The Fallout has affected all of us. Whatever your status, the pandemic has impacted us all with memories we won’t easily forget. Depression and anxiety have increased. Speaking with a couple of friends, I was surprised how concerned they were about their lack of motivation. I asked them; “What is it?” The deaths, the violence and the isolation of the last few years; the high prices in the grocery store; the high price of gas were immediate responses. In the music industry our suppliers, distributors have raised prices 2-3 times in as many years. On top of that, so many items are backordered. A custom drum set normally takes a couple of months. Now that same kit will take 6-8 months for delivery. That’s a long stretch to wait for something you planned and saved for.
In New York City, rents always high, have increased tremendously. Because of the exodus of New Yorkers at the beginning of the pandemic, apartments became available. In order to fill vacancies landlords lowered previous rents to entice new tenants. Now that those leases have expired the rents in many places have doubled. The tenants have had to move to more affordable places, often from one borough to another, or to another area. That’s a hassle!
The Arts, of course, have been affected tremendously. Orchestras, music venues, all playing catch up. The dance world also hard hit. Many Broadway shows got closing notices. Schools closing disrupting all the arts programs and the list goes on.
Now, for the good news! Concerts are back. Clubs, schools are open and less people are getting violently sick. The economy will take a while to recover. But it will. And the good news for those of us involved in music, is we are involved in music. We have a gift that does keep giving. Player or listener we have the ability to transport ourselves into another dimension. The “outside” world doesn’t exist for that period of time being occupied by the music. I consider it a spiritual experience. Can’t say everyone feels that. I do know the language of music is unlike our day-to-day language. It’s a unique vocabulary and we are fortunate to be able to tap in and out. Painting also has that ability to create a unique language. So many similarities between the two. I can understand why so many musicians like to paint. The use of creative imagination with its own language. Maybe another result of the fallout is the appreciation for what we have as music/art lovers. The realization of what we possess and who we are.
I received a book a few years after you opened the shop, The Courage to Create
by Rollo May, which inspires me to this day. I too feel this gift to be an artist, and plan to continue on the path. Bb
How comforting it was to read your helpful words after these trying 27+ months and counting. I have so missed our Drummer’s World ‘hangs’ when I was in town from 1983 – 2003. My, how our world has changed.
Personally, I just played just my 3rd gig since the pandemic struck so suddenly two years ago, in early March. You remember, the ‘Democratic Hoax’ as it was politicized back then – as countless tens of thousands were dying in our communities and around the world. My private studio (at a prominent eastern university) dropped from 6 to 10 students to just ‘1’ for the following 3 semesters. Nothing though compared to my private piano teaching colleague & university accompanist, who had for nearly 3 decades taught 24 – 32 students each semester, not to mention the handful of annual recitals. He depended upon that work to support his family, including an infirmed mother.
Yes, indeed, this period has been a serious challenge for absolutely everyone, perhaps especially those young and in the arts, yet with any such challenges comes with it fresh opportunities. As artists, I’ve always felt our first job is to spread realistic optimism, hope, joy, and love. The second, perhaps, is to provide apt social commentary.
May everyone find a way to look at their glasses as half-full, anew. Yes, again, the at their best the arts are a certain conduit to discovering spirituality & peace — both personally and as a community. Find a way, everyone . . . Or, as the Nike ads so often intones, “Just do it.”
My Favorite Things:
Thanks for this “speak” Barry! I am a retired band director (2005) but was very fortunate to keep a fairly active performing schedule between a weekly/percussion/timpani church gigs, a big band, and a wonderful “Matty Matlock” style band. I was also very involved in public school band adjudication, clinics, etc. along with lessons and practicing. Of course, in March of 2020, ALL of that ceased! My motivation to practice went down the tubes and I went 333 days without any type of musical outlet. The good news for my wife and me is that we have a teacher’s pension, so our financial situation was not really affected. We were very lucky in that regard and are very aware that millions of citizens were not that fortunate. In Dallas/Ft. Worth, at the present, the professional music scene is emerging wonderfully. I have heard the Fort Worth and Dallas Symphony give amazing performances in the fall of 2021 and this spring of 2022. The jazz scene is making a comeback and we are fortunate to be less than an hour from The University of North Texas where all manner of world-class performances happen and most of them or free or very inexpensive. My wife and I enjoyed an evening this past week at a Denton wine bar and heard my friend Ed Soph and his trio perform. They were as good as any trio in the country! My total bill with a cover charge, 4 glasses of wine (2 each) was less than $60.00. I consider that a wonderful deal for what we experienced. My own personal schedule is beginning to pick up, the church gig is back, some more gig opportunities, and I began practicing again just this week. Your “Barry Speaks” was very timely and has inspired me as well! btw……my nesting drum kit is closing in on its 20th birthday and is still sounding GREAT!!! Hopefully, a trip to NYC will be in our future soon, Regards,