In times of distress, our power lies in congregation, the sharing of innovative ideas, and the execution of proposed solutions. Human tendency associates progress with action. Today, we are in a unique situation where we can no longer use physical space to come together, process, and think up effective ways to collaborate for a better future. In the absence of action, we are left with stale air. We are being supported wholly by the essential workers whose services are necessary for not only our survival, but also our sense of normalcy.
Circumstances such as these make it very uncomfortable to remain still. I often feel helpless due to my perceived inability to mediate the chaos around me. I want to be of service to those who have been impacted by this terrible illness and to properly express gratitude to those who have worked so diligently to maintain some semblance of order through their essential work. I wish to express this gratitude in the most effective way I can.
During this crisis in particular, I have found that music works in two very prominent, powerful ways. First, music is therapeutic; listening to and making music are accessible and stimulating activities that significantly improve my mental state. Making music allows me a creative outlet to temporarily soothe my quarantine blues in a healthy, productive way. It also offers me the space to explore the many emotions that this pandemic yields. Music provides me with the ability to express discomfort and anxiety through lyric, melody, and chord progression that I might not be able to access otherwise. Plus, it’s fun.
Second, and perhaps more relevant to the situation at hand, music is a unifier. It transcends the boundaries of social distancing and seamlessly connects hearts and minds. When we come together to listen or create, we forge a bond for which social distancing and quarantining are no match.
In order to channel the expressive and unifying powers of music, YOUnison is hosting a Worldwide Day of Gratitude on April 30th, 2020 to communicate our gratitude for essential workers and to honor the lives that have been lost to COVID-19-related complications. To participate, record yourself playing or singing the song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers and post it to your social media accounts with the appropriate hashtags. If you are not compelled to contribute through music, get creative! Use the song as inspiration for a painting or a poem. As an educator, craft a lesson plan around the lyrics and encourage your students to think deeply and express themselves with passion. At a loss for ideas? Check out the RESOURCES page on YOUnison’s website to learn how you can get involved.
On April 30th, 2020, I will sit at my keyboard and sing my rendition of “Lean on Me” as an expression of my respect and gratitude. I hope that you will join me in rebuilding the community that this virus has threatened to take from us and ensuring those who have been impacted most by this horrible illness have somebody to lean on.