The MET just announced the remainder of their season is canceled. Drum companies large and small are laying off staff, cutting projects. Music for All has canceled their marching band season, and the 2021 National Festival. These are trying times for musicians. The idea of just "looking to something else" or "staying positive" feels empty.
This isn't just a normal economic downturn, where weaker businesses are killed off and the market shifts. Otherwise healthy arts orgs are in danger of closing forever.
So, what do we do? As teachers, performers, educators - what is the answer. Truthfully, it is a very personal decision. I have never blamed anyone for changing careers from artist to...whatever. It has always made sense. Highly trained musicians are generally smart and hard working, it can be easier to thrive in another field. No one should feel ashamed for making a change.
What am I doing? Trying to learn, trying to think about what the field will look like after COVID. Trying to react to the current state of our country, and think about what is coming next. Even with the bad news, there are many reasons to be hopeful. Some University programs (like Mason) are able to function during covid. I'm teaching in person. The University of the South (host institution for SSMF) is handling COVID VERY well. We are building an online WinterFest, and planning for various options during the summer of 2021.
Mostly, I'm trying to prepare, personally, and prepare my students and programs, for what is coming next. Many think the world will go back to normal after COVID. I find that hard to believe. After 9/11, there were those who thought we would never fly again. Of course, we did. I always believed we would, and was on one of the first flights our of Reagan post 9/11, on a tour with the National Symphony. However, the WAY we fly is totally different. From TSA to water bottles to precheck and Pre-Screening, the flying experience is totally different now.
People will always make music, and young musicians will always want to study music. Cities and states will value their arts ORGs...if those ORGs are engaged in the community....However, the WAY we consume music, as audience members and educators, will be vastly different. I we are not preparing our students and ORGs for this, now, we are failing them.
Welcome! I am a percussionist, conductor and artistic leader who drinks a lot of coffee.