Some of the benefits of the pandemic and working online have included things that we would never have thought about doing when we were in-person. One of those things is the concept of co-working.
What is co-working? Why should we do it? And how does it apply to the voice student/professional?
Co-working existed before everyone went virtual – generally, it referred to self-employed people sharing a workspace and the accoutrements needed to run a business (office supplies, wi-fi, support staff, utilities, etc.) The space might or might not house people in a like field. Benefits include creating a sense of community (because being self-employed can be lonely!), saving money on those accoutrements, and just having a space that might be perceived as more professional than working out of your home, particularly if you share your home with pets, or children, or housemates who don’t want to have customers coming into their shared space.
With the necessary transition to working at home during the pandemic, co-working has gone virtual as well. Some of the obvious non-musical examples of this have been:
- Online school
- Watch parties
More ideas can be found in this article by Co-working maven Cat Johnson.
As musicians, we’ve applied that to our needs. We’ve done things like:
- Studio classes
- Panel discussions
Something I’m adding is the concept of worksprints, or co-working with specific goals in mind for a specific time period. These are also referred to as pomodoro sprints, after the tomato-shaped timer of the same name. I talked about that a while back in this blogpost.
My performance-oriented high school students who have joined my MVP (Musically Vibrant Performer) program are the first students to offered this co-working option. We will be meeting on several Fridays to work together on things that maybe we have been putting off.
Our goals during this one hour time slot are to:
Set an intention
and most importantly
GET STUFF DONE
The first session was last week. It was kind of short notice and no one was available. However, I stayed the whole time and I got done a bunch of things I’d been putting off, including listening to a lesson that I’d had at the beginning of August.
Tomorrow I plan to start the first few modules of an online self-directed course I signed up for (and paid for) back in June. My students, should they actually show up (and it’s included in their package, so…. it’s their call) can do things like:
- Filling out applications for college
- Practicing a specific song or vocalise
- Writing out the IPA for a foreign-language song
- Translating the foreign language song word for word
- Writing college essays
- Listening to recordings of what they’re working on or want to work on next
How could co-working help you as a singer? Or maybe in another field? Perhaps you could put together your own cohort to set up some worksprint sessions and see how they work for you!