Ava Harmon ’21
Music is important. It always has been, but feels even more so in this time of mass cancellations and closures, widespread sheltering, and change. You can see its importance— like its calming effect and ability to help build community—when our own alum Brandon Bell (PSD ’18) sings "His Eye is On the Sparrow," when Yo-Yo Ma participates in the #songsofcomfort movement by playing “Going Home,” or as quarantined Tenor Maurizio Marchini performs “Nessun Dorma” from his balcony in Florence.
A few weeks ago, I spoke with members of SFCM’s artistic faculty about the importance of music. In the spirit of bringing a bit of good into this space of uncertainty, I feel that now is the best time to share their uplifting answers. So, here are their responses—they’re full of light and of wisdom.
Brass Chair Adam Luftman
“[Music] is a way to bring people from many different backgrounds together to share something beautiful and thought-provoking. In this increasingly divided and distracted society, music allows performers and audience members to feel something and communicate with one another without speaking. Though music affects everyone differently—depending on their taste and current frame of mind—it truly has the power to bring us together to experience something not only entertaining, but meaningful.”
Sound Engineer Kelley Coyne
“Music is important to me because it’s one of the only things that stops time. When I’m listening to something that I really love or [when I’m] singing, I’m able to get out of the day in a way that not a lot of things do for me. I record and I get to stop the thoughts in the self. It's so hard, day to day, constantly being aware and music allows you to get out of that awareness in a way that’s so beautiful. We get to connect through that too. When you see someone who’s just really lost in their music, it's just so beautiful and that part of you gets enlightened.”
Faculty Member Matt Worth
“Music is important to me because it helps me to express [myself]. We have so many different avenues we can use of expressing ourselves in 2020, but there’s something that’s wonderful about the creation of music and the self. The creation of music, the playing of music, the singing of music, the listening to music seems to draw us into something that's a little more real. It’s something that allows for connectivity and empathy, and all of these wonderful sorts of catchwords that are so easily thrown around. But, really when we do it, it actually does make those amazing qualities present. Music makes that happen, and that’s why [it] is important.”
This path is uncharted. Who knows what will happen in the days or weeks to come, but as I was reminded today by my best friend, we should focus on the things we can do instead of the things we can’t. Can we call the ones we love? Can we sing to our neighbors across the street? Can we play, or listen to, music so we feel a bit more whole? Whatever it is we can do, we should do it.
To everyone reading, I hope you all are healthy and safe. I hope that this brings you a bit of calm during this time and I hope that you let music envelop you—that you let music show you its importance as we navigate the unknown together.
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