The actor, Ashton Kutcher, once said, “I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. ...
I haven’t written a blog post in a little while…I’ve been busy. When self-isolation started at the end of March, I had this crazy idea…why not compose a short new piece for a different instrument or voice each day so my musical friends have something new to play while in Self-Isolation. On March 25, I posted the first piece, for flute. 39 days later, I have decided to stop at 31 pieces.
The Music for Self-Isolation project has been an absolute dream. As the world has collectively gone through its challenges these past many weeks, I have managed to keep my sanity by doing what I most enjoy…composing. It’s been extra special though since the project has given me the basis to interact and connect with my musical friends. I’ve had focus and routine despite the limitations of where I can go and not being able to see anyone in person except for my wife.
Musically, this project allowed me to overcome limiting beliefs that had been with me for a long time – that I could not compose an unaccompanied solo piece for an instrument that I do not play. Except for piano and cello, this project was the first time I ever composed a true solo work for MANY instruments. Because of this project, I now have the courage to compose more unaccompanied works in the future.
I am so grateful to the many musicians around the world that have posted videos of themselves performing Music for Self-Isolation pieces. As I write this blog post, close to 100 videos (that I know of) have been posted on various social media platforms. I have watched, shared and enjoyed every single one. It’s been so fascinating to hear the varying interpretations of the pieces – not just with tempo or phrasing, but even sometimes varying the instrument. It’s opened my mind to new horizons of where my musical sound can go. My friends’ performances have reminded me that my compositions have a life of their own and evolve as they get interpreted by others.
I am very happy that we have been able to use this project as a means to raise some funds for the Unison Benevolent Fund, an organization helping Canadian musicians in need. Many musicians are struggling right now financially so hopefully the power of music will continue to assist our musician brothers and sisters.
Obviously, this has been a very challenging time for more people than just musicians. My heart has been filled with joy when friends have shared how the music has kept their spirits up or kept them motivated to play their instrument. People have suffered the loss of loved ones. Music has been a place of solace, a diversion, a place in one’s heart and soul for healing.
Despite my decision to stop composing new Self-Isolation pieces, the music will continue to be available online for anyone to watch, play and share. Who knows how much longer we will have to remain in self-isolation…hopefully not too much longer. My hope is that the music will continue to bring people comfort and joy. And when we enter a new post-COVID age in the future, the music will remain as a reminder of this chapter in history where despite sadness and tragedy, we stood together with promise and hope of a better, healthier future.
Thank you all for joining me on one of the most wonderful journeys I’ve ever had the privilege to take. Keep well and much love. Here’s the final piece in the series…