What To Do Now: Making Music in Interesting Times

There’s a saying known as the “Chamberlain Curse” that has a new significance these days: May you live in interesting times. It speaks directly to where we are now across the globe.

For many of us, these times feel less interesting than confusing, discouraging, overwhelming and frustrating. I take heart, however, knowing that this is a unique opportunity for us as musicians to reduce the fear that we and those around us may be experiencing.

You may know the children’s book The Little Engine That Could. In brief, the story involves a mountain, a long train that must be pulled to the other side of the mountain and the various train engines who are asked to pull the train when its engine breaks down. All the big, powerful engines refuse. Finally the smallest engine, one only built for shunting cars in the rail yard, agrees to try. He successfully huffs and puffs his way over the mountain with the heavy train, saying all the while, “I think I can, I think I can.” 

You may be feeling small, like the little engine in the story. What can one musician do to lighten the load an entire community is bearing, especially when all the usual avenues for sharing music are shut down?

Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It’s a simple principle. Action: the bird beats the air down with its wings. Reaction: the air pushes the bird up. Action: the car tires push the road backwards. Reaction: the road pushes the tires and the car forward. Action: the bug hits the windshield. Reaction: the windshield hits the bug. Though these examples may seem less than relevant, the fact is that the only reason the bird can fly, the car can move or the bug gets squashed is because both action and reaction are equal and opposite to each other.

When you play music, your action sends inspiration, beauty and positive energy to anyone who may be listening.  That listener’s “reaction” sends the inspiration, beauty and positive energy back to you. The joy that you send to others through your music, they will send back to you. This is how we musicians are able to dispel negative emotions and increase the happiness and joy in our world.

So what do you do now, in these perplexing times? Create; play; share. Music makes a difference, and so can you.


How will you create, play and share today? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Play well and stay well!


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