If you’re like me, you have been making moves to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I have already done a lot in my personal life such as reducing meat and plastic. In this, I have discovered that as a musician there are a lot of ways in which I can cut down my waste. I’m here to share those sustainable-musician tips with you today.
Get Your Sheet Music Online
New technology makes it unnecessary to need sheet music on actual paper.
I know many musicians (myself included) who download PDFs of sheet music onto their iPad, laptops, or phones. The purpose of this is easy accessibility, convenience, and of course, to be paper-less.
Purchase Quality Items That Will Last You A Long Time
Part of sustainability is purchasing quality items made to last. This so you don’t have to keep re-buying the same thing over and over again.
For example, you can avoid buying the cheapest headphones at the gas station. (You know the kind that last a month before one ear bud stops working).
Instead, buy quality earbuds that will last you a long time!
Another example is reeds:
If You Play a Reed Instrument, Try Synthetic Reeds!
Synthetic reeds are made of plastic and have a longer lifespan than regular cane reeds.
If well taken care of, synthetic reeds can last up to a year before you should get a new one. They are also less maintenance since they don’t need moisture in order to sound. They also do not need breaking-in or trimming/cutting.
Regular cane reeds come in packs. But more often than not, not all the reeds in the pack are actually usable due to being cut unevenly. Therefore, buying cane reeds regularly can quickly become wasteful with all the packaging and unusable reeds.
Who Are Synthetic Reeds Good For?
If you double instruments, don’t play often enough to need to buy reeds all the time, or if you just want to save some money, synthetic reeds are a great option. Plus, there are so many options out there to get different sounds with!
Synthetic reeds are primarily popular to musicians who play multiple reed instruments in one show. This is because synthetic reeds don’t dry out after sitting for a while without use, like cane reeds do. Therefore, you can quickly and effectively get a response out of an instrument with a synthetic reed without having to wet the reed.
I personally use a synthetic for my clarinet since it is my secondary instrument which I only play for shows in which I need to double.
I also use a synthetic for my baritone sax because buying regular cane reeds for the bari can get really expensive really fast.
As for tenor (my primary instrument) I switch between cane and synthetic depending on what I’m playing. For example, for a jazz gig I will play a cane reed but for a pit orchestra I will use a synthetic.
Cutting down on the amount of cane reeds I go through by replacing them with a synthetic does really cut down my waste. (And saves me a pretty penny too!)
Pro tip: I and many others have found that Legere synthetic reeds are closest to getting an authentic cane-reed sound without the cane reed itself. 10/10 recommend if you are on the hunt for a synthetic.
However, there is a difference in sound when it comes to synthetic vs cane reeds. There may be a certain timbre you want that is only achievable with cane reeds. That is the reason many reed players still choose cane over synthetic.
Therefore, bringing me to my next point:
Take Care of Your Items So That They Last
If you prefer cane reeds, here you can find some great info on how to make them last longer, and get the most life out of each reed.
Taking good care of your musical items is essential for being sustainable. You will spend less, waste less, and cherish the items you do have more.
(Friendly reminder to wrap your cables appropriately)
Be a Sustainable Musician by Thrifting Your Gig Clothes
If your gig is not a black tie event for which you need a tailored suit, thrift your gig clothes!
There are many second hand stores that only except high quality or luxury brand clothing.
Secondhand stores like Plato’s Closet have high quality, barely used items that look professional and brand new.
Another great option is Poshmark, where you can thrift shop through an app! I personally have sold some of my own hardly-worn professional looking gig clothes on the app.
Reusable Water Bottle/Coffee Cup + Straw
Yes, you’ve heard it before. But carrying a reusable bottle with you is one of the easiest ways to cut down waste. Plus, you’ll be more hydrated if you always have some water with you.
Furthermore, if you had a late night performing, recording music, or studying, you probably cling to a coffee cup the next morning. Once you get in the habit of bringing a reusable coffee cup with you, it’s just second nature and you don’t even have to think about it.
Or if you’re like me and drink iced coffee year-long, a reusable straw is a great option too!
Pro tip: it helps to have super cute reusable tools that you feel excited to use. Therefore, are less likely to forget them at home. Here’s some really cute metal straws that I personally have and love! Plus you can get 15% off with code SALLYADRIANAM203–This is an affiliate code, meaning at no additional cost to the purchaser, I will receive compensation should someone chose to make a purchase using this code.
Any Other Sustainable Musician Tips?
If you personally have any ways in which you practice sustainability as a musician that was not mentioned here, please write it in the comments. I love finding new ways to practice sustainability!
Best wishes to you in your sustainable-musician endeavors!