I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love music. I have it playing the background all the time, even now as I write this. So naturally, I’ve put a lot of thought into how will I keep listening to music when the grid goes down.
There’s a reason that music has been around for almost as long as humans have. Music is every bit as important a part of the human experience as friendship, laughter, and a whole list of other things that, while they may not be absolutely necessary for survival, are sure nice to have.
More than just a form of entertainment, listening to music has actually been scientifically proven to have a number of benefits. A quote from researchers at Stanford said that, “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” The same report also noted that music, since it is so easily accessible, is arguably the world’s most effective stress-reduction tool.
In situations that force you to live off the grid, separated from society, stress is almost certain to abound. Unfortunately for those living off the grid, accessing music won’t be quite as easy as it once was. With electricity being a precious commodity (if it’s available at all) and access to the internet being unheard of, streaming Spotify or downloading music from iTunes are no longer going to be an option.
How then does a person access music while living off the grid in a SHTF scenario? Outlined below are three ways you can listen to music and attain its calming benefits no matter how far off the grid you go.
1. Solar Power
It doesn’t take a lot of electricity to keep a simple MP3 player running for hours on end. However, it does take some electricity, but all you’ll need to charge it is a portable solar panel. Keep in mind that if you get an MP3 player, you’ll only be able to listen to music with headphones unless you get a bluetooth speaker (which will charge with the portable solar panel).
There are other options out there, some of which are very nice (albeit expensive). It all depends on how important music is to you and how many people will want to listen at the same time. If you see yourself playing music outdoors for a lot of people, you might want even better speakers. Just keep in mind that during a long-term disaster, music could attract dangerous people and make you less likely to notice them coming.
Also keep in mind that in such a scenario, you probably won’t have access to the Internet. So if you rely on streaming services like Spotify for music, you might want to start downloading as much music as you can before the grid goes down. Consider getting a VPN and downloading music torrents and putting them on your MP3 player, if you know how to do that sort of thing.
2. Hand Crank Record Player
Maybe you’d rather avoid electricity altogether. After all, solar chargers and MP3 players may eventually malfunction, leaving you a dark, music-free world. If you prefer more of an old-school approach, consider checking out hand crank record players.
Hand crank record players are able to play vinyl records, just like the record players of yesteryear, except they don’t rely on any outside power and instead turn the record using the energy generated by a good old-fashioned hand crank. They certainly aren’t the most effortless way to listen to music, but they are one of the most reliable, guaranteed to work even if electricity of any kind isn’t an option.
So where do you find one of these devices? As you might imagine, hand crank record players aren’t something that Apple and Samsung are rolling out new versions of, so you’ll have to look in the places a person typically looks when searching for outdated yet interesting items. These places include flea markets, antique stores, and eBay.
Once you’ve managed to secure a hand crank record player, it’s time to start building your collection of vinyl records. The good news here is that vinyl records have managed to maintain quite a following among collectors, so you shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding them. In fact, even modern music that was released well after record players were outdated is still produced and available on vinyl, meaning that you’ll have no shortage of music listen to. That is, so long as you have the arm strength to keep the crank turning.
3. Learn an Acoustic Instrument
There’s a saying that says if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. For some of you, this saying may apply to music as well. If neither charging an MP3 player using the sun or spinning vinyl on a hand crank record player are your cup of tea, learning to play an acoustic instrument may be the perfect solution.
Best of all, playing music is often even more rewarding and relaxing than just listening to it. It provides you with a creative outlet as well as a sense of accomplishment that can both be incredibly useful for easing a worried mind.
If you don’t already have the ability to make play an instrument, though, where do you start? The first step is to choose an instrument. It will need to be an instrument that doesn’t require electricity, is relatively easy to transport should you need to, and sounds good when played by itself. While many instruments are great additions to a band full of other instruments, they aren’t so great when played solo. Trust us that a strumming a guitar or a violin out under the stars is much more relaxing and enjoyable than blowing on a tuba or playing a drum solo.
With those factors in mind, instruments that make a great choice for providing you with music off the grid are:
- Acoustic guitar
- Piano (if you don’t plan on moving it)
Which of these instruments will work best for you really comes down to your own personal tastes in music. Once you’ve chosen an instrument, the next step is to learn how to play it. While one option is to choose an instrument right now and begin taking lessons now before you go off the grid, another great choice is to purchase a bunch of music books and teach yourself during the free time you are bound to have once you are living off the grid.
Either way, it may take a little time in the beginning, but learning an instrument is certainly a great way to ensure that you have access to music come what may.