• Brent Mead

Thoughts on COVID-19

Hello everyone!


This has been a crazy week for many people around the country. I just wanted to share what is on my mind and what I will try to accomplish the next few weeks as our country tries to recover and slow the spread of this virus.


I write this on Saturday, March 14 from my practice room in Overland Park, KS. I had planned on being in Wichita performing a program of Chris Rogerson's Luminosity, Ravel's Piano Concerto, and Brahms' 2nd Symphony with the Wichita Symphony but our concerts were cancelled due to a ban of large crowds in the county. Rehearsals that week were weird - there was a juxtaposition of stunningly beautiful music and a palpable fear of what COVID-19 will happen to us freelance musicians. My colleagues and I were sharing the news of orchestras across the country being cancelled for several weeks while looking at our emails nervously awaiting the news that our jobs in the next few weeks would be canceled.


There are several industries struggling right now and the people in these industries are hurting. I have loved seeing people post their plans to stay positive, productive, and happy for the next few weeks without work so I'm doing the same here.


First, I want to encourage people to spread some joy and take care of each other. This is a time where we need to lean into our shared human experiences and help one another. Be good and try to stay positive!


I'm a person that doesn't rest very well. This year, I've been out of school for the first time since 2000. The last 7 years of my life have been a constant stream of rehearsals, classes, and concerts; all of which have changed dramatically since I finished my Master's degree. I have more time now to practice forever, work out, clean the house, cook great meals, and spend time with family. My schedule the next few weeks was full of concerts, recitals, and a lot of masterclasses and educational engagements but now, I have more free time than ever.


Here is my plan for the COVID-19 quarantine and how I will (hopefully) stay sane:


I'm going to listen to more music. The Metropolitan Opera will be sharing their performances on their On Demand page for free: https://www.metopera.org/season/on-demand/. The Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall (one of my favorite resources and the best ways to spend $170 each year) has provided a voucher for 30 days of free subscriptions. Redeem before March 31, 2020: https://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/titelgeschichten/20192020/digital-concert-hall/.


I'm going to read more! I usually read during my morning coffee and in my afternoon practice break but I am going to make each break longer. My goal is to finish two books before the end of March.


I'm going to play more trombone for fun. In addition to the likely longer practice sessions & more long tones (sorry neighbors), I will play more music for fun. More work, more play, more fun.


Finally, I'm going to spend some great, quality time with friends, my dog, and my wife. . assuming we're all healthy. This is what I'm looking forward to most. Even though my wife and I canceled our trip to Topeka next week, I'm looking forward to watching movies, relaxing, and playing games at home.


How will you spend your COVID-19 break? I'm interested to hear what you'll be doing! Stay safe and go wash your hands.

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