Reluctantly, let’s revisit March 2020. A world pandemic infiltrates every aspect of our lives. The world as we know it starts shutting down, and uncertainty becomes the constant. The routines of our day-to-day life dissolve. Everything that can go online becomes virtual. Stress is high, and connection as we know it is low. What’s a community-entrenched, hands-on local music school to do?!
Connecting the Community Through the Joy of Music
We, the Concord Conservatory Music School (CCM) based in Concord, MA, acted fast as COVID spread. With the greater understanding that music is a critical aspect of well-being and connection, the school quickly developed strategies to keep the music going and engage the community. Since March 2020, our school moved almost all of its instruction online using Zoom. We orchestrated online student concerts and instituted “MMM, Your Happy Monday Morning Message,” a weekly email highlighting happy musical news and moments, sent to CCM families and the community-at-large.
With almost everything virtual right now, days tend to blend together. But CCM families and friends now look forward to a musical Monday morning, when their weekly MMM awaits them in their inbox. Stock full of happy music features and news, the email includes a mélange of upbeat and feel-good stories and lists of the all-time top “happy” songs. The editions might also have the latest from musical icons like Annie Lennox and Bono, pandemic-inspired music activism, and spotlights on CCM’s talented faculty and their latest musical endeavors. These weekly emails spread all the unequivocal benefits of music while keeping the community connected.
So Many Benefits of Music!
We’re definitely on to something. Research has shown that music is not only mood-boosting but therapeutic. Listening or playing music is beneficial to the body, both physically and mentally. As outlined in a review published by Psychology of Music in 2017, listening to music can lower blood pressure and heart rates in people suffering from anxiety and depression.
According to a report published in August by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, close to a third of Americans had experienced anxiety and depression during June 2020 – a time riddled with pandemic isolation.
How We Connect
“During these challenging times, CCM understands the importance of music. We are 100% committed to serving the public through flexible, online, and COVID safe in-person classes as well as other creative ways of connecting with our community, such as MMM. This upbeat email reminds us all, every week, of the power and sheer happiness of music,” explains Kate Yoder, Executive Director and Founder of CCM.
Clearly, music is crucial in boosting our mood and managing stress amidst the COVID crisis. But it also plays a crucial role in our connection with others. Just look at the countless stories of folks participating in sing-alongs from balconies or musicians reaching fans in their living rooms through live streaming concerts. Music reminds us that we are all in this pandemic together. Although we must physically isolate ourselves, fostering community and connectedness is essential to mental and physical well-being and a healthy response to this global crisis. The Concord Conservatory’s MMM is an excellent musical vehicle for consistently keeping families, students, teachers, and the greater community connected through happy musical-oriented posts.
As Silvia Knoblock-Westerwick, a professor of communication at The Ohio State University says, “I think oftentimes we think of other people when we listen to music- it might remind us of other people and help us feel connected. And that is a buffer against stress – human connectedness helps you feel less stress.”
CCM’s community confirms that sentiment. “With so much uncertainty right now, CCM has been a great constant, an upbeat reminder of the power of music for my family. Their creative methods of keeping music going has helped us stay connected and calm through a particularly challenging time for our children. We look forward to the MMM email every Monday. It positively engages us as a family, from playing music trivia games to listening to a beautiful virtual classical concert. Thank you, CCM,” explains the CCM parent.
Looking for safe but creative and collaborative ways to harness the power of music and musical learning during COVID? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can add you to our MMM distribution list and recommend pandemic appropriate music classes for you and your family. Soon, we hope to make music together in person. But until then, let’s continue to virtually bond through the joy of music. Play on!
Sign-up to receive the MMM: https://concordconservatory.org/newsletter
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