We’re in a time of social distancing which means that work, pleasure, and even worship is happening at home. This past week I had the opportunity to lead a hymn for my congregation from a Zoom call. I opened the service with a hymn on ukulele. I used many of the skills that are in our book and hymn kits: changing strumming patterns and using chord melody. It was a beautiful way to begin the service.
Singing is praying twice, but right now we’re praying from home.
Our religious institutions are closed, so Zoom worship is where it’s at. People are experiencing fear and anxiety. Worship participation is up across religious faiths in the United States.
Many states and countries are starting to open up, but there is a sense of caution.
We have heard about the choir practices where members of a choir got Covid 19 following a rehearsal. We have also heard about indoor sporting events where athletes got sick after the game. We want to get back together, but we also want to be safe. We want to know the best way to balance these competing ideas.
When we sing or take part in athletics inside, there is more spread of aerosol droplets from our breath. At first, some doctors recommended canceling ALL sports and music in schools until there is widespread immunity to Covid 19. But, there are ways to make these activities safe. It is important to look at these ideas.
Singing and playing instruments are a huge part of the human condition.
There has to be a middle ground. We need to be able to express our emotions through music. We can have smaller groups or sit further apart. We can continue our music remotely until it is safe to meet in person. We can listen to live music with the audience sitting far apart. We can think about partitions between musicians.
How do we make music participation safe?
Some questions include: How big of a group can you have? How far apart do you have to sit? Can you sing? Can you play an instrument? How do you find music that is adaptable to your situation?
Many scientists are researching how to make music participation safe.
All the national music education organizations are joining together to address these questions. They are writing new music for smaller groups. They are researching ways to clean instruments or place partitions between performers.
We know that music has gotten many of us through this time of the pandemic.
Every day performers are streaming live music from living rooms across the country. People are flocking to online lessons and YouTube channels. People now have time to learn ukulele. One person calls it his “Corona Improvement Project.”
Our new book and hymn kits will give you the opportunity to learn music YOUR way. Do you need to play something by yourself without singing? Then, learn one of the 13 chord melodies where you combine melody and accompaniment at the same time.
Do you want to lead singing through a Zoom call or in person? Then sing and strum the song. You can vary the strumming patterns for each verse and add a little fingerpicking to the mix as well. Do you want to create a duet for one? Then experiment with some of the fun apps such as Acapella that let you do that.
The hymn kits include 13 chord melodies and 34 hymns.
They also include a video course to teach you all these songs. All the hymns have melody tab. You can create duets for one, or duets with another person. Or, you can record one part and play the other if you are sheltering in place.
In any case, the kits will be ready at the end of May or early June.
So, I hope you make sure to be on our mailing list, so you will be one of the first people to get one when they become available. I can’t wait to hear this music in everyone’s own voice. What a wonderful time to be part of the creative solution to keep music alive!