Monday 17th Aug, 2020

The next generation

Imagine a world where all music venues are closed. No family events to perform at and no opportunities to connect with experienced musicians. This is the life young musicians now face. Although established musicans have their own troubles with recent events, the next generation is being denied an opportunity to break through. Who knows how long the new norm is going to last and what impact it may have on music's future.

There is a lot to be said for doing things the hard way and music is no exception. Playing nightmare gigs is part of life for most musicians. Equipment malfunctions, last minute cancellations and then theres always that one drunk constantly requesting a song they cant remember the name of but "goes something like da da da de dum".

Performing in front of an audience is a rite of passage for all musicans. Hours of constant practice in preparation to stand exposed and vulnerable before a crowd of strangers. Music memorised and every lyric known inside out.

Hard Work Pays Off

Musicians who tend to make it in music are the ones who have slugged it out week after week performing in all sorts of venues. Beginning with open mic nights and working on their craft as performers, ironing out all the creases.

Conversations with fellow musicians at gigs have offered young musicans opportunists to perform during breaks and advice related to equipment or booking gigs is always offered.

But what will happen if music venues remain closed, or at least never return to the way we are all familiar with. How will young musicians who are just starting out on their musical journey cope with no venues to perform. No way to watch and learn from other musicians and no way to make musical connections.

Social Media

Live music has been flipped on its head and has seen musicians turn to social media as a means of connecting with an audience. Musicians of all ages and levels have been performing for a number of months since Ireland first went into lockdown.

Online platforms such as The Ivory Sessions are giving young musicians an opportunity to perform and work in a professional environment gaining both experience and knowledge.

The Ivory Sessions - Amy Rigney

Growing up in a digital world young musicans are well adapt at using social media. Connecting with other musicians their age and building a musical community online.

But is this enough? Is their much to be learned from live gigs and the confidence gained through experience.

Most musicans who have been gigging a number of years will most likely say of course this is not enough. And if there is anything we have learned through musics long and colorful history is that the most important aspect of music is the relationship between a musician and their audience. It motivates and inspires creativity.

No Substitute for Live Performing

Although uploading music online gives musicans an opportunity to reach an audience it is no substitute for a live audience. Live music will eventually return but at what cost to the quality of new music that comes through. Those that are being deprived of open mic nights and opportunities to attend gigs seeking advice will struggle with their musical development as performers.

Social media alongside live performing gives a musician the best chance of being heard. But only through live performing can a musician get a true reaction from an audience. The look on an audience face will tell what works and what doesn't work.

Young musicans need open mic nights, family events and opportunities to perform as support acts to learn and develop as a performer.

Music needs to be live again before musicans become accustomed to online performing.

A caged bird doesn't sing.