Keeping music alive online

Livestreaming, teaching and collaborating while keeping social distance

Posted 3/25/20

It's a different world than last week, and by the time you read these words, more will have changed as we take active steps to ward off the common threat of a microscopic virus, and the isolation that comes with it.

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Keeping music alive online

Livestreaming, teaching and collaborating while keeping social distance

Posted

It's a different world than last week, and by the time you read these words, more will have changed as we take active steps to ward off the common threat of a microscopic virus, and the isolation that comes with it.

In Italy, where the number of coronavirus cases is quickly accelerating, musicians are responding by serenading their communities from their balconies.

Italian opera singer Maurizio Marchini sang Puccini's aria "Nessun Dorma" from his balcony in Florence and posted a video of his performance online. At the end of the video Marchini lifts his young son in his arms as he sings "Vincerò!"

For St. Patrick's Day, a group of bagpipers, drummers and other musicians coordinated a video to celebrate the Irish holiday. They each played from their respective isolation around the world, collectively creating a group experience they called "The Isolated Parade" which they dedicated to those they have lost to COVID-19.

Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma coined the hashtag #SongsOfComfort. He is encouraging musicians of all levels to join him in offering music to comfort humanity during this time of global crisis.

This made me wonder how musicians in Taos will share their music in this time of canceled gigs, closed venues and social distancing. And, what we can do to support them.

Taos singer-songwriters Jennifer Peterson and Julie Greer are pairing up to sing their own songs as well as those of other artists whose names start with "J" - including Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins. They plan to livestream or post a video online. In addition, Peterson and Greer each plan to create some solo online shows. To find out when, visit their websites: juliegreerart.com and jenniferpeterson.com.

Rachael Penn, who plays violin and banjo and sings with Taos bands Crooked and Cracked and Swing Dusters, says she hopes to livestream some solo shows via Facebook Live.

"I have had thoughts to do this down by the Río Fernando as well, maybe even exploring improvisational meanderings following the flow of the river. Playing by heart by the river reminds me of what people likely did in the woods and hollers of West Virginia over centuries, which changed and created new ways of playing fiddle. I am excited to embrace the old creative ways borne of simplicity and necessity and hope to really use this time to sink into that as much as I possibly can," Penn wrote in an email.

Penn also teaches violin lessons with the Taos Youth Music School, which has closed for now. "I offered the kids I have been working with there online Skype lessons and 'pay what you can' for kids of Taos County families who have violins," Penn wrote. "I have also been teaching privately for years and I have been switching all my weekly lessons over to online lessons. So far, I have used Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts, all of which seem to work really well. I am open to new students of all ages! Email me at rachaelp7777@gmail.com."

Penn is also looking into ways to play with fellow musicians from a distance. "I spent some time with a fellow musician Wes Six, working on trying to set up an online jam platform (Jammr) that let's musicians play together over the internet. This platform may allow us to keep the Taos Bluegrass Jam going, as well as being a potential way that the TYMS Garage Band could keep playing together doing this crisis."

Nancy Laupheimer, director of Taos Chamber Music Group, invites all music lovers to visit TCMG's YouTube channel and website (taoschambermusicgroup.org/history), which have videos of past performances. Laupheimer has postponed the Taos Chamber Music Group's concerts, but says, "We are optimistically rescheduled for June 6 and 7."

This is also a great time to check in with your favorite local, regional, national and international musicians. Many are streaming shows online, as concert venues and tours have been shut down all over the globe.

Neil Young announced he will livestream Fireside Sessions filmed by his wife, the actress Daryl Hannah. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming videos of its past productions for free, with each night featuring a different opera at metopera.org. The Berlin Philharmonic is also providing free entertainment through its digital concert hall, at berliner-philharmoniker.de/en.

There are many platforms musicians can use to livestream or post videos of their performances. In addition to Facebook Live and YouTube channels, there is a new Facebook page called "Social Distancing Streaming Concerts" where musicians can advertise upcoming home shows and potentially attract new audiences.

Musicians, write to tempo@taosnews.com and keep Tempo informed of upcoming online concerts or videos you are creating, and check out our contest online for creatives at taosnews.com.

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