Music practice in times of Coronavirus
Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, many of us are spending a long time at home. Hygiene measures, social distance and isolation are, for now, the only weapons we have against the virus. But even if we never actually get sick, the entire context can be extremely stressful! You shouldn’t only wash your hands and stay at home: you should take care of your mental health as well, and in that sense, music practice can be a great relief from stress and worries. Here are a few tips that may come in handy!
The importance of hygiene
Coronavirus has taken over the world not because of its mortality, which is not as high as some of its “cousins”, such as the SARS or MERS, but because of its high rate of contagion. The good news is that we can easily inactivate this virus with simple hygiene measures. You have heard it before, but let’s insist on the importance of washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water! Of course, you should do it (for at least 20 seconds) whenever you come into your home, and before preparing or having food, but when it comes to music practice, before and after you play your instrument would be a great time too.
The virus can live on surfaces as well. It is said to last for up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, or even up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. The truth is scientists don’t know for sure how long after a surface becomes contaminated someone could get infected by touching it. In any case, the advice is to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces with a solution of bleach and water. Make sure you check the facts the CDC published on cleaning and disinfection of household.
When it comes to musical instruments, if possible avoid sharing them (especially the ones you blow, for obvious reasons). It wouldn’t hurt to wipe them clean with a household disinfectant. For instance, you can clean your guitar strings, the keys of your piano and the mouthpiece of your saxophone. Let them dry before putting everything away. Keep the music playing and stay safe!
Keeping a routine is vital!
Now that most of us are away from schools and offices, that we spend most of our time indoors and that our daily lives seem like nothing as they used to be, we should still try to focus on keeping a routine for our mind’s sake. Waking up early, getting dressed even if you are working from your home office, taking some time to do exercise and talking to your beloved ones can help you stay calm.
Of course, if you play an instrument, you should include the music practice as part of your routine. It can bring you a much-needed pleasure to your day! If you find it hard to stay focused, turn off the news and put your phone down for a while! Playing your instrument can keep you concentrated for longer periods, improving your attention span and calming down your anxiety.
You can find anything online
Ok, so you are not a musician yet, and you’d love to get started now that you have the time. That’s great! On the other hand, how can you buy a new violin if all the music stores in your local area are closed? Easy: shop online! Most big stores still offer door-to-door delivery, and you can get everything you need to keep the music playing, from a new set of guitar strings to plenty of sheet music to download.
What’s more important, the quarantine should not stop you from taking music lessons! Every day, more music instructors are getting their checklist done for teaching online lessons, which offer all kinds of advantages: no commuting time, you can take the lessons in your pajamas, and you can even choose a teacher from anywhere in the world! What are you waiting to sign up for online music lessons too?
Music as a social bond
I live in Buenos Aires and yesterday we started the third week of quarantine. Last night, as every night, the people in my city came out to the balconies and terraces to clap their hands at 9 PM. We do this to express our gratitude to all those doctors, nurses, cashiers, supermarket clerks, police officers, etc. who are still working to fight the virus and to keep us fed and safe.
So while we are at it, one of my neighbors put a speaker out the window and started singing: first, the national anthem, but then he sang a tango, some popular rock songs, and even a few hits from Queen. Let me say, even the very own Freddy Mercury wouldn’t have generated a bigger response! We were thrilled! Everyone was clapping and singing along, cheering him up and asking for more songs. It was a moment of light and happiness in a time of darkness and uncertainty. It made me think about the power of music to create and strengthen social bonds.
So what if you live in an isolated area with no neighbors around? You can still offer a performance for your partner, your children, or friends and family members that live far away –again, you can do it online! The important thing is that you will bring a ray of sunshine to their day –and yours as well.
We’ll eventually get through it –make the best out of it!
We are going through a historical time that is hard for all of us –and some people are suffering more than others. We cannot change the situation. But we get to choose how we live it. I like to think that after all of this is finally behind us, we’ll have learned and grow.
No matter where you live, all of these suggestions will help you take care of your health and family during these hard times no one imagined we would experience, but that we are living through, and we have to do it as best as possible. We hope you find comfort in music!