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A COVID Perspective On School Band

With some schools being moved online and band classes being cancelled, many students have begun asking “What’s the point of playing an instrument?” It’s a fair question. This year, many performances have been cancelled, competitions scrapped, and festivals postponed indefinitely. However, the need for music is greater than ever and that includes students. Music is going to outlast COVID-19 and when it does, the musical world will open back up. Students have not ‘missed’ their opportunity to make music.

The timeline of being a musician is long. Playing music doesn’t end after high school or stop when you graduate college or have a child or get a ‘real job.’ I have students in their 60's who continue to take lessons, practice, and improve on their instrument. There is always more music to play, more exercises to learn, more room to grow. No musician has ever gotten to the end of their career and stated “I’m done, I learned all the music and I am as good as I want to be.”

COVID-19 has caused, for good reason, self-isolation to become the new social standard. This has been especially hard on musicians, who most often find joy playing with their musical peers. While necessary, this self-isolating will not last forever. Even during this time of social distancing, lessons are available through video chat (Skype, Zoom, Facetime) so experienced young musicians can continue to develop and beginning students can still take guided inaugural steps toward playing an instrument. When the time of social distancing ends, the musical world will come back to life. There will continue to be musicians to collaborate through bands, ensembles, and orchestras ranging in age, experience, and musical goals. If your musical interest can survive COVID-19, there will be a musical group out there for you.

So don’t stop investing in your growth as a musician. Don’t stop investing in your child’s growth as a musician. Plan for the long term, a lifelong interest in music. Continue to practice, upgrade your instrument, find new songs to play, record yourself and share your music with others. Music isn’t going to go away. Will you choose to be a part of it?