Grief – its place in our musical life

This will be an interesting blog post to come back to in years to come. How will we all feel about the global pandemic that we have, and still currently are, going through. 2020 – the year of loo roll shortages, not to mention the difficulty finding flour and eggs! And here we are in 2021 – there is hope on the horizon, with a vaccination coming into effect and signs of getting to the end of our current lockdown here in the UK.

This pandemic has had a massive impact, not only on the numbers who have sadly died or been affected by the virus itself, but in everything. The economy has been damaged, our mental health has taken a massive hit, children have spent the best part of a year with parents as their teacher… industries are starting to crumble and music is no different to any other.

With the closure of venues and looking like the summer festival circuit will have to be suspended, not to mention all the hoo ha with Brexit, the music industry seems yet again to be about to face another difficult moment.

But music in the pandemic did bring people together.

Many embraced online learning and there was some sense of normality with online exams. There were live streamed gigs and with annoying online issues there was a great surge in people of all ages and ability levels taking part in online jam sessions and workshops.

And sheet music saw its biggest boost in sale for years, so there was a lot of music happening.

But.

A lot of professional musicians now find themselves exhausted or sadly according to a recent poll they have either left or will be soon leaving the music industry.

Why? When music is so important for our mental health and well being are we turning away from what gives us joy?

I think this goes beyond money and employment and missing performing.

I think we have got to the stage where we need to stop, collectively and individually. It has been a year.

A whole year.

Let me just say that again.

It has been a year.

A year of stress. A year of uncertainty. A year of severe worry and panic, not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones, our friends and others. And worry for the world as we are all trying to find an end to this desperately difficult stage.

We need time to grieve. Not only for lost friends and family and those affected by covid-19 directly.

We all need to grieve for our own losses. The loss of our freedom to just nip out to the shops or for a coffee. The loss of seeing our friends and family. The loss of unimportant celebrations. The loss of just being able to walk down the street without worrying about potential risks.

We need to grieve for lost performances. For lost time, for lost income. For lost energy.

We are all still pushing on and moving forward. But I think we need to take a moment.

To allow ourselves to grieve for what we have lost, because it has been massive.

Then we can heal. Then we can move on. Then we will find the energy to paint, to play, to practice.

But until we allow ourselves that moment to acknowledge and accept that we have lost. That we need to grieve. Then I don’t think we will truly get our music centre back.

Remember if you need to stop playing. Then do it.

If you need to turn your back to music. Do it.

It will always be there when you are ready to return.

Time your time and return when it’s right.