PCM: Where are you right now and who are you with?
For the last two months I’ve been staying with my Dad in the northern desert of Arizona. He’s had a house out here for a few years now, and it’s real isolation – about 30 acres of desert all around.
PCM: How are you feeling and how have you adjusted to life at home?
Back in March, I emailed a former teacher of mine in New York to see how he was doing and in his reply he remarked that we should enjoy what is happening as an exercise in stripping down – the joy of losing concerts, money, society. I liked that comment because there really is perspective to be gained from circumstances like these. Being at home has been a nice recharge in a way, and it has afforded me the chance to step back and prioritize the various facets of my life.
PCM: What does a typical day look like for you right now?
It’s funny, because my initial thought was that I could use all this free time to start ambitious projects, and learn a lot of music. It hasn’t panned out that way, and in fact, I have gone through phases where I actively avoid music and practicing. To me, that’s been a healthy thing. I normally am frequently preparing for something and practicing towards a performance, and having a chance to take a pause has been very refreshing. In a typical day, of course, I do practice, I have been reading about and playing more chess, painting, exercising, and since the NBA too is on hold, I have been playing a lot of basketball in the front yard. The freedom is really nice, but the endless nature of these circumstances is usually what bothers me.
PCM: In what ways (large and small) has the current situation impacted your lessons, practice schedule, and music education experience in general?
All of my engagements have been postponed, so it has been very impactful. This Spring was the end of a two-year chamber music fellowship program in Carnegie Hall that I was a part of. Sadly, because of the spread of the virus, the remainder of activities with my colleagues have been cancelled and everyone has gone back to their respective homes. All of our obligations are held remotely, but it’s a shame that some really exciting opportunities couldn’t happen. Outside of that, all of my solo and concerto performances were also postponed, which is also a shame, but this is the case for everyone, and a reality we all need to acclimate ourselves to.
PCM: What are you most looking forward to when everyone returns to campus? What, if anything, will you miss?
My hope is that musical experiences can resume safely and relatively normally by next year, although that’s difficult to say. I will say that if and when things are back to what they were, I will miss this time of solitude. During non-viral times, I find myself easily caught up in concerns over career and personal life oriented matters, and there are times when I don’t appreciate enough what I have or who I am. I think it’s a good opportunity for everyone to do that. Even though the reasons for this isolation are less than ideal, I think it’s possible to turn a situation like this into a valuable and constructive experience.