April 2020FeaturedLifestyle

The Quarantine Diaries

We reached out to our community to ask how the Quarantine has impacted our lives.  Following,  you will see some of the responses.

Aslihan And:

I think nowadays hope is the one thing that is going to make us strong and that’s what we need the most. It’s possible that we get over this period with new sensibilities and gains… There are times when we can’t manage to keep our mood up but the best way to cope with that is to make our daily routine more productive. These days staying home means staying healthy, so it is a call—an opportunity—for us to sort out our inner world when planning our daily life.

As I was asked by The Flute View magazine, let me tell you briefly about my daily routine these days. I’ve always been someone who attaches great importance to being productive in my everyday life. That’s why these days I’m putting more effort into sleeping and eating well, as well as to exercising and meditating at home, and so I’m turning this situation into an advantage. I take pleasure from my state of well-being and find things to smile at in my current circumstances.

I know there are families with small children and elderly people in my apartment, so I don’t start playing the flute too early in the morning. But let me tell you something: These days are a great opportunity to do technical exercises! I don’t know if my neighbors would agree though… As Sir James Galway always told his students at any appropriate time, “It is a perfect time to practice the scales.” Technical exercises, new etudes, gaining a new awareness of the flute, and challenges that make practicing more fun… My favorite thing is having more time to use all my musical pieces and the melodies that I just love to play as sound exercises and practicing transposing them into all the tones in minute detail… I also come up with exercises that I think will be useful for me and note them down. Practicing the new concertos in my repertoire  that I will be playing with an orchestra and the program of the upcoming recitals motivate me immensely. What I care about the most in this period is how I’m feeling while practicing… Since we are at home and have all the time in the world, I make sure that this peace of mind permeates all my technical exercises. This helps me to reach the level I aim for with a more balanced and serene technique.

I do my lessons with my students online and further supplement them with videos. I want to turn these online courses into an advantage and, most of all, I want to keep the children’s motivation at the highest level. Other than individual lessons, I make up contests like the scale, technical passage and melody of the day, or the best legato challenge, in the online groups that I formed for my students so that we still feel like we’re in a classroom and can  improve together. I can say for sure that it works!!!

Some of the things that I am using this time at home to take advantage from are setting new goals for my daily life and for flute exercises and finding the time to realize them, picking up new and exciting habits, making time to improve myself in some areas that I previously determined, checking out fantastic online concerts and exhibitions… And, last but not least, improving my cooking skills! ...because that is also a challenge for me.

In this period, we came to understand how important being healthy is, what our true priorities are and how grateful we should be for what we have. We came to see the importance of treating ourselves, other people and nature with much more care, understanding and love. We came to realize that only if we do that will nature give back to us a better world and existence. With these lessons in mind, I wholeheartedly believe that we will get through these days and become stronger in the process.


Alice K. Dade:

On March 11, it was announced that all classes at the University of Missouri would go online and resume in-person after spring break. That quickly escalated to online classes for the rest of the spring semester. Even though I had already started buying meat to freeze and some pantry staples, I was taken aback. I made several more trips to the store and attempted to take inventory of what we had at home. We had just finished moving into a new house and all of our belongings were still inboxes.

At first, I watched the news constantly and eventually had to limit myself. My husband and I have gone for drives just to clear our heads. We once drove by an elementary school with a sign that said, One Day at a Time. I am more myself every day and was even able to giggle at substituting frozen chicken nuggets for chicken thighs in a New York Times recipe. But there’s still an underlying sadness to everything.

All of my projects, important to me before, are paused. I want to talk to my family and check in with my friends who have health conditions. I want to figure out what I need. Eventually, I will establish a daily schedule that includes teaching, practicing, self-care, and connecting with people through zoom, texts, and even hand-written letters.

My students have helped me, as usual. Attempting to understand what they need reminds me of why I teach. Whether it’s assigning a completely new piece to reset or helping them move past competition cancellations, seeking out normalcy for my students has given me a way to contribute. I am so grateful.

This is a time for us to come together, both in spirit and on zoom. I consider myself an extravert and miss going to concerts, hugs, dinners at people’s houses, and that special connection you may not get while social distancing. Let’s stay at home and reach out more. We need each other’s support.


Viviana Guzman:

In my life, I have always enjoyed embracing the concept of “going with the flow”. 

I am usually constantly traveling, performing, teaching, conducting, and in general, way over-committed.  And now, everything has come to a halt.  But interestingly, and certainly contrary to everyone else it seems, I am loving the stillness, and the silence that has overcome my neighborhood as well as inside my heart.  It has been liberating for me, to have everything stop.  I have been able to look within, to re-examine all that I do and ask myself, why do I do all that I do?  I have found this time to be especially fruitful, as I have taken a few webinars:  meditation, art class, pilates class, dance class, and I’m even learning a bit of Russian.  I have finally been able to upload videos that have been waiting for a free moment to be released on to my YouTube Channel.

