Whoever said that probably hadn’t experienced a pandemic. As we enter the post-pandemic-new-normal, we are entering a season of change and reflection. Many lives have been forever altered. In March of 2020, we were forced to press pause. And given the climate of socio-political division in this country, this pause turned into a very long pause - in some cases, irreparably disrupting people’s lives. Reflecting on the restrictions, turmoil, and uncertainty, this experience has not left us where it found us.
This could not be more true than for students and teachers. Students had to keep studying and teachers had to keep teaching. Thanks to technology, the studying and teaching continued, albeit in altered fashion. Technology was there and working in real time to make this possible. Perhaps the biggest blessing is Zoom. This platform proved to be the most available, user friendly, and adaptable platform. And Zoom kept it that way – by improving its functionality as the pandemic wasn’t letting up. Resources were offered online at no cost to support ongoing education that ordinarily requires tuition and travel to in-person classes. Streaming services offered maximum content, including live cultural events and concerts we ordinarily wouldn’t have access to – in many cases at no cost - to help entertain, educate, and ease the stress of being “home alone” – or at home-not-so-alone. To be connected. And not just for our country, but for the world. What has come out of this experience is the recognition of the importance of internet connectivity going forward. The importance of connectivity across America has become a priority with Infrastructure Legislation introduced by the current Administration. What better experience could there have been to bring this point home and support this upgrade?
Student-teacher relationships have taken on a deeper appreciation. Teaching online is labor intensive. Students and teachers have had to go the extra mile to make online learning efficacious. And this effort has yielded remarkable results. We are no longer bound by in-person, or locale. This Pandemic has made us citizens of the world. A global community.
For all of the inconvenience, this experience has opened the door to possibilities we otherwise may have not explored.
Perhaps the biggest blessing is in the offing: the recovery and discovery of our resilience. As musicians, we are made to express ourselves through music. Others, through art. Nothing can stop the creative force within us from coming forth. That is the biggest blessing of all.