Keep Creating / Student Tips

Keep Collaborating: Making Music From a Distance

8th July 2020

Lockdown or not, most of us spend summer away from our university friends; the people that we are inspired by, create alongside and keep collaborating with. Nowadays, there are so many ways to continue being creative together online that being physically far apart isn’t so much of an issue. Here are a few ways you can continue being creative with your friends from afar.

1) Co-Writing Online

Co-writing online is probably the easiest part of making music with your friends from a distance, especially as you’re probably talking to them regularly anyway. Schedule some video call sessions – it may be best to set boundaries that focus the call on writing, rather than catching up, so you don’t get distracted.

If you’re struggling to write together in this way, set a deadline, both/all write a song and come back and share what you’ve written with each other. This will help keep the creativity flowing and you can help each other with lyrics, melodies or additional instrumentation.

Set each other briefs to push your creativity and have some fun!

2) Demo Recording at Home

Recording your own demos is a good way to learn the recording process and how to get your musical ideas across in actual recording sessions.

You don’t need expensive equipment. Just a DAW (Garageband will do for basic demos) and a recording microphone. Get your ideas down first and then you can work on them later with a producer, or as your recording skills improve.

Utilise your network. If you’re the best at vocals, focus on recording a really good vocal track, send to a friend that’s really good at guitar to record a great guitar track, drummer to get the drums down, etc. Collaboration is so much fun and working with so many artists on one track is a great experience and can fill in any gaps in your skillset.

3) Networking in the Student Group

There is an incredibly wide selection of people on the BIMM Bristol student Facebook group, including musicians, songwriters, producers, promoters, event managers, and many more.

Many of these are regularly sharing their work on the group, most notably producers and songwriters, so check it out and see who would be a good fit. Don’t be worried to approach people you don’t know yet. They’re probably desperate to get creative again too, and the more you expand your network, the more your career and future opportunities will grow. You’ll make a bunch of new friends this way and be able to properly hang out when you’re all back at uni!

4) Utilise Online Tools

There are so many online resources for musicians, and they’ve only expanded under lockdown. Not all online resources will be right for every musician, but here are some helpful tips:

• Watch livestream gigs. Check out your friends’ livestreams and even do joint livestreams/writers’ rounds together. You can also use livestreams to reach out to other musicians you want to work with; interact with them and show your support, they will normally return the favour
• Use Zoom, Skype, Facebook Rooms, etc for writing sessions, particularly if there’s a few of you getting together for it
• Take online courses to improve your technical skills
• Communicate! There are a million ways to stay in touch for work and for your own sanity. Get in touch with new people and keep in touch with your uni friends over summer to continue creating together.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, you want to stay in touch with your uni friends, so why not stay creative too? It’ll keep you going over summer and will be nice to not have to limit yourself to assessment briefs. Just be creative for yourself!

BIMM is the perfect place to keep collaborating and creating – as well as keep learning, innovatingconnectingachieving and exploring. Don’t think you have to wait until Results Day to start your application process. Apply for Priority Clearing today and start your life in music.


Zoe Newton

Zoe is a Alt-country singer-songwriter from Bristol. She completed BA(Hons) Songwriting at BIMM Bristol in 2019, and has been working as a Student Mentor.