Reflections on gratitude during a pandemic year
2020…what a year! As I have been reading Thanksgiving posts of social media, I have noticed a similar theme of gratitude and grieving. This mixture of emotions was especially poignant in my heart while watching the Macy’s Day Parade yesterday. On the one hand, it was encouraging to see the detail and creativity put into creating and decorating the
floats that would only be viewed through a screen. But the emptiness of the floats and the streets, the quietness resulting from the absence of cheering crowds and marching bands and
Broadway singers was a stark reminder of the toll this disease has brought upon
this country and the world.
I have similar emotions of gratitude and grieving every time I watch a virtual choir or orchestra performance. How wonderful it is to see musicians practicing and recording in their own homes, and to hear the finished product! But I am also sad because I know that, no matter how good the technology is, it will never replace being in the same room and hearing the music live. I miss singing with my choir. I miss going to recitals at the university and local churches.
But in the midst of sorrow, there is much to be grateful for.
I am grateful for sound engineers and camera operators and people who have spent hours learning how to use video and sound editing technology to put together the virtual choirs and orchestras. I am grateful for opera companies who are using baseball stadiums to put on operas, and orchestras that are putting up plexiglass partitions and streaming their performances online. I am deeply grateful for the wonderful community of teachers around the world who I have connected with via Facebook, who have shared ideas, videos, and resources online. Connecting with other piano teachers around the world via weekly Zoom meetings was so encouraging professionally and personally during the spring and summer months. (Many thanks for Zohara Rotem for hosting these meetings).
My students and I have also benefited from the composers who took it upon themselves to write new music that would be interesting to play and accessible to teach online (thanks Wendy Stevens, Diane Hidy, Keith Snell, Carol Matz).
Because of the pandemic, I have become a better teacher.
I am learning to be a better business owner.
I have a deeper appreciation for the way music connects us, even when we are physically apart.
I have made new connections with teachers all over the world.
And so, even though I cannot be thankful for the pandemic itself, I am grateful for the way it acted as a catalyst to encourage me to grow.
May we all continue to view obstacles, large and small, as opportunities for growth.
I am a piano teacher who loves teaching music and discussing personality styles. I also enjoy playing music with others, whether that is chamber music, piano duets, or singing in a choir. My favorite composers are Bach and Haydn.