative block sets in, these techniques can be a real saving grace.
Further reading about self care:
Coronavirus and your wellbeing
Five ways to stay positive and healthy during social isolation
Above all else, it's important to remain safe. If you're going a little bit stir-crazy from being stuck at home, you can check out this guide to social distancing, as at the time of writing, there's no restrictions on certain outdoor activities here in the UK.
So get learning, start creating and share those good vibes with the people around you!