Musician’s Efforts Go Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mohamed Al Siadi teaches his students about Arabic music during their virtual class. The group has been meeting for the past month virtually through the Zoom application.

By Sama Al Taie 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly interrupted our lives, the global lockdown did not stop musicians from sharing their talents with the world. With the closure of music venues and concert cancellations, artists shifted their performances to the virtual community. Performers are streaming live gigs on their social media pages, bringing the music to audiences under lockdown. The coronavirus outbreak is going to change the entertainment industry forever. Perhaps it is time for us to consider attending a concert from our cozy homes or join a virtual performance with musicians across the world.

Musicians are reassuring us that a pandemic will not stop them from sharing the beauty of melodies and harmonies. Many artists are using the quarantine as an opportunity to develop their musical skills, provide free online classes, and collaborate with musicians from other countries. Who would have ever thought that a global pandemic could generate such a positive atmosphere? Amid the outbreak, the internet has made everything possible. With the Zoom application, one can take a free online music course with some of the best musicians in the field. 

The Music Director and Founder of the Aleppo Music Ensemble Dr. Mohamed Al Siadi is providing a free course live from his home in New York titled, “Introduction to Oud, Maqam, and Aleppian Muwashahat.” Al Siadi says that the purpose of giving such lectures is to revive the importance of Arabic music and educate people about the music their ancestors once practiced. His students attend the class from their homes in the United States, Morocco, Jordan, and other countries across the world. Behind such an act, learning music could spark the passion in his students to continue studying music post the coronavirus. The global crisis has made us understand that we do not need to stop practicing what we love. We can still share our talents with others, regardless of where we are located. 

While musicians under lockdown in Italy are playing melodies from their balconies to lift people’s spirits, other performers are rehearsing with their colleagues online for their virtual concerts. The coronavirus crisis has provided an opportunity for musicians to establish new ways of connecting with their audience while still giving them a sense of liveness that could only exist in a music hall. Artists are also taking this time to collect money to put an end to the pandemic.

In collaboration with the Global Citizen Music Festival, performers such as Lady Gaga sang to a virtual audience across the globe, raising over $120 million for healthcare workers.

The experience of performing online could become a new reality for some musicians who want to reach a much larger audience. For example, Maxim Vengerov, one of the best violinists of the 21st century, broadcasted a live concert from his living room. More than 20,000 people and over 1,000 attended the live performance. Such numbers can barely squeeze into a medium-sized concert hall. One no longer needs to fly to watch a show or walk into a music venue in order to listen to some of the world’s most renowned artists. The lockdown has proved that music can build bridges amid the pandemic regardless of geography. 

The outbreak is granting us access to attend concerts and join music classes directly from our homes. Yet, many would argue that musicians are losing money after the termination of live performances to an audience. Performers across the globe were forced to cancel their shows due to the coronavirus outbreak. For some musicians, performing at live gigs is their only source of income. However, others believe that artists can take advantage of this pandemic by practicing for their upcoming concerts, composing music, and expanding the proximity of their audience. 

The divine gift of music that artists are sharing with us today is one that we should not take for granted. Yes, the pandemic might have taken away many activities that we once practiced daily. But, this does not mean that we cannot devise new ones regardless of the difficult circumstances. Learning and educating through music will not stop as we are privileged to live in the era of the internet. With a global pandemic or not, music will survive as an eternal entertaining tool and a coping mechanism.