A day doesn't pass that I don't speak with a mom or dad about how their child is dealing with the pandemic. Since they are calling a violin shop, it usually revolves around their child's musical endeavors or progress. For so many young people, music is a social activity that puts them into the classroom with their peers; for many, that is their only class together. For others, it is their weekend chamber music group that they regularly rehearse together with. And for countless others, it is playing in large ensembles such as youth orchestras, choirs, church bands, etc.
COVID has all but eliminated or severely changed much of the social elements of music making thus, for some, taking "the fun" out of it. As an adult, I get the concept of this, but being an adult, I have other things I worry about, like my children and family's health, my mortgage, my business, etc. In other words, I am caught up with the "adult life" and am marching on, because that is what we have to do. But, had COVID happened when I was a young person, I am sure I would have struggled a lot with not taking part in the musical outlets like Monday night youth symphony rehearsal, lunchtime choir practice, or late night high school musical rehearsals that brought me so much joy.
Now, we are on the cusp of the vaccine's rollout and hopefully a successful return to "normal", but it is not here yet. There will still be some time in which we will need to maintain our distance and keep our safety protocols up. So the question is how can we help our children, who have been real troopers during this challenging period, maintain focus, a sense of wonder and exploration, and above all a positive and healthy attitude?
Here are some tips that I have seen young people do with great success:
- Encourage your child to explore music outside of their normal repertoire! There is a lot of wonderful music that has been arranged for string instruments (pop, jazz, rock, movie, fiddle, etc.), and that can be a lot of fun and stress-relieving to learn.
- Have your student set up an online music club with friends, where they can play repertoire together, watch music videos together or for each other, and just create an online community (obviously with adult supervision) of like minded young people in a safe environment.
- There are some fun apps where your young musician can collaborate with their colleagues online to perform as a group! They each submit their own videos and then they can be put together to play in sync! It is a lot of fun and pretty easy to do with some simple apps on your device or computer.
- Get outside and exercise - Houston, we are moving into our springtime soon (the next 10 day forecast is all 60s and 70s!). Nature was an inspiration for Beethoven on his daily walks and it can be for you and your family too!
Stay safe out there, be healthy, and hope to see you all in person soon!