Meghan Schweizer '21

Music and Communication & Media Major

Music, Hope and Healing, An Analysis on a Pandemic’s Impact on Music through Love and Loss

To analyze a pandemic’s impact on music through love and loss, through its creation, consumption, inspiration, restrictions, and the global response as seen through its changing, creative, and resilient rebound

A century ago, the Spanish flu caused a deadly pandemic across the globe, lasting two years. With no effective drugs or vaccines the virus spread quickly. To mitigate the transmission, governments imposed restrictions on businesses and activities. And just like that…in April of 1920, it went away. Today, one hundred years later, COVID-19 has rapidly taken over the world with another deadly pandemic. Fear and loss of loved ones has paralyzed the globe. Impact has been felt economically and has caused financial ruin for many. The music and entertainment industries were one of the hardest hit industries. A significant impact on the world has been felt with many loved ones’ lives lost. But with significant loss there is still hope. Hope and healing are found through music. My findings indicate, although the tune has changed for many of music’s artists, teachers, directors, producers, therapists, venues, and even its listeners, creating a setback, music is on the verge of a rebirth. A language with no boundaries or limitations, music’s response is rewarding and familiar. Music provides a voice to communicate, a method to relax, inspiration to create, a reason to motivate, and restoration in humanity, but most importantly it heals. Some of the greatest songs have been inspired by love and loss as well as some of the greatest humanitarian music efforts. While individuals have experienced some form of confinement for the past year, vaccinations are currently being rolled out. There is hope for the future and music will be part of this transition. Music’s resilient rebound can be felt through its history, creation, consumption, inspiration, restrictions, and a global response.

Senior Capstone Project Paper (pdf)

Senior Capstone Recital Program (pdf)

Artist Statement

I am an accomplished music student with a solid academic background and keen sensitive aural skills. As a Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano, I have a love and passion for music in a diversity of genres, including classical, popular, and musical theatre. I view creating, performing, and experiencing music as a unique way to enhance the human connection. It brings people together from both a visual and emotional experience, crossing cultural differences. Music may provide a method of communication, but as a vocal performer, it is important to express the human connection through feelings of love, loss, and dreams. Focusing on a variety of genres, to speak to a diverse audience, my wish is through the performance, the audience will relate or create a memory. As the year 2020 highlighted unprecedented times, I reflected upon the love and loss many have experienced. A glimmer of hope has been seen through the advancement and creativity of performers and musicians using technology. It can also be seen through the advancement of science, an awakening of sort. Most musicians have an awakening, where music speaks to them. My music awakening began with the opportunity to showcase my powerful instrument in a school production. This led the way to the introduction and education of classical and theatre music. I furthered my education in college, as a double major in Music and Communication & Media. I was committed to embracing all my musical and educational experiences to showcase my voice and trained as a cantor. I strive to connect people and communities through performing, teaching, and facilitating a musical experience.

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