What doesn't change
The fingers stroke the keys. Notes sing from wood, felt, and steel. Bit by bit, the new becomes a familiar friend. Bit by bit, order emerges from cacophony and chaos. The keys absorb our stories, our love, and (sometimes) our frustration. In the landscape of the score we find a kindred spirit. In the quest to create music from black dots on a page, we find ourselves. This is why we play.
This year, everything’s changed. Yet, at the deepest and most important level, music lives on. It’s in the house concerts we offer to neighbors through open doors and windows. It’s in the videos we send to family or post on social media. It’s in the daily routine of notes and instrument, fingers on keys, hearts and minds temporarily liberated from temporal worries—free to be bathed in a world of measured sound and silence. This is where we bear the uncertainty of the unknown; this is where we “park our fears,” grieve what’s lost, and find the equanimity to live graciously in the world.
No one knows how the music industry will change as a result of this pandemic, but I know that it will survive. As bad as this has been (and may continue to be), our need to make and listen to music is stronger than any adversity. Some of the ways we’ve listened to music will change; some of the ways we’ve made our living as musicians will change. But the new will appear and we will adapt. This situation is temporary. Music is immortal.
What doesn’t change? Sound, silence, and the way these two things can speak to every part of ourselves. What doesn’t change? The thrill of discovery and creative work. What doesn’t change?—the blissful moment when we’re given the chance to be co-creator of something beautiful. This is our home in a world of uncertainty.