A personal look at being a professional working musician during a pandemic:
“It’s a strange time. We are all struggling to find our footing. So many moments of uncertainty as we look forward. We miss what we’ve lost and celebrate what we’ve gained. We ache for life to resume as we knew it, but at the same time, don’t want things to go back to “normal.” We are learning what it means to rest as we fight ourselves to find strength and motivation to keep going. We are reminded of the importance of presence, cherishing the time with our families, basking in the outdoors, and feeding parts of ourselves that we’ve neglected. But we are missing our friends, our work, and our interaction with the world. So, through all this there is a constant war within us. A series of highs and lows. Like everyone else, there are times I wonder what is wrong with me. I feel alone in my struggles. But, this not truth. In truth we are all on this rollercoaster together.
Life will go on, it always does. Things will reopen and we will go forward. It won’t be the same, it can’t be because we have all changed. It’s up to us what the world will look like when we emerge. A new awareness has dawned on us all. Will we step back out and show more patience, more kindness? Will we remember what it was to be isolated and cherish our time with friends and family more? Will we finally be able to find a balance between work and play? I have learned that through all this we are growing, we are learning, and we will come out lighter and brighter.
As a musician who thrives on live performances, I cannot wait for the day I can safely perform for you all again on a regular basis. But I am also grateful for this time. Time to rest, to spend with my husband, and to discover my inner voice. Not every day is “productive.” In fact, if I’m being honest, most days are not. But I keep going. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Baby steps, that’s all I can seem to handle sometimes. When it seems hardest, I remember all the blessings I have in my life. It helps. I appreciate each performance that much more. I work on writing new songs, that I hope will bring light to more people. I get lost in a book or a movie. I FaceTime with friends and family. The ache is still there, but it lessens. I am learning what it means to truly connect with people.
My work, my industry (performing) is not fully back yet. But I am lucky that my vocation is one that reaches & connects with people. Music is a language that all souls understand. It has the power to bring great joy, to comfort, to energize, and to bring us all together. If you find yourself in need of a little fun, social interaction, or the healing power of music. Join us on Tuesday night 8-9:30 ET for a facebook livestream show. (www.facebook.com/duelingpianoduo) We’d love to welcome you into our home and share our music with you.”
Amy Keith, co-owner, Premier Piano Shows Dueling Pianos, Orlando
An inside look at the mind of a performing musician during Covid:
Being a professional musician during a pandemic is an unprecedented experience. When your work is entirely based on interacting with people, and that very environment is literally shut down for months, it makes any semblance of normalcy impossible.
I have neighbors who are still working… either form home, or they are in an industry that hasn’t been severely affected by Covid. This is a foreign world to me and my wife. I have made a living performing live shows for 16 years, and we have been doing it together since shortly after we met in 2012.
Immediately after Covid hit, nearly our entire niche industry (dueling pianos) took a turn online… hundreds of our friends turned to Facebook and Instagram live to showcase their talents and hope for some cashless tips for song requests. This has proven very successful for a select few who have honed the craft. Yet, having done a handful of these shows, while the audience is broader (we have been able to perform for friends and relatives across the country who can’t normally see us pay), the very nature of a webcast is completely different than an interactive in-person show.
Dueling pianos is an interactive concept. We take pride in our hows by saying that “the show is not about us,” it is about the crowd. When your “crowd” is on the other side of a webcam, the experience is completely different.
In Florida, we have been blessed (political leanings aside – thanks to more lax restrictions than many other states) with the opportunity in some venues to resume live performances. While our schedule is no where near as loaded up as pre-Covid, we still have been able to at least perform on a weekly basis. Many colleagues of ours on other states still have not had their luxury, and are continuing to hone the new online version of interactive performances.
We will continue to perform online to accommodate and connect with our friends and fans around the country, so we hope to see you on our weekly show. And we will continue to think positive and pray for everyone in the entertainment industry as we watch businesses open and fans come back to enjoy the magic that music brings to their lives.
Randy Keith, co-owner, Premier Piano Shows Dueling Pianos, Orlando