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Lockdown or Lookup?

Blog piece on the joys of isolation and adapting to online work

It’s Tuesday, I think, and the weather is beautiful. I would normally be working on my studio tan in preparation for my next music workshop, as a music practitioner. But I’m in an imposed lockdown, working from home. So I can actually sit outside and enjoy the glorious sunshine!

There have been quite a few perks and some stress during the last 3 months and now my period of reflection is nearly over I thought it would be nice to share a few highlights (maybe some lowlights too) 

My time in lockdown has been spent with my children and wife (4y, 2y and 30y) this means I have not been in isolation or board for even 1 second! However, finding any time to focus on Beat This CIC (an inner-city music project) and any personal development can be rather challenging!

The mind space I need to function and be productive means I need some physical space too. I find my best time to concentrate is the evening. Extra willpower is needed though because looking after two children does tend to tire you out a tad, and a 9 o clock bedtime is always tempting! 

After a few early nights I started to get restless and then a co-director sent me information on emergency funding to help the company and I think ‘I can do this’ 

...So, bread was baked, tomatoes were planted, cash flow projections updated, drives dug, children entertained, funding applications started, a paddling pool filled... the front door was painted (with Frenchic), funding applications were edited, lawnmowers were broken... shed dismantled, shed built and funding applications were submitted... Phew! 

It didn’t take as long or as much effort to find out that the applications are successful and we can start work towards the project immediately... woohoo!! 

Great, Beat This CIC has three executive directors, we all live in Peterborough or very nearby. How are we going to get all this work coordinated, planned, advertised, and completed? Whilst adhering to social distancing?? 

Is Zoom the answer? Maybe part of it... Is talking over the phone going to work? For some things yes! But we need something where we can visualise the project and put dates to individual parts, so we can complete them and move to the next task... we need an excel doc!! with all the dates on?!!  Maybe... or could we really do with a project management app or software that all the directors can see and edit... we found Trello and it saved all our gooseberries! 

The company is thriving, we are excited about our new project CO-Lab - Creative Online Collaboration, and re-opening Chime Creation Centre our recording studios, rehearsal rooms and the new interactive/reactive/immersive space, to the new normal! 

As Directors we are now able to share more ideas, discuss smaller objectives, proof designs for promos, get feedback on promo copy, plus our Monday night online meetings are a weekly occasion (we would only meet once every 3 months before, due to schedules, childcare commitments and life!) this has all contributed to building our confidence as an organisation to place trust in our aims, to then deliver our objectives. 

The imposed lockdown has also provided personal time and space allowing me to rest and recover from a self-imposed baby lockdown (the place where you just bring up babies and toddlers for four years... I wouldn’t change it for the world!) and focus on my personal practice and development, alongside Beat This’ mission.

This time of reflection has sometimes meant my head was down, trying to understand the situation by Inevitably looking at a screen. But I realise now, my vision was full of blue sky, like glimpses in a puddle... Now it is time to look up!  

Lee Ashton - Director and creative practitioner - Beat This CIC.

#lockdown #music #musiccreators #musiccommunity #communitymusic #project management

Photo by Johann Piber from Pexels