While we’ve done a good job flattening the curve here in Chicagoland, we need to remain vigilant in keeping Covid at bay. Staying at home can be a challenge, so I’ve solicited Quarantine Survival Tips from a few Chicago-based musicians to help you through the tempête de merde.
Did they miss anything? Put your best quarantine tip in the comments.
TRACI TROUBLE (Aweful)
1. Always have some kind of creative project to work on. I’ve written several songs and edited music videos for myself or for my band AWEFUL.
2. Take a walk everyday. I walk at least 4 miles a day.
3. Get a record player if you don’t have one and buy records.
4. Have fun pairing wines with different meals.
5. If you don’t have any pets, get some. You’ll always be loved and you’ll never be lonely.
DAN KONOPKA (OK Go)
As a father of 3 under the age of 10 years old, covid-quarantine is really about time management.
Never in my life have I used the timer in my iPhone more than I do now. Everything the kids want to do is timed carefully for fairness.
10 minutes on the PS4 per kid. 20 minutes for the slip’n slide. 15 minutes each on the newly converted trampoline, the “Dad built it with the gardenhose water park trampoline”.
So essentially, on the long hot summer weekends, you have to have plenty of outdoor fun activities and some way to make sure everyone has a good time staying put at home.
TIM KOELLING (High Hat Second Line, Elephant Gun, Pink Monkey, Band Called Catch)
Like all working musicians, when reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit home I was at a loss for how to fill a once busy schedule. My nights and weekends are typically filled with bar gigs and weddings. The summer of 2020 had promised a few regional tours and planned recording sessions. With the slate wiped clean I resolved to keep busy and musically active to keep my sanity.
When the pandemic was new, a few of my bands recorded remote sessions (see Mike Maimone video above), but those opportunities soon waned. I acted on something I had resolved to do more since college, PRACTICE. With my day job relocated to home, I no longer lost an hour of my day to commuting, so I pulled out my old method books and etudes from High-School and College when I spent my nights and evenings completely committed to improving as a saxophonist. Scales, classical repertoire, jazz transcriptions are now my nightly homework.
I have also been honing my skills in a long forgotten passion: video production. When time permits I make YouTube videos featuring improvised songs or featuring Saxophone gear I have acquired over the years.
DAVID WECHSLER (Tyranny of Dave)
Quarantine tips and tricks for musicians and others:
1. Find sample sets of obscure instruments and then use them immediately in whatever project was open when you got so bored that you started looking online for sample sets of obscure instruments.
2. Every day take some time out to think about how you probably should have done more that day.
3. Remember that as a musician, you probably didn’t have much income anyway. When things start back up again you’ll be back where you were financially in no time whereas people with actual jobs will take a lot longer to get back up to speed.
4. Stocks are completely divorced from reality so play the market, fat cat.
5. Time is your friend/enemy. In either case, abuse it mercilessly.
6. This is the perfect time to collaborate remotely with musicians whose work you respect but you can’t stand being around.
7. Why not take this time to learn how to use all of those plug-ins you unwisely downloaded and clogged up your computer with?
8. Why not take this time to delete all those plug-ins you unwisely downloaded and clogged up your computer with?
9. Think about how much of music has been created by/for people on drugs. What else are you doing today?
10. When biking around Chicago in the late summer wearing a mask, you eat a lot fewer bugs. (This can be either good or bad depending on your food budget.)