Uncertain Times: Music is Essential
March 23, 2020 In: Sound Bits
Writing these blog posts has become increasingly challenging in recent weeks. While the primary focus of the PRJC is on innovation and impact, relevance and meaning are what drive all of our work. How does the art I create—the work I engage in—relate to the world around me?
What possibly can be said when livelihoods and lives are at stake? Thousands are sick and the world economy has been brought to a standstill. In a matter of days, some of the world’s most venerable arts organizations have laid off employees and temporarily closed their doors, a sobering reminder of the precarious financial position of many arts organizations even when the economy is flourishing.
Yet, through the social distancing, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place orders, music’s incredible power to offer solace and comfort in times of trauma has been amplified. Music’s “superpower” to nurture and console the human condition is by no means a new concept. However, what is unique is that rather than studying the concept, we are now experiencing it in real time. Yo Yo Ma’s recent performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Going Home has been viewed over 4.7 million times since being first shared on March 13. Videos and stories have emerged of Italian residents engaged in “group sings” from their balconies while under lockdown. Similar ‘group sings’ have emerged in cities across the United States, including Dallas and Boston. Cantus’ performance of Jean Sibelius’ hauntingly beautiful Finlandia Hymn has been shared over 6000 times since Friday. Although we are physically apart, music provides a way for us to connect and communicate.
With so much uncertainty in the world, one of the few things that remains clear is music’s essential role in human life. In times of great trauma and uncertainty, we turn to music.
In the coming weeks, we would love to feature your stories of collaborative music making in these uncertain times. To share your story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe and keep making music,