The spread of the coronavirus and the corresponding isolation and possible time off of work or school means something different for each of us: more time to focus on a different job, binge-watching Netflix or compulsively keeping up with the news.
For 10-year-old Jacob Shin, this has been an opportunity to spread hope through his music.
“I think that music has a more powerful effect on people than saying things,” Shin said.
Shin’s mother, Mijung Park, uploaded a video of Shin playing the prelude of Bach’s classic Cello Suite No. 1 on Sunday. Shin, a 5th grader at Ogletree Elementary School, included in the comments an essay addressed to students, parents, teachers and Auburn residents, expressing his emotions regarding the pandemic, hoping to instill a sense of peace and calm in his audience.
“I am writing this essay and playing Bach Suite no. 1 Prélude to encourage you to not be stressed about the victims of the coronavirus, for even though it is very serious, we still have each other, which is a very good thing,” Shin wrote. “Even though the damage will be very severe, it will eventually end. Also, if you have a close friend or family member who has the coronavirus your grief is our grief.”
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Auburn City Schools tweeted out the video Sunday night, amassing likes and retweets from members of the community.
Shin said he was inspired to learn and perfect the piece to give hope to those who are worried and to help them feel better.
“I was feeling sad about the victims, and I wanted to give hope, and I felt grief for the people who already had family members and close friends,” Shin said. “I think that hearing the music will help people to hope again, so I practiced it.”
Shin said he’s been playing cello for about three years, a decision he made with his parents because he thought “it sounded cool.” He’s been working hard since then and said that he practices for 2–3 hours every day.
Through his hard work, Shin has performed in prestigious venues such as the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City. He’s also won several international music competitions, Park said.
And during this time off from school, he said he’s had more time to play. But he’s sad, too; not only because he knows that others are suffering, but because he wants to see his friends.
“I feel very sad because I can’t see my friends or my teacher, and I really want to keep up my studies,” Shin said.
The middle of this pandemic, full of fear and illness, is parallel to the middle of the prelude, to Shin: restless rather than carefree.
“Before the coronavirus, there was no worldwide trouble. Suddenly, like a lightning bolt during a cloudless day, disaster struck,” Shin wrote.
But the music resolves, peaceful once again, Shin wrote. He hopes to see a similar outcome for the coronavirus, he said.
“I just hope that people enjoy my music, and I just hope that they will hope again, and I hope that the coronavirus will end.”
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