I love Thursdays. Thursdays are days that are filled with excitement, exploration, creativity and pure fun. You see, each Thursday our wonderful Conductology ensemble meets up for rehearsal and some rather fine music creation.
Before COVID-19, we met up in person with our instruments, music technology and a random selection of sound objects. These days we are meeting in the world of Zoom, each behind a screen with plenty of technical hitches and sometimes incredibly slow internet connection. We laugh, smile, share lockdown stories, acknowledge new beards, hairstyles, grey strands and more.
What I really noticed this week was the absolute human need for contact. Friendship. Communication. Love. Sometimes we forget that the most vulnerable people in society are finding lockdown the most difficult. Some of my wonderful musical friends have intellectual disabilities and complex needs. Some have already accepted that isolation is largely a part of who they are. Lack of opportunities, lack of friendship, lack of education, lack of employment. Lack! When I reflect on this, I become quite annoyed. Very annoyed in fact. As human beings we need to connect. We need to be wanted. To be respected. To be heard. To be involved. And, when given the opportunity, we can discover a whole new world of our creative potential.
For many people, lockdown offers the opportunity to reflect. Discover new skills, talents and capabilities. For me, I am amazed at how resilient people with intellectual disabilities are. Some of my friends who can not read or write can set up Zoom rehearsals and lead a music session. Others who have no access to a computer desperately want and need to stay connected, and so manage to use a phone to be included in the meet ups. One friend in particular waits patiently, and for several hours, each Thursday. Excited about seeing everyone again. The rehearsal session is the highlight of his week. Making and playing music and seeing his friends. Hopefully, we shall come out of lockdown with lots of new skills, fresh attitudes, empathy, hope, respect and, most importantly, a deeper understanding that we All need friends in our life’s journey!