Looking back on March 2020, I swear I left for spring break with one idea of what my college career would look like, and came home with an entirely new one.
Within a week, half of my classes were cancelled. Music we had been rehearsing since the fall before was briskly swept from our hands, and our semester was suddenly done without a word of goodbye.
As music majors we spent the next two months figuring out what music meant in the digital landscape. Our professors cringed through Webex private lessons, the sounds of brass, woodwinds, percussion, and voices blasting through their laptop speakers.
We played through crackling internet connections and a multitude of unfortunate 3 minute video recordings which took hours upon hours to film until we finally surrendered to a less than perfect cut.
We did dictation from our bedrooms, scrambled to find a keyboards we could borrow, listened to our professors try to explain theory in the middle of their living room.
In that moment we thought it would be over soon. If we could only make it to the next semester this would all be over, and we can finally make music the way it was intended to be heard. We could pick up where we left off, and move on from the chaos of the previous year.
Little did we know, this semester would pose even more questions than the one before.
Research coming from a multitude of sources has been constantly governing and shaping our classroom environment. To stop the spread of viral droplets we made masks for our instruments, and then performance masks for our faces, as well as masks to pull up over our faces anytime we aren't playing.
We strung up plastic shower curtains in the middle of our professor's tiny offices, and now bring towels with us wherever we go.
This past Saturday the SEC announced bands will not be allowed on the field this year. Weeks into the semester, we still have no clue what our role will be for the rest of fall.
Regardless of the challenges, if you're a musician making music right now, know there is an entire community of people who empathize with the confusion you're feeling now. As music makers we know that during times like this, people need us. They need the beauty, skill, and intellectual engagement that occurs when watching a performance. While it may look different this year, rest assured that we will continue to play, sing, and perform, no matter the obstacles, and no matter the media in which we do it.