Belmont’s student musicians learn to work from home during COVID-19 crisis
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Belmont’s student musicians learn to work from home during COVID-19 crisis

Working musicians around the world have been forced to adapt their livelihoods to the ongoing crisis surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and the musicians at Belmont are no different.

Ever since Belmont’s classes went fully online and much of society essentially shut down, music students and other students whose studies focus on visual or performing arts have faced a different dilemma than others. Now, without being able to meet in class, music students have been one of the most deeply affected by the shutdown.

But the musicians and music students at Belmont are finding different ways productive despite social distancing.

“I can write wherever I am, I guess,” said freshman songwriting major Gloria Anderson. “It’s actually been kind of beneficial because it’s nice to finally have my own space and really think about things.”

Anderson got hands-on experience with the production side of her music for the first time only recently, and just before she was forced to go home.

“I was pretty fortunate,” Anderson said. “My first time ever in the studio was over spring break. And so I was already in Nashville, and I just recorded some demos.”

She said it’s nice to have her first three demos in her pocket, should she seek to release them in some form in the future. Her work in the studio was the best chance to work with recording technology, which she doesn’t have at home.

“I could see how someone who is mainly an artist, and is trying to put out new music, how if they normally went to a studio to get their stuff produced, I could see how this could be kind of hard for them to make music, I guess, in a way.”

The ease of access to recording technology seems to be a common thread in determining how successful a student musician can be during their time at home. 

Trey Strange, another freshman musician, has had to adapt his journey as a result of the pandemic. He was planning to release several singles over the course of the next few months.

“But we were just in demo production and scratch tracks. And then after this whole thing hit, we really couldn’t get back on our feet because they’re just too hard to do them all over Skype.”

Like Anderson, Strange does not have recording equipment, so he was relying on access to a studio to work toward releasing music in the coming weeks.

“Everything was kind of only halfway there and we were going to power through it after we got back from spring break, and that all ended a little too quickly,” he said.

Strange also plans to use the time until his life is back to normal to continue writing songs and reflecting on his music, but will be ready to get back to working on the technical side of his work when he returns to Nashville.

Anderson plans to reflect on her music as well, and sees the possibility that some element of goodness can come from the crisis.

“This is a really good time for people to sit back and kind of look at the world around them,” Anderson said. 

“Although we’re separated it kind of forms a sense of community, and I think that songwriters are people who observe and notice things so I think there will be some good songs coming out of the writers, especially in Nashville.”

As individual musicians look to continue to progress their careers as much as possible during their time in isolation, a new group at Belmont is looking to bring musical cheer to Belmont students while aiding in relief efforts for the issues facing Nashville.

QuaranTour, which started as a plan to hold a live concert to raise money for the Red Cross of Tennessee, began on Thursday as an Instagram livestream instead of the original planned concert. It will run through Saturday, with each day featuring two artists performing a live concert on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Belmont QuaranTour

The idea for the QuaranTour came about when tudents from Dan Keen’s music publishing class, including junior Marisa Deering, had to adapt to unexpected circumstances after students were sent home. Deering credits Makenzie Culver, Abby Grant, Georgia Hester and Sierra Reutenauer for their work in helping the QuaranTour come to fruition.

Deering says Keen gave his students advice on how to process the disruption in the context of the music industry.

“Mr. Keen often tells us that there are always going to be disruptions in the music industry and our job as future professionals is to come up with solutions for those disruptions,” Deering said. “This situation is a perfect example of that, and we all just have to keep in mind that no matter how big the disruption is, there is always a solution.”

Those who wish to tune in can find the account @buquarantour, and on Venmo @quarantour2020 to make donations that will go to the Red Cross for tornado and coronavirus relief.

The use of Instagram to broadcast music to the Belmont community is a step forward in the collective effort to bring levity to the situation while also taking steps to provide care to those who need it. A pandemic does not stop music from being played or being meaningful, said Anderson. 

“Being in quarantine doesn’t necessarily determine if I play music or not. I guess it just determines how many people get to hear it.”

Article by Evan Dorian. Image courtesy of Belmont QuaranTour.

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