How I stay productive during quarantine

(musician’s guide)

As stay-at-home orders extend, the performing arts sector is hit hard with uncertainty for the future. When will concert halls reopen? When can we gather again to enjoy a live concert? When time stretches out into the unknown, not knowing what happens next can be very daunting.

Create a routine 
Rather than slipping into a self-pitying and waiting-for-something-to-happen state, I immediately started off by setting a new routine for myself. When uncertain, one must be flexible and adapt to the situation accordingly. In the last few weeks, I gradually settled into a weekly routine of practicing, teaching, live streaming, filming videos, and writing articles. Having a routine is important to keep life organized and spirits motivated.

Take advantage of social media

When concert venues are closed and travel becomes impractical, the internet is where people consume information and look for entertainment. In order to keep communication open, I turned to social media to keep in touch with people. It helped that I was already on several social media platforms before the quarantine started. Between myself and my festival, the PYPA Piano Festival, I oversee about 12 social media platforms combined, in both English and Chinese.

Create your own online series
When one door closes, another opens. I have always been a firm believer in taking charge of things in your own hands. Since there are currently no concerts available, in the past 6 weeks, I have created two brand new online series:

Living Room Lessons
I began by making weekly performance tip videos on selected repertoire. These videos are meant to help students and music lovers learn about piano technique and various piano literature. To help with the different demographic of my audience base, I film each topic in English and Chinese separately. Each video is edited and uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. I also update the same topic on a weekly blog for my Weixin platform (钢琴家胡瀞云). The success of these videos have led to several invitations to record exclusive teaching videos for online companies.

These videos are filmed on Saturdays and published each following Monday.

Saturday Live with Ching-Yun
To continue communicating with my audience during quarantine, I started a live streaming performance series every Saturday at 11am (ET) directly on my Facebook fan page. I focus on a different musical theme each week and preview every performance with a short promo video and poster, just as I would with an actual live concert. Preparing for each Saturday Live with Ching-Yun has kept me at top shape as a pianist and allows me to engage with my audience worldwide in a wonderful and fun way. Please join me next Saturday at 11am (ET)! Ching-Yun Hu, Pianist Facebook page

I am thankful that my livestream performances have been selected as the “best to watch” by Classical Post and WRTI Philadelphia.

Knowledge is everything
Before the quarantine, I was always on the road, working on several projects simultaneously. I never had much time to learn new things outside of my profession. Now I am looking into online classes and sitting in on online conferences. It is never too late to learn new things. Use this time well!

Write in a journal
To organize my thoughts and to keep up with my goals, I have always found it useful to write in a journal. Writing things down make it that much more likely for the goals to be accomplished. I highly recommend this habit to anyone wishing to get more done.

Stay in touch
It is important to keep communications open during quarantine, whether it is to call family and friends, or to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Communication is the key to stay connected with people, especially when you are physically isolated. I have found myself using video chat (Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc) more than ever.

Stay safe, everyone. Let’s get through this together with lots of music and love!


Ching-Yun Hu, Pianist