Music, Non-Essential? Really?!

I’d like to give you a sneak peek into musicians’ lives behind the scenes, so you can see with new eyes.

When COVID hit, composer premieres were cancelled, performers and their groups lost paying opportunities, pockets buttoned up, and musicians suffered like all other business owners. Our hearts broke. Yet, it wasn’t an enforced vacation for musicians. Self-supporting artists still had to practice or write daily to keep up their skills…with no promise of pay or unemployment checks or dinner. Where were the nightly press reports about that?

You know, I rarely talk about money, but there is a lot of press now about the financial disaster for waitresses, restaurants, mechanics, teachers, and business shut downs because of Covid. For good reason. They desparately need help. But I look daily for those who talk about music jobs lost or not funded. There is great suffering but a seeming lack of empathy and gratitude for this essential subsection of our culture. I say essential because I’d guess not one person in the midst of this tragedy is going without some source of music–whether CD, TV, or movies–for comfort. Those artists, however, head to the basement hungry to practice so we’ll have more CDs when this is all over.

Can You Go One Week Without Music?

Music may seem non-essential to some, maybe you, but is it really? Can you go a week without hearing it, being strengthened by it? Can you turn off the sound to a movie and feel the same depth it would take to draw those buried emotions to the surface and change your life?

So, am I to be convinced that music, including film scores, is not as essential to our spirit as food is to our body? May He who dwells in the praises of His people, forbid it.

We were born musicians, like some were born into other professionals. No one is non-essential. Essential is not something we have “to become.”

I’m not trying for a pat on the back. This is far bigger than me. We musicians pour our heart into the creation of music. We long to help you feel and walk through life a little stronger. Our music has been used to save some from suicide and severe depression. It has empowered people to take the next scary step. We’ve brought films to life that changed yours. Are we unworthy of inclusion on the list of essentials?

Do you really want to dismiss us as non-essential, optional, or unworthy of compassion?

A Caring Step in the Right Direction

If it is at all within your power, reach out and help those you know and glean from. Even a compassionate word with understand will fuel them. Then hand them a can of beans.

I’ve been a waitress, a candy stripper, a hostess, a sales person, a teacher, performer/conductor, receptionist at an auto repair, and run a successful cosmetic business. All these professions are suffering. So leave a big tip for your musicians, too. Buy some music to support an artist, watch an online dance performance and donate a few bucks, and continue to support your local businesses.

For the heartless among you who enjoy a good meal, stop stealing music online and give the artist his/her meal. We can’t change the pandemic, but this is a little step we humans can take for each other.

It will come back to us in spades.

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