V.com weekend vote: Where are you in terms of reengaging with live music?

May 22, 2021, 6:43 PM · In areas around the world where COVID-19 cases are decreasing and vaccination rates are increasing, suddenly "in-person" activities have become more feasible, both in terms of government regulations and personal comfort levels.

For music students, teachers, professionals and amateurs - this likely means a return to in-person musical activities, such as lessons, orchestra, chamber music and live concerts.

playing together

Are you in an area where things are opening up? And what does it mean for your own musical activities?

As a teacher, player and performer myself, I'm looking at this from a number of angles. First, I've been teaching via Zoom for more than a year and actually have not seen my 18 students in person for as long! Many are quite young and will seem a foot taller when I see them. Now that my entire family is fully vaccinated, I'm looking forward to summer as a transitional period when I'll see them more and more in person, starting next week. Basically, I'm working with everyone's comfort levels, as well as the fact that it will be a logistical transition to start showing up again every week. With younger unvaccinated children, we may still be wearing masks for a while.

As far as playing is concerned, I was really thrilled to play quartets a number of weeks ago with friends (thanks Paul Stein!), and we'll do so again in a few weeks. SO nice to play with other people again, and it gives me an excuse to practice (especially when Paul kicks me off my second-violin comfy chair and makes me play first violin!)

When it comes to performing in orchestra, this will take longer. Those local orchestras that are giving concerts still tend to be playing with reduced ranks. Also many churches are still not open for in-person services, so church gigs are rather scarce. Still, I'm feeling enthusiastic and more in the mood to practice these days, knowing that at least some possibilities exist!

Have you started reengaging with live music, and how so? Have you started taking or teaching lessons in-person again? Have you started playing chamber music? Has your professional or amateur orchestra started up again? Have you attended or played in any live concerts? Or are you waiting for things to start up in your area? Please choose the answer that best matches your situation, then tell us about it in the comments. Has it been easy, getting back to "normal," or is it slow-going?

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Replies

May 23, 2021 at 01:04 AM · My flute quartet met last week for the first time in ages. (When I went to order our traditional take-n-bake pizza, I saw that my last order was March 10, 2020!) We fell back into what was once a twice-monthly routine with ease. It was paradise! The next night I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing Tessa Lark perform live with our symphony. Although it was incredibly strange to see the magnificent Tennessee Theatre with such a small crowd (due to continued distancing restrictions by the venue), I almost cried when the conductor walked on stage and the live music began.

May 23, 2021 at 01:21 AM · I'm anxiously awaiting July when I'll stage manage my first live opera since a year ago March - even though we never actually performed it in March. We shut down on the day of the final orchestra dress. Sad. In July Opera Maine will be at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, ME, a 1900 seat roadhouse which has just allowed us to have 100% capacity! However, they only want 90 minutes with no intermission. So we've made lots of cuts to Elixir. Then in the fall it looks like most everything else will be back to normal. Finally!

May 23, 2021 at 05:20 AM · California is opening up as a state on June 15. I'm planning to ask my string quartet if they'd like to practice together starting then. My viola teacher is still teaching remotely--her youngest child has just a week or two ago been able to get the COVID vaccine.

May 23, 2021 at 06:09 AM · There haven't been a lot of live concerts to attend in my area (Sacramento, CA); there was a socially distanced, outdoor piano quintet concert today that I would have wanted to attend, but I was unable to attend because my sister is visiting with her family (including two very noisy children aged 4 and 1).

I've started rehearsing again with my orchestra, which has resumed very cautiously: string orchestra only, outdoors, masked and distanced. No performance scheduled, though there has been some (as yet unsuccessful) effort toward securing a venue for an outdoor performance. We expected to return to normal for the 2021-22 season, unless something goes seriously wrong with the US recovery from the pandemic.

May 23, 2021 at 11:26 AM · Still isolating, but not because of the pandemic. Things are opening up here in north-central AL, USA, but my schedule keeps me away from live performances. Not a teacher and no longer a student. No chamber music for now -- couldn't fit it into the schedule till late summer anyway. I recently re-started daily pracice after a 3-month break, much shorter than Hilary Hahn's hiatus --

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20214/28740/

-- so I'm concentrating now on the basics of bow-arm work, Schradieck exercises, scales, shifts, double-stops. Now, almost 2 weeks since the break ended, I estimate I've regained about 85% of what I had before. Expect to be all the way back within the next week, based on past experience.

May 23, 2021 at 11:51 AM · My orchestra returned to live performances (masked and distanced) in February, and I began offering in-person lessons (masked, distanced, windows open) once I was fully vaccinated.

May 23, 2021 at 04:58 PM · One of my orchestras restarted, small, last week. I have done a couple of small ensemble recording sessions. I continued doing in person lessons with a reduced number of students who were willing to continue. The Mariachi continued working about half of our usual schedule during most of the year, with outside parties, private, off-the-books, without government supervision. Now that our state is opening that business is coming back double, with more offers than can fit in a weekend. People have been postponing their parties for a year, and have some extra government money to spend.

May 23, 2021 at 11:04 PM · I had thirty people over last Sunday for a house concert. The performers were professional musicians. No masks were required and I don’t recall anyone wearing one.

I have been to a symphony concert but the spacing and masking requirements are all fear and no science. I won’t be back until they relax that.

May 24, 2021 at 04:43 AM · I've been of very mixed emotions about the opening up of society, but the summer season of the Colorado Music Festival looks pretty damn good, so I might venture out under the auspices of a promising concert season.

May 24, 2021 at 12:13 PM · I have started up playing wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours in Eastern NC...

May 24, 2021 at 02:43 PM · One of my orchestras returned to outdoor rehearsals (following guidelines) about one month ago.

I have returned to taking lessons face to face, and giving lessons face to face where my students are comfortable with it. I have received my first dose of the vaccine too, so that helps enormously.

My other orchestra's first rehearsal is this evening, but we are operating at very limited numbers.

May 25, 2021 at 07:50 PM · Here in British Columbia we're still under a pretty strict "circuit breaker" protocol, including travel restrictions. This is up for review this week, and hopefully the infection rate will be dropping enough to start to open things up a bit. I've already talked to my bluegrass buddies and they'll be ready for a socially-distanced jam - preferably outdoors - if the health numbers look good. As for classical music, our orchestra will be down at least until the fall, although it's probably time to look for a little quartet action.

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