In an isolating pandemic, music serves as a crucial way for us to cope
By: Jesica Martinez de Hoz, Contributor
The arts are repeatedly seen as non-essential. Yet, as COVID-19 has heightened issues in our economic, social and political structures, we look to music not only as a distraction from the outside world but as a means of connection.
Though it may seem like more than a lifetime ago, if you think back to March of this year you might remember the viral story about people all over Italy stepping out onto their balconies and joining together in song. After being restricted to their homes due to a country-wide lockdown, many Italians chose to use music as a way to keep their spirits up and stay in touch throughout an extremely distressing time.
A lot of musicians, rather than singing from the rooftops, have been using this time indoors to concentrate on making music. While some artists, like Taylor Swift, were able to write, record and make music videos for an entire album during the pandemic, others have had to come up with innovative ideas on how to collaborate and continue creating. Yet, regardless of any new struggles they have to face, the pandemic has not stopped musicians from making music.
Thank goodness for that. While this was happening across the globe, many Canadian students, including myself, were finishing up the winter 2020 semester online. Now, more than ever, do we need music to help us get by. Just as musicians use their songs as a way to express themselves, we listen to them in order to brighten our mood, better understand our own emotions or simply escape. Whether it was used to pass the time or as a diversion from current events, the amount of media consumed rapidly increased.
Music has helped me cope with the events of the last couple of months through a radio show which I host on CFMU, McMaster University’s community radio station. In being able to produce a new show every week, I’m given a creative outlet to share my thoughts, as well as the chance to promote the artists who have helped me de-stress while being stuck inside.
In being able to produce a new show every week, I’m given a creative outlet to share my thoughts, as well as the chance to promote the artists who have helped me de-stress while being stuck inside.
At first, it was difficult to transition from recording live at the station, to trying to figure out how to use GarageBand all by myself. However, like many musicians, in forcing me to adapt, this pandemic has provided me with the opportunity and incentive to learn a new skill that I would have never otherwise attempted.
With several of CFMU’s hosts also taking steps to record their shows from home, the station has continued to act as a bridge between the McMaster and Hamilton communities during this period of isolation. Locally and globally, radio is helping musicians remain connected with their fans and listeners stay connected within their communities, showing yet another one of the music’s many influences.
We often take for granted how substantial music is in our daily lives, even before COVID-19. Yet, whether it’s an outlet for us to be creative and express ourselves, a diversion from stressful current events or a way to feel connected, music has been an essential way for many to manage in this pandemic.