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Musician and Covid-19

Well, this is new. The music industry is already reeling and evolving into uncertain terrains. Sure, a virus added to the mix is going to make things difficult. What does all this mean to me? Why am I luckier than most musicians? Read along, this gets personal.

To answer this question, I have to revel my weekly schedule (Ta-Dah). Let's say (in hours) approximately:-

  1. Sleep: 49

  2. Food: 12

  3. Leisure: 7

  4. Audio Post Production: 8

  5. Playing, Learning and growing as a musician: 30

  6. Composing for the projects I hold: 20

  7. Arvi Collective: 8 (My band)

  8. Arvi School of Music and Fine Arts: 20 (All the music classes I take)

  9. Social Life: 10

  10. Rotary: 4

Total: 168/168 hours

Now, no two days in my life are the same, so these figures are just for interpretation. I'm not taking into account meetings, sudden social calls, technical troubleshooting, hard disk backups, special projects, Marketing, Public image, fitness (Yes, it made the list! :P), etc. These are highly unpredictable and mostly average out to about 5-10 hours a week. Hence, I'll skip them entirely.

What areas of my life have taken a toss? Mostly the following:-

  1. Arvi School of Music and Fine Arts: 20 (All the music classes I take)

  2. Composing for the projects I hold (Film/TV/Streaming): 20

  3. Arvi Collective: 8 (My band)

  4. Social Life: 10

  5. Rotary: 4

That's 62/168, 36.9% of my life and business. (Pass percentage). This percentage remains if I don't evolve. Now, here's the crazy stuff.

My classes have shifted to an online model, temporarily. Yes, business is disrupted, but the parents of the students I teach are extremely cooperative and understand these difficult times. For an online model, I noticed that it takes up more of my time, a lot more than usual classes. So the updated timeline is actually, 25 hours. Yes, I've stopped taking a few classes for a few students. In the end, the final time I'm spending on classes is actually higher than before.

Next, my Composition works are 75% self-driven. So the other 25%, which takes up all my film projects account for only 5 hours/week (Well, I'm surprised too!).

My band sure felt the shock of not being able to get together to make music. I miss this the most. It's crazy how rooted, the coming of musicians together kept me in other areas of life. We take an occasional con call or keep our WhatsApp group going. It accounts for an hour at max.

My social life took a toss, absolutely. But I've managed to sneak in 4 hours here and there. "What are we, if not a reflection of the people whom we cluster with?" (Note to self: Insert "Rahul Raghavan" after the quote) :P

My Passion for Rotary took a blow, as all the meetings and community services were called off. We, as Rotarians can never sit still, so this put me off majorly, even though my contribution in terms of time is only 4 hours. We're staying connected on social media and via con calls, but, that doesn't come close to the interactions we have when we all come together.

So here's the impact of Covid-19 in my life:-

  1. Composing for the projects I hold: 5

  2. Arvi Collective: 7 (My band)

  3. Social Life: 6

  4. Rotary: 4

That's 22/168. Now, remember the extra 5 hours my classes started taking because of the online model? I'm going to negate that from this number. So the total affected time is 17/168 hours!

That's 10.11%.

Am I luckier than the musicians who give their everything to performance? Luckier than musicians and composers associated with the film scene 200% of their time? Luckier than all those studio musicians, technicians, orchestras, sound engineers, and audio specialists?

Absolutely. That's because, as you saw, my list is entirely different from the world in a weird way. Maybe for good, maybe for bad. All I do is, learn and grow, stay curious, stay sane, stay healthy and happy. I mean, look at these things: -

Sleep: 49 | Food: 12 | Leisure: 7 | Audio Post Production: 8 |Playing, Learning and growing as a musician: 30 | Composing for the projects I hold: 15 (Self-driven)|

That's 121/168, 72% of my general time through the last 2 years. With the new figures and my steps to cope with the situation executed, 90% of my work remains unaffected. Am I not luckier to have only 10% of my life at the mercy of the virus?

My heart goes out to my fellow colleagues who are finding it difficult. Because, you might lose income, but no corporate or government is going to write off your loans, your EMI's or your bills. Don't be an idiot, that's not going to happen in our "developing" country. We aren't in Canada or Spain. (Note to society: Call me Anti-Indian and shame yourself !)

This situation is going to be so for another 2 months. Evolve now. Do the things you always wanted to. Learn a new instrument, learn to start singing, spend time with the ones you love, hold the feeling of missing a routine, clean your homes, talk to your families, and bridge the generation gap. You want me to keep going? You get the point. Take charge of this pandemic while staying safe.

I can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through. My heart goes out to them. Elders keep a family together. I hope the families find strength. Health officials, doctors, and nurses, you've seen the images. Truly selfless. Give them all what they ask for when this is over.

I didn't put the monetary figures above. Sure, I lost money left and right towards cancellation/delays of my film projects, the market crash, and the summer camps. But, you can't put a price on my passion, happiness, or my health, my friend. So, forget the money and the stats. Don't take drastic steps if you've lost your business or your financial portfolio. Take a deep breath and focus on "the other things".

Rahul Raghavan

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