The musicians' guide: coping with COVID-19

Posted on 17th March 2020

We have regretfully taken the decision that all on-site teaching and learning activities at WaterBear will be postponed until further notice.  

We have taken this necessary step in order to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus and do our best to keep all students and staff safe and well.

Teaching and learning activities will continue until the end of term but have been adapted to carry on in a fully digital format.


We are living in unprecedented times. Live Nation’s stock is in a tailspin and music professionals have lost gigs, tours and event work.

Despite the ever-increasing difficulties, I want to reassure you that all is not lost. There is help out there.

Right now, you need to figure out how you will react to the situation.

Do you wallow?

Do you keep on keeping on?

If you have picked the latter, read on.

The Arts Council

Ok, so you’ve lost income and feigning optimism is not a solution to paying the rent. Luckily, there is help out there.

On March 16th the Arts Council announced an action plan to help the UK's cultural sector survive COVID-19.  Grant money is going to be refocused to support freelance artists and institutions.

Full details will be announced over the next 10 days. Keep an eye on the grant as this compensation can help you weather the storm. For further details, check this link.

Re-evaluate your income streams

There are many ways to be innovative in the music industry, and some touring bands are already embracing the change.

Check out Code Orange’s live stream to 13,000 fans. Changing your terms of engagement is beneficial - adapting to adversity leads to new ideas, and can only strengthen the industry.

If you are a music teacher, can you keep on teaching by using online platforms such as Skype and Zoom?

If you can make this work, it’s an incredibly effective way to secure your income through freelance work.

As a session player, now is the time to invest in industry-standard recording solutions. Buy a microphone, get yourself a decent interface and track high-quality parts at home. You can even sell your services through online platforms such as Fiverr.

Support is emerging for creatives as quickly as the pandemic is spreading. There are government schemes that can help support you. Check out these two links.

You need to be asking yourself, how can I remain sustainable in the current marketplace with the skills and tools I have?

Get creative

Through the pandemic, you may find yourself with a lot of free time. However, as a creative, your time is never truly free.

You know that album you were going to write?

Or, the book you were writing – what happened to that?

Now is the time to dig deep and push on with your creative endeavours.

Not only is creativity good for the soul, but music is your profession. You can use this time to further your creative skills which can be monetised and therefore add to your portfolio career.

I get by with a little help…

Some companies are now providing support to those affected by Corona:

Avid is giving away free Pro Tools licences for students and institutions. Adobe has also followed suit.

Also, Korg and Moog are giving away Digital Synths to help you whittle away the hours.

Not only that, Fat mike is releasing music for free!

Practice your chops

If you are an instrumentalist, this is a perfect time to practice!

You can commit to a practice plan. Learn new instrumental techniques and take on those solos you never had the time for.

We are going to be releasing a series of videos on our YouTube to help you occupy your time with practice.

Remember to keep positive, be productive and stay safe. When times are tough, you always have music.


by Laurance Bridge
An experienced bassist that’s had broad studio & live performance experience, having played legendary venues such as the Concorde 2, The Borderline, The Camden Barfly, Ronnie Scotts, Whelans Dublin and The Brighton Dome. His recorded work has achieved airtime on BBC Radio 6, Amazing Radio, RTE 1 and BBC introducing. He’s also performed at The Great Escape, Beautiful Days, Camden Rocks and Black Deer Festivals supporting artists such as The Libertines, Pete Doherty, Rat Boy, Yonaka, The Levellers and Frank Turner.
View all posts by Laurance Bridge

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