Graphics by Simru Sonmez-Erbil
By Simru Sonmez-Erbil, WERS Staff Writer
It's impossible to deny that times are very different right now. With a lot of us sheltering at home and most of the outside world shut down, it's easy to fall into a bad mood. Luckily, there's a wonderful thing in this world called music that is the foolproof antidote! Here are six ways you can use music to enrich your life during these strange times:
Listen to the radio
In times when we can't be as social as usual, stay connected through the power of radio! Having WERS on while pitter-pattering around the house has reminded me that there's a world outside my apartment - a great big world full of good music and good people. Our DJs George Knight and Phil Jones are excellent quarantine companions! Hearing other human voices is a highly underrated comfort in uncertain times, especially when they play you good music. One of my current favorites that I've been hearing on 88.9 is Cage The Elephant's "Black Madonna." What a killer tune -it really gets you grooving around the house! You can stream us online 24/7 - just tell your smart speaker to "play WERS."
Make yourself a feel-good playlist
Quarantine playlists are good and all (cue "Don't Stand So Close To Me"), but there's also something to be said for listening to your personal favorite tunes, ones that never fail to lift you up! Hearing the music you love can make life feel more like business-as-usual. At times when I have my face pressed up against a window, dreaming of going out, I put some music on and find I'm feeling much better within a few bars. One of my instant pick-me-ups is 10cc's "Dreadlock Holiday!" Now is also a great time to discover new favorites - tune in to All New from 8-9 on 88.9 for great picks of brand-new music!
Learn to play an instrument
There are few things in this world that offer a thrill like the one you get from learning something new. If you've been feeling that musical itch for a while, or if you're just looking for something to fill the time, now might be the perfect time to pick up your instrument of choice and get learning! I play guitar and bass but I've been eyeing that intimidating-looking keyboard in the corner... now I've finally sat down and started learning. There are lots of great resources online to help you along, from YouTube to Yousician. Your favorite musicians might even be giving free lessons on social media! Check out these Ten Songs to Help Teach Yourself Guitar if you fancy becoming an ax-master. When you feel confident enough, you can even put on a live stream concert to show off your new skills to your friends or even the world!
Make a concert scrapbook
Concert season was supposed to be kicking into gear right about now; a lot of us (myself included) are feeling some serious concert withdrawal. However, if you're a live music fan looking to combat that withdrawal, you can do so by looking back on your favorite live music memories and keeping the faith that one day concert season will return! If you have ticket stubs or other mementos from past shows you've been to, get crafty with 'em. Print out any concert photos you've taken and use them to create something you can look at when you're feeling nostalgic for the going-out days.
Watch a live stream concert
Here's another cure for your concert withdrawal: Many musicians have been putting on live stream performances on their social media pages. Chances are, if your favorite act had a tour booked, they might be doing a virtual show to tide everyone over in the meantime! Although it's not the same as a live show, it's a great opportunity to catch musicians in a different atmosphere (Get a peek at their living spaces too! So far, I've seen impressive vinyl collections, envy-worthy music nooks, pillows in the shape of amplifiers...). Musicians are getting inventive just like the rest of us. The live streams you'll catch might be unlike anything you've ever seen! Subscribe to our biweekly newsletter to get a comprehensive live stream concert calendar in your inbox every Saturday morning.
Share music with your loved ones
Music is a great way to connect with your friends and family at times when it's harder to stay in touch. Something as simple as sending a pal a song that reminds you of them can make both of your days better! I mailed my grandma a CD of her favorite songs; she enjoyed some entertainment, and I felt a little bit better about not being able to hug her. If you find other ways that music is helping you, share that with your loved ones, too. Encourage them to pursue what keeps them happy. After all, this time is all about looking out for each other through love, kindness, and good tunes!