Well, it is officially a necessity for survival to accentuate the positive, look on the sunny side and find the silver linings. And music can do that for us. It has been giving me energy and perspective when I've needed it most.
Like when I showed up at the local Recital Club earlier this month to perform in a driveway with a keyboard to about 20 people sitting socially distanced and masked. Nathalie Fortin and I performed songs which had originally been prepared for a COVID-canceled professional recital. And do you know what? It was probably more enjoyable to perform in that setting than the paid gig would have been. Despite the lesser instrument, the lack of acoustics and despite the mosquitos, it made me feel whole again to see friends and share in what we love to do. We earned that enjoyment by struggling with disappointment this spring.
I also find this kind of solace in caring for my own children. They are teens and we have been helping them deal with the disappointments of this spring. There were low moments, but they have managed to have fun, learn new things, discover parts of themselves they didn't know, rediscover hobbies they used to have before high school, heal athletic injuries, and strengthen their own identities because they aren't constantly comparing themselves to friends. Those are all positive things that the kids will have earned because of their struggles through COVID.
Students help me, too. I'm sharing this video of my student Jordan Liddy, an in-coming high school senior, singing the song I can't get out of my head these days. Jordan first came to me during middle school with lots of painful tension in her throat and jaw and facing a looming performance of Fiddler on the Roof. She knew she needed help in order to be able to survive the performance and the preparation. She has come so far since then, as you can hear. So much ease and strength behind a perfectly lovely voice. She has worked calmly and carefully, full of self-respect for her own shyness and vocal challenges, and now she can share the balance that she earned through diligent work. For this recording, we opened all the windows, wiped down the piano with Clorox and invited Baird Quinn (another high school senior) to come play. It was worth the struggle!
We struggle at things in life by choice and by force and we earn powerful knowledge and skills. Society struggles, too, as we are all seeing. I have hope we'll earn something wonderful!