Music Helps Us Connect During Isolation

Our need to bond – through music especially – relates to the fundamental features of being human.” – David M Greenberg, University of Cambridge

As we all watch the news – the endlessly frightening Covid-19 news – we find joy and a little resilience when we see stories of people singing from their balconies. Or neighbors out on their lawns dancing with one another while safely distanced. We are reminded of the warmth and connection of normal days.

When we hear and participate in music, our biology knows what to do. It is in the driver’s seat. All the music we have heard throughout our lives is still in there – and any reminders can conjure up the memories and feelings. We don’t just remember the feelings. We feel the feelings.

Right now we are all grateful to those members of our community who are on the front lines taking it on the chin on our behalf. When we watch anthems like “Rise Up” played to images of heroism – my goodness – our hearts just swell. Why? It’s because we are truly sharing in a community moment. We feel the music is expressing exactly what we feel – what we all feel. 

In easier times we get that feeling – although less impactfully, perhaps – when we sing our school song or national anthem. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  “We Will We Will Rock You.”  Singing with a common voice is a powerful bonding experience.

Many of us routinely attended religious services before social distancing.  Singing was often a key element, pulling us into harmony both spiritually and musically. Because we humans are built to belong, these services grounded us – tethering us to one another. But now these are missing too.

So we are wonderfully susceptible to all the work musical artists are developing for us everyday. They are doing what artists do – serving as shamans for the community – conjuring up our needs and our spirits – helping us participate in this life together.

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