“I suppose you don’t have much to do anymore?” is a question I’ve been asked quite often in the last few months. Well, the opposite is true! Fortunately, I hasten to add.
When the corona crisis began, I indeed imagined that I’d have loads of time for all that overdue tidying up. But those piles have only grown higher in the meantime because fortunately, there was such a thing as ZOOM and the private lessons with adults could continue online. Of course, nothing beats live teaching but I’m so glad that my students have been able to continue singing.
It’s also had a positive side: where previously someone might have had to cancel for some perfectly plausible reason, I now get an app asking: “Can we ZOOM?” and the lesson simply goes ahead. My own world has also become much larger (or smaller, depending on how you look at it). A year or so ago, I could not have imagined meeting singers from America, England, Italy, Germany and Japan online.
In the meantime, an online Advent calendar and Easter calendar have seen the light of day, both of which I’m sure I would never have made if COVID had not completely messed up our (singing) world. Very time-consuming projects perhaps, but all the grateful and enthusiastic responses have more than made up for that. And something else that made it special was that I got to know many new singers and composers. Don’t get me wrong, I would still much rather have had a completely Covid-free world and not have made those calendars…
Fortunately, the children’s choir classes are once again singing live every week. When we all had to stay at home, the online teaching videos were a great alternative but didn’t quite work for playing singing games. There’s nothing quite like seeing all those happy, elated faces when we get to play Ringeringerouwe again and we can’t repeat it often enough! And nothing can compare with the moment that a child makes a huge leap forward in sight-singing for example. I’m actually rather jealous; if only I could have learnt it that way when I was young.
It really upsets me to hear how many singers have stopped, either because they’re afraid or because they don’t like singing ‘through’ such a screen. Of course, it doesn’t compare to singing together and experiencing the magic of a choral sound – it’s not for nothing after all that people who are depressed or lonely are advised to start singing.
The added value and all the advantages of singing have been known for a long time. It’s good for the health of mind, body and soul. Which is why I can only make a plea for keeping on singing, even if it’s only at home with someone on the other side of the screen. Despite screen fatigue, people always tell me afterwards that they’re glad to have sung again. Give it a try, and recharge yourself with singing vitamins!
Corona crisis or not, let me have plenty to do; those stacks will still be there in a few weeks’ time (though not months I hope…) and they’re not in my way. I’ll just tackle them singing or have a playlist of favourite golden oldies blasting out from my speakers!