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Music in a time of crisis

By Linda Crawford

I have had the pleasure of teaching a new course at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute this year: an after-school Music-for-Credit class. We had a talented group of 17 students who explored both vocal and instrumental music of all genres. I asked the students to reflect on the role of music in their Covid-19 lockdown lives. For many, Music provided a link to the “outside world”, and helped to pass the time or lessen their loneliness. These teens are very aware of the unique role Music has been playing, during the pandemic isolation. I would like to share some excerpts from their essays.

“In quarantine…we all soon found out that being home 24/7 is not as fun as it sounded. I’ve always thought that listening to music is a different kind of understanding, like the way the lyrics correspond to the beat and the mood of the melody. Before this whole thing let loose, you probably wouldn’t expect a silly little song of 50 seconds would be put on the news, but due to the deep meaningful messages about loved ones being lost or sick, we all understand. Not only does it give us sympathy for these people…but it encourages people to stay home.” (Emilie Cardinal)

“I have started listening to many different kinds of music…I feel that isolation has made me more curious about music, and all the different intricacies throughout the many different genres. It is quite inspiring in this time of crisis.” (Chloe Harris)

“In this incredibly strange time, people are being forced to adapt to a new way of life. A majority of our communication with the outside world is restricted to the Internet. Music has been a comfort to people for an exceedingly long time, and this has not changed. Online music has helped me through this, as well as providing some very entertaining listening while I do my work from home.”(Jude Southgate)

“During these difficult times, most people are feeling discouraged, uninspired, and sad. Some of us may listen to sad songs to remind us that we aren’t the only ones feeling this way. Others may listen to happy and uplifting songs to make ourselves feel better. I have taken a liking to music from the 40s and 50s.” (Paige Simard)

“ During this pandemic…I have been on my phone and computer more often than usual due to social distancing…I stumbled upon a video…and was introduced to a new genre of music that I never heard before. It is called Boogie-woogie, and I laughed the first time I heard it.” (Luke Cabal)

“Usually when I’m really depressed, I’ll just put on one of my favourite songs; then I’m fine after.” (Jena Benoit)

“In times like these, more than ever, it is crucial that communities stay connected, and that as a nation we are united to support one another. Music is a wonderful way to do this. Whether it be through witty song lyrics, or the ring of church bells, music brings people together. I think that having so many artists come out with music from home has been truly wonderful. I believe this has sparked positivity and brought light to a dark period.” (Anna Kouao)

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