Human communication has become one at a time. People keep pushing to put groups back together but by and large, people have to express themselves one at a time. I’m not sure that I would have embraced singing by myself as a kid. Frankly, I never really liked applied voice in college all that much. Where it was just me singing and my teacher listening. The accompanying musician didn’t make it more enjoyable. Piano only proved to highlight the fact that I hadn’t really learned the songs I was singing despite their talented effort to follow me through made up phrases that I attempted to use to mask my lack of preparation. I always appreciated my pianists ability to give it a try. No, music and singing for me was always a group event. Makes sense that I became a choral director I guess.
Now we operate in a Zoom environment. Zoom and all it’s comparable online environments have proven that it’s one at a time. One voice at a time, one box at a time. There is no “same time!” effect possible on these platforms. I suppose there’s a bandwith problem. The audio requirements to stream people together from their homes and spaces at the same time clogs the system and fails. I’ve tried to do the same time thing with my singers and have come to a firm conclusion to stop it. Even same time talking fails which undoubtedly works well to stop people who have a habit of taking over conversations and/or those who could never get a “word in edgewise”. Whatever the need to share together, so far it’s one at a time.
The one that solves the bandwidth problem will undoubtedly grow hyper-wealthy. Elon Musk is a prime example with the energy problem. Amazon solved the shopping problem. Uber solved the transportation problem. Grubhub et all have solved the eating problem. Masks social distancing, and hand sanitizer purposes to have solved the COVID problem. Vaccines have not solved the trust problem but it wants to be the solution to getting life back to normal.
Folks, normal is gone forever. There is no getting back to normal. The closest we will come is getting to out new normal. School, work, church, entertainment, eating, etc. all will have a new normal. For us singers, a new normal is hard to imagine right now because most of our normal included other people in confined or at least close spaces. We were accustomed to feeling the vibrations of others in our performance spaces. The vibration of human voices, musical instruments, audience responses and everything else that vibrates when human beings come together for a common cause. Frankly, I miss those days.
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