March 20, 2020. That was the last day of spring break. We should have been planning and preparing for a return to school, but a coronavirus pandemic had been declared in the days prior. The announcement led to a rash of closures, a run on grocery stores for necessary supplies and some that weren’t necessary, and a whole set of social distancing standards that included basic hygiene guidelines (wash your hands, don’t touch your face, etc.).
The initial closures included schools, restaurants, sporting events, and eventually included places of worship. My kids knew, even before it was announced, that school would not reconvene the following Monday after spring break. No big deal, they enjoyed the extra time off from school. We worked hard to maintain a schedule, up at 8 a.m., breakfast, feed the animals, do your schoolwork which was provided for free by many tutoring and homeschooling websites. We did it so that returning to school wouldn’t be difficult. It was a noble effort.
After chores and “schoolwork” was done, it was free time. My daughter chose to practice her music for her solo band ensemble pieces. She practiced and practiced and played and it was beautiful. My house was filled with the joy of music and her excitement of playing the marimba – an instrument that she had never played before the start of her sophomore year. But the days wore on. Start dates were pushed back because the virus showed no signs of slowing down. With every extension of a cancellation or every announcement of a competition being cancelled, her desire to play dwindled. The music became stale. But there was hope!
Schools were allowed to develop a teaching plan for the remainder of the school year, or until restrictions were lifted, whichever occurred first.
So she continued to practice. Waiting. Hoping for school to reopen for the year.
April 17, 2020. Almost a month after schools were initially closed, the governor announced the closure of schools through the rest of the academic year. That was the day the music stopped playing.
My daughter’s world came to a screeching halt. There was no longer a reason to practice. There was no longer a need to develop her technique. There was no longer a desire to play music.
That was the day the music died.