Everyone I talk to is ready to get the pandemic behind us. We all long for a time of normality when we can know how to plan our programs and program our plans. To us musicians who like to be in control of our art, the wait for “normal times” may seem interminable.

Without meaning to do so, we may be living with the false notion that one day we will wake up and life will be normal again. We may fail to realize that the new normal will emerge gradually, even as springtime begins with a small scent of fresh air, small buds on the trees and then gradually blossoms into its full-blown season of fresh warm breezes, new foliage, and vivid color.

Since the new normal will occur gradually, it only makes sense to say that it has already begun to happen. What we feel and what we do today is going to have an enormous impact upon how the return of “normal” is going to feel.

A leading psychologist of the 20th Century had a theory that the only way people will ever really change is as a result of pain.  In other words, if we human being are pain-free in a particular situation, it’s very unlikely that we will be motivated to make any significant changes, even if change is badly needed. Work-out gurus often say to us, “No pain, no gain.” The psychologist would say, “No pain, no change.”

Like it or not, the pain we have all endured over the past year has changed us. The question for us all to address is, “Will that change be positive change or negative?” As a result of COVID-19, will we be more or less friendly, more or less engaged with others, more or less compassionate with our neighbors, more or less patient with our family and friends?

If the world is to be a better place as a result of our common tribulations, it the improvement needs to begin with our relationships with one another, including strangers on the street. While this may seem like a stern challenge, it is actually good news. In a crazy world where so much is beyond our ability to control, every last one of us has within our power to be better neighbors, more caring friends, more compassionate colleagues, more loving family members.

We can do this! And when we do, the world will be a better place to live!

Happy singing … every chance we get!