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Why do we turn to music in times of crisis?

By Tia Ranftl

The importance of music during this pandemic has been overlooked, as communities all around the world have turned to music during the Covid-19 crisis. Music has helped to maintain a sense of community as well as individual sanity during an unprecedented and tumultuous time. This sense of belonging, which even brought our school community together last year for the digital Music Festival, has assisted in forging positivity and optimism in a difficult time. Although for a while we were not able to attend live music and the concerts that were seemingly ‘postponed’ we never heard from again, we have been extremely fortunate as Australians for our circumstance has not been as taxing. This universal dependence on music stems from the fact that socially isolated people relied on music to cope with the extended lockdown, especially by helping aid relaxation, increase mental wellbeing, escape and keep them company.

Today, music is the most consumed form of culture and as cities shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus, people across the globe started singing and making music together from their windows and balconies. Videos emerged on the internet of Italians singing the national anthem and playing instruments in order to boost morale. An Italian resident said, “it’s a moment of joy in this moment of anxiety.” This display of camaraderie and solidarity was, and still is, essential so that citizens do not become disheartened and lose hope of one day returning to normal.

In this period of confinement, it is well-known that everyone went at least a little bit crazy. This is particularly reflective in Bo Burnham’s recently released comedy special Inside. The title is fitting, considering that it was recorded inside his home during the Covid lockdown without a crew or audience. Many projects have attempted to grapple with the trauma of the pandemic, however Inside provides an honest and authentic representation of the unnerving, messy and barely tolerable experience of the last year. With his bleak humour and his strange but sensational songs, this comedic quarantine masterpiece is a perfect example of how music can serve as a form of creative expression and establish a feeling of relatability and comfort for audiences.

Ultimately, music is fundamental to the preservation of community in a time where human contact is limited and allows for us all to find enjoyment and happiness amongst all the uncertainty.


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