I believe I am a Master at facing Crisis, with Opportunity, or finding the silver lining in everything.  I am so grateful right now to be able to spend time with my husband, my mother, as well as my cat.  I am so thankful to be able to go to the grocery store and not confront the huge traffic jams.  I love the silence of my streets since the "lockdown".  I love going on a bike ride and saying hello to all the people who now walk instead of drive in their cars.

Most of all I think this moment is an opportunity to focus on the importance of appreciating everything in our lives, even the smallest things.  For example, I miss my students, as I don't see them on a weekly basis other than through my computer.  Teaching lessons in person is much more rewarding!  It has forced us all to examine and acknowledge how precious every moment is.  I am grateful to use this time creatively, to examine what is around my “normal” world.  With the new found time, I have experimented with diving into taking advantage of online LIVE sessions for the first time on Instagram (see video below).  As I sink my teeth more into using Zoom, I held the first SF Flute Society VIRTUAL Festival where we had 50 people in attendance via the platform with performers representing 7 different countries.  And lastly, I just found out that the PYO Virtual Flute Choir video I posted last week, made it on to the TODAY Show across the nation today!  I look forward to continuing my searching and stretching into new and rewarding realms. 

What new experiences have YOU embarked on as a result of our "new life"?

And, for my last parting thought.... please remember.... no matter what.... every day is a GIFT.


Barbara Siesel:

Daily Routines Now!

In many ways things aren’t that different for me, as I often work from home, practicing, teaching online, rehearsing for Green Golly tours, writing for TFV and marketing my work. What is different for me of course is not going out as I’m in NYC and an older adult and most importantly how to keep up my focus, courage, gratitude, health and joy in life.

Sometimes this is hard for me as I think I’m grieving the new world we are living in but here’s what I’m doing to keep everything going.  First thing in the morning (early, 6am), water, gargle with salt, make hot tea.

A)  Health- Yoga and either Tai Chi or Cardio exercise (bike, Pilates) Meditation.

B)  Healthy breakfast (usually a fruit bowl), listen to something inspiring while making it (this varies, music, morning prayers etc). Wellness pills, oil of oregano, turmeric pills, spirulina pills.

C)  I schedule every hour of the day using my phone so I don’t get distracted and start reading the news which brings on anxiety. Although I do read it every day so I know what’s coming- I like to watch NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing as he is inspiring and calm and seems to have a handle on what to do.

D)  I warm-up and practice first, then I tackle other work. If I have an early online student (sometimes 8am) I warm up later.

E)  I write my goals for the week on Monday or Sunday night and then try and fill in the times to get it all done. One obstacle during this period is that things are taking me longer than usual, I need more time between things and more breaks.

F)  I have various spiritual check-ins each day either with my synagogue or by calling at least one friend a day. And I’m trying to do service in some way. Now I call members of my synagogue who need check-ins.

G)  I shower and dress well, make-up, etc., as this helps me feel normal.

H)  Keith and I perform one funny song a day for YouTube.

I)  I do some social media stuff.

J) Evening, I don’t keep working as I have to schedule in some fun every day even if I’m not going out. I live in an apartment in NYC so there isn’t much space. I read, hang out with Keith make a good dinner that we share. I watch funny TV (see my article about funny or good TV) a good movie as this helps me to forget about what’s happening and remember normal times.

I wish for good health for all of you and your family and thank you for being part of The Flute View community.  I can’t wait to see you in person when this is all over!!!

Morgan Pappas:

My neighborhood had the first cases of COVID-19 in New York and became a containment zone in early March. I was at the office (Flute Center of New York) when this was announced and started receiving messages from family and friends. I panicked. I had no idea what this meant, I worried about being quarantined to my home, and the susceptibility of having the virus. At that moment, I did not realize what was about to become a worldwide reality. The following week I became sick. Was it the virus? Possibly. I stayed home and have not been around people since. New York City is now an "epicenter" for COVID-19, and I deeply worry about the lack of resources for patients and first responders.

It was interesting to watch how people reacted to social distancing recommendations as I spent the first few days of Social Distancing sick in bed. Musicians and businesses quickly sprung to action to mobilize their companies and studios online, create content and resources for those working at home, and advertise their services. I applaud all of those who rose to this challenge with positivity and creativity!

But I also feel deeply for those who have been struck by this pandemic, physically, emotionally, and financially. It is easy to feel paralyzed by what is happening in the world right now. Please know that this is temporary and you are not alone.

Now that I am feeling better, I am doing my best to use my time and energy carefully. I am a bit of a workaholic, so it is easy for me to be at the computer for the entirety of the day. I am making a conscious effort to exercise, get fresh air, call friends and family, eat consistently, and help my community as much as possible. I think this is a crucial time to slow down, process, and ease into the stillness. We are receiving a lot of scary information daily, and it takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. It is OK not to thrive during this time. It is most important to look after your physical and mental health and to help others in need as much as possible. Even a simple hello/ check in with your neighbors can go a long way. Stay safe, and stay well!


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