2020 the year that keeps on giving!
As a full time musician times have been hard, I mean really hard! It’s enough to make even me take up the violin. (seriously you wouldn’t want that!) In fact I along with many others have done exactly that, well not exactly, but yes, Clarinets, Ukuleles, Saxophones, guitars basses, drums, you name it, if it can be blown, twanged or struck we have all had a go.
How to fill the void
Unfortunately for some this year has had the opposite effect. No more blowing, strumming, twanging or striking unless it is our heads against the wall. As musicians we by nature have spent years on our own practising our craft so we are not afraid of solitude and hard work, but along with the natural bias toward solitary periods their is an insatiable desire to connect!
Many musicians earn their living by performing, composing, arranging, teaching and street performances all of these have brought the art of musical expression to the public – ever keen to support that which makes all of our lives worth living.
Most of these avenues had been removed this year! Teaching had to be adapted to deliver the syllabus on line, and the courses we have all taken for the protection of vulnerable members of our society had to be revisited to make sire that the criteria was being satisfied by the new delivery medium. Insurances had to be checked to include the new circumstances and the Musicians Union have been ever helpful in all of these career adaptations. Yes its been a very very very strange year.
Music brings peace, healing, both laughter and tears and it brings us together. The one thing that we have struggled with this year is being together. Now just when we start to put shows together it has unfortunately coincided with another spike in the pandemic. Rule of six and all that the winter month can throw at us.
Some hidden benefits
We have zoomed, Skyped, practised new skills, learnt about green screens, how to make a video, and how not to make a video 🙂 Playing a saxophone in the shower – don’t even ask!
Adaptation has been the order of the day. We have come together virtually to make recordings and presentations to satisfy that need to create the connection. Many of my students – as most teachers of adults will know – become friends and share similar desires to perform and so these past months I have found myself tuning in to my students performances whilst starting the day with a round of toast and black coffee, and it has been wonderful!
So thank you to those who have sought to keep up with the connection. Some of my groups pioneered the digital zoom sessions and found ways to keep up the communication via playing in turn and also hosting quizzes on line.
Others joined me with a zoom version of my usual format, and still others supported me even though not joining in with any of the new digital sessions, I have had many different emotions this year, grateful, elevated, annoyed, full of energy, and at at other times despair, yep, I’m human… no really, I am!
Blogging, and other outlets!
So I find myself with a moment of time to turn over the topsoil of what has been a very, very, very strange year.
I remember hearing that phrase early on and I guess my creative flywheel was still in full tilt so inwardly I though “a bit theatrical, that” but here we are in the autumn and I acknowledge, yes, it has been a very strange year, oh my goodness and has it just!
Working long hours from home has been my way of surfing the strangeness, late night TV box sets for when I feel the days creative juice has dried out, and also certain in the knowledge that there will not be a last minute contract through the digital mailbox requesting a surprise gig or lesson that needs to be fitted in, I have happily concluded a couple of series in the early hours, my wife ever used to my gigging antics sees no difference in my nocturnal arrivals and asks the usual questions… has the dog been out, are the lights off, doors locked et al
So as we prepare for this next foray into our Autumnal Calendar it may not be too early to start rehearsing for that winters night performance, either by the log fire, or the webcam or however we are able to connect with each other, keep reaching out and let the music play on.
My arrangements on SMPpress are available under the name ArboretumSunday, along with thousands of other composers.
As an Affiliate member and contributor I am pleased to be able to offer Sheet music from both myself and thousands of other Composers and arrangers.
Use the link above to enjoy an amazing collection of superb arrangements for you to start playing straight away! These arrangements can be downloaded now for you to play.