Typical practice for one-to-one private music lessons involve teachers opening up their homes and inviting their pupils inside for an hour. Lessons have been part of my weekly timetable for years. I’ve driven for hours to benefit from these educational experiences. They are personal and nurturing. Overnight, along with concert bookings for months ahead, COVID-19 made them an impossibility.
The new norm requires me to go nowhere and involves technology. With the wonder of video calling and the saviour that we all know as ZOOM, my teacher is transported into my lounge. She is still able to guide me effectively, play the piano for warm up exercises, listen to me perform and keep tabs on my technique. We are still able to laugh together and plan for the future, despite its uncertainty.
Not having a specific exam, concert or audition to work towards means that maintaining impetus and focus is a challenge. No knowing when live music will next take place and what platforms will weather the storm is worrying.
One of the most remarkable things to come out of this pandemic, however, is the power and importance of music and the arts to bring people together, raise spirits and entertain. They have a special and relevant purpose in this world, to take people’s minds off their own lives and societies problems. To improve well-being. To provide comfort.
All artists know this. Musicians know this. That’s why they have lessons and practice endlessly, even now, with undetermined goals in sight. That’s why they share their talent freely and live humbly. I, for one, am thankful for the music.