As a musician I usually play music with friends, in venues, church worship music and inside peoples houses. This has just not been possible during the pandemic. Instead many friends have turned to playing online, facebook live and zoom have all provided an alternative means of making music together. The latency of online music making has been embraced by some, and considered disruptive by others. Early on in the pandemic I realised that playing music in my small home would just not suite me. I had the neighbours to consider, and when I joined in online it only served to highlight my isolation living alone. With what was usually an intense connected activity, music became for me personally, a stark reminder of what was missing.
However … Being a good improviser I decided to turn to the art materials.
Each week when friends gave their musical offering online in church or through performances … I would draw.
This was practical – no loud sounds to disturb the neighbours, and it I felt it provided an enhanced sense of connectivity and enlivening. My drawings are very much like the music I improvise, quick, colourful, full of graphic shapes, tempo and rhythm. I felt they expressed what I would offer musically if I were together with others in the room – the drawings were sounds in visual form. The joy of these was that they could then be shared online, as visual response to and with the music. The drawings expressed my Christian faith journey, the emotional highs and lows of lock down and the yearning to see others. Most of all the combined interaction with the art materials and the music of friends kept alive a spark of creativity and hope.