Whether you’re a classical soloist, a pop star, a choir director, in a marching band, a studio producer or taking guitar lessons for your own pleasure, there is a certain human thread that weaves through all musical activity. Never has togetherness seemed more precious than when it was taken away. As musicians, we thrive on collaboration, spontaneity, on improvising based upon the immediate feel. Even those who can produce and create completely alone need the breath of inspiration from outside life and experiencing others’ energy. How in this pandemic can musicians still be together albeit alone? What can one do in these times to still express their art, especially if it is dependent on a group setting?

Creativity across the globe seems to be at an all-time high. Ingenuity comes when factors are limited and you have to invent a new way. In the last two months, we have seen virtual choirs and instrumentalists pre-recording and arranging full scores of music. We have seen our performer friends go ‘live’ on various platforms. We have seen producers who may have not had to play or sing everything create self-arrangements. We have seen senior recitals performed in front of a zoom webcam. Perhaps you have never before attended an educational webinar but have registered for several on topics you would have never sought. Perhaps also you have never thought to host a webinar but felt compelled to share your knowledge or craft to a wider audience for the first time.

Technology is showing itself to be the hero in our musical community however it cannot replace the human touch, the sound of a violin echoing in the rafters of an acoustically perfect concert hall or the rush you get seeing your favorite band play a stadium tour.

We will return to a new-normal state and when we do, we will be bringing our new friend, this technology that has allowed us to reach audiences who would have never discovered us. We will play as an orchestra but might be inclined also to collaborate as a digital chamber group. We might book the local bar in Miami but also set up a live stream for our new fans in Austin.

We miss each other, but there is a comfort in knowing that we are all feeling a similar loss at the same time. There is a strength to surviving difficulties that will bond us even more strongly as a musical community. May we continue to be creative beyond this period of alone and forever cherish the specialness of what we do in a room together.

By Raina Murnak