Social distancing can be a strange new concept for musicians who are used to playing in bands and being around other creatives on a regular basis. The coronavirus outbreak has challenged us to stop, take a step back, and breathe some life into the more solitary work that we do, like songwriting. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until COVID-19 passes and any quarantine has lifted to get back to collaborating with other musicians. Here are five ways that you can collaborate with other musicians while waiting out coronavirus:
Google Hangout Open Mic
During these weeks of social isolation, what better way to share your music with your friends than having a video-chat open mic. Whether it’s through Google Hangouts, Skype, or another video-chat-based service, turn on your microphone and get ready to share a tune.
Listen to a Record All the Way through and Discuss
It’s like a book club, but for full albums. If you have a record player and a bunch of vinyl, great! You already know the warm sounds of a record, and what it’s like to hold the album cover in your hands, examining every liner note the artist you’re listening to ever thought you’d want to know about! But even if you don’t own a turntable, you can listen to full albums online, and examine PDFs of the covers. Then set up a time to video chat with some friends to discuss the album. Before you hang up, be sure to choose the next album for the next meeting!
Remember the craze that was turntable.fm? It was essentially a virtual music venue where music fans could listen to music together. However, a lot of the music on the site was unlicensed, so the site was shut down in 2013. JQBX (JU·KE·BOX) has recreated the platform for the Spotify era! It is a new music app that lets you listen to songs in sync with groups across the world. It displays lists of user-created private or public rooms, each with one or more DJs picking and choosing songs. Users can save, search, or create rooms, or “be a DJ” when you join a room.
Free Synth Apps
Two of the biggest names in analog synthesizers—Korg and Moog—have each made one of their popular synth apps free for a limited time. Moog is offering up the Minimoog Model D for iOS. It works best on an iPad. Meanwhile, Korg is offering the Kaossilator app for iOS or Android. The iOS app is free through the month of March and the Android version is free through March 20.
Remote Recording Collaboration
Have you been eager to ask your friend for a guest-solo or to collaborate on a cover of your favorite song? Social distancing has given us the perfect opportunity to create new music while honing your music production skills. With a simple home setup and a free Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) like GarageBand, Audacity, or Pro Tools First, you can record, mix, and bounce tracks to other musicians throughout the world. Also, the soundtrap site is a great way to collaborate as if you’re both on the same DAW. They offer a free one-month trial.