Nobody is disputing the negative impact of the pandemic, but is there an upside?
I was responsibly practicing social distancing when I began to think...
Can we benefit in the long term from this awful pandemic?
Recently, I wrote an article about some of the ways musicians can make money during the coronavirus pandemic. It is a troubling time for all of us.
The short term impact is obvious — health problems, job loss, financial difficulties, cabin fever... and many other issues.
While I'll admit that I'm no prognosticator, I'm going to guess that there will also be long term changes in society at the conclusion of this crisis.
For one, there is the great possibility that many of our social norms will be irrevocably altered.
Quite a few people are likely to continue making minimal contact with others. At the very least, people are less likely to be offended or put off by someone who prefers a fist bump over a hand shake or hug.
Additionally, people's shopping habits will probably shift somewhat.
Necessity has forced some to discover the wonderful world of shopping online. Virtually everything is available on the internet through Amazon or other online vendors.
With movie theaters like AMC in trouble, people are resorting to streaming their movies at home. If this crisis lasts long enough, people just might become less comfortable with watching movies in theaters and more comfortable watching in their living rooms.
People may decide to continue this lifestyle post coronavirus.
The future of classical music
What does the future hold? Who knows... but I'm suggesting that there are some ways that things may change in the future for classical music. I'll put forth three ways that things could change for the better.
Expand the repertory
Through streaming, audiences have broadened because of the sheer number of people that can be reached worldwide. Why not broaden the number of new works as well?
This is an opportunity to offer something new and fresh. New solo works or chamber works that include electronics would work well on the streaming platform.
Increase in diversity
Along with expanding the repertory, comes more diversity, not just in the creation of new works, but with the musicians who present them. This is a chance for minority musicians to get more exposure.
The film industry will tell you that streaming and video on demand are more lucrative financially than showing films in movie theaters.
Streaming provides an opportunity to reach more people. It's much more convenient to watch a performance from the comfort of home.
Creative use of technology
People are starting to become innovative when it comes to the use of technology and its application in the world of music.
More and more, people are becoming comfortable with teaching online, streaming performances online, producing audio tracks in home studios, and selling albums on websites.
Some musicians are banding together to support each other on Youtube by subscribing to each others' channels and building their numbers.
There is no reason to believe that these practices won't continue after the resolution of this pandemic and hopefully they will.
A little optimism...
I know these days it can be easy to be pessimistic. I'm certainly not trying to pretend that everything is going to instantly get better overnight.
However, I'm optimistic that things in classical music can change for the better over time. That time can start now.
By expanding the repertory, increasing diversity, and creatively using technology, classical composers and musicians can change the way people enjoy music today, tomorrow, and beyond.
So, what do you think? Is this a good time to plan forward? Am I being too optimistic? Let me know in the comments section below...