In the midst of a global pandemic, many find themselves struggling. Layoffs, furloughs, and overall anxiety is the topic of many discussions in the media and news. But in this time, musicians and artists are finding ways to practice their craft and continue to share their talents – virtually that is.
Musicians thrive off performing in front of an audience. Nowadays, that audience may look different. With so much free time during this quarantine, social media users are tuning in to their favorite musicians and finding ways to let music ease their anxiety.
Fort Collins musician, Cary Morin, shares his music in a unique way. Several days a week, he performs over livestream on Facebook or Instagram. Viewers and fans can continue to support him while practicing social distancing from the comfort of their own homes.
Morin expresses the uniqueness of the situation and how he has navigated his new normal. Behind the scenes, a lot more goes into creating these livestreams than one would think. “Learning the technical stuff, trying to figure out how to get sound right, how to get the image right, how to get people to tune in, it’s quite a process,” Morin says.
For Morin, it has paid off. During an unsettling time in the world, he has stayed true to himself and his music. “I’ve been playing more guitar than I typically would… when this is all over, I think I’ll be a better performer,” he says.
Artist Andy Eppler, of Longmont, Colorado, possesses talents that spread far and wide; as he is a recording artist, songwriter, producer, author, and podcaster. And that’s only a small portion of Eppler’s list of professional art forms. Quarantine is similar to a typical day for him, as his studio is at his house. As Eppler puts it, “I work from home but I never really go home from work.”
During this time, Eppler focuses on community outreach. His Facebook Live show “The Hippie Report,” airs daily and provides a space for people to come together and and socialize virtually instead of in-person.“It’s just me showing up and talking to people, kind of normalizing hanging out, not talking about heavy subjects, and helping people sort of relax into what’s happening,” he says.
In regards to music, Eppler sees the importance of continuing to practice and perform. “One of the reasons music is so powerful for people is because it is an intangible art form.” Eppler describes. “You have to really let it inside you to experience it, and that takes time. Because music only ever really happens inside your brain, it’s much more personal than some of the other art forms.”
Eppler explains how this connection addresses the significance of music during this pandemic, “I think that’s why people don’t want to lose connection to music in a time like this, because when they lose connection to music they’re losing a part of themselves,” he explains.
While Morin and Eppler provide different platforms and music variety, both continue to radiate light during a dark time and give back to their community. Their music, along with thousands of other musicians, has the power to heal and distract an audience from the uneasiness, grief, and worry that this pandemic exemplifies, is truly incredible.
Both artists have some advice for young people hoping to learn how to play an instrument, become a musician, or perform in front of an audience some day. As the end of this pandemic may not be near, young musicians in Off the Hook Arts academy programs deserve to continue playing.
Morin was 12 when he taught himself how to play the guitar. Growing up in a rural area, he turned to music to keep him company. Eppler was 15 when he started experimenting with music, and his list of talents has grown over the years. Because he started experimenting with music, this opened doors for him to discover other art forms and ways of expression that contribute to his success.
To the musicians in OtHA academy programs, “there’s no substitute for practice,” Morin says. “Never tell yourself that you’re doing enough because you’re probably capable of trying harder and doing more.”
While many are facing the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 outbreak when it comes to work, Eppler knows that at the end of the day, music is all that matters.“The most important skill a professional artist can have is the ability to disconnect their action from the monetary outcome,” he says. Regardless of what’s going on outside your home, music will always be there and money can’t buy that.
Written by Abby Schirmacher, OTHA Intern