Hallelujah! 2021 has arrived, perhaps a bit more slowly than any of us would have preferred. And with it comes a very slight degree of optimism. Many believe that things could not get much worse, but that remains to be seen. Vaccine distribution has signaled a possible return to life as it was a year ago, but alongside signs of hope are some hidden warnings that our behaviors have forever changed.
For me, one of those warnings is apparent in how I get my entertainment fix these days. Being an avid movie fan, I have the opportunity to indulge in classics from years gone by and view previously undiscovered gems of the silver screen, all from the comfort of home. Meanwhile, I can devour whole seasons of worthwhile or escapist television in just a few sittings.
When I received a request from violinist Holly Mulcahy to write about what music we might use to improve mental health as we cope with the pandemic, I focused my attention on the words she used to describe our possible emotions (“anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, manic energy, lack of motivation”) as well as her directive: “pick a single work that reflects and supports that emotion, and then pick a secondary work that alleviates that feeling just a notch up or down.”
Hmm … that was a tough one. Were the musical remedies limited to the world of classical music? How could one really choose just one emotion? Was this request adding to the already burdensome weight of isolation?