Timing is everything- when quarantined

Italian Musical Terms

Largo– Very slow

Presto– Very fast

Feeling largo in what feels like a presto life? (See above for definitions). Time to stop this record spinning and hop off. In ways, quarantine has forced us to slow down a little. Take stock. Not just of our cupboard supplies. Containment has its purposes. There are choices that come with limitations just as much as with freedom, only different choices. What path will we walk today that falls within a short distance of the home? Which shop do we queue outside this time for groceries? What are we going to cook for dinner today? How do I manage the ‘work from home’ timetable around all the other responsibilities? That last choice for me, is the most fixating especially in a climate where I work hard to maintain my business but cannot control how it is being affected by the knock-on effect of Covid-19. Then again, perhaps we are not necessarily fully control of anything anyway?

I glance around the room I type from (study/home office/piano room/sitting room). There are 2 phones, a  clock, timer, tablet, laptop, metronome, timetable, calendar and diary all displaying the date, time or other measurement of when something ‘should’ be done. However, the structures of days and times can be somewhat blurred in a world where for many of us there is now neither a commute nor a strict wake-up requirement and the ability to be in a meeting (online) almost instantly.


A device (originally based on a pendulum design) which measures the equal beats of a piece of music; used by musicians to support accuracy of timing.

A lessened timetable workload just makes me focus more on other work-related responsibilities rather than taking a break. Projections, targets, lesson plans, syllabus reading, financial balancing and apparently endless spreadsheets. Just as the musician’s metronome continues beating at whatever speed it is set to, I cannot help but sense that presto is a tad insensitive to myself at the moment.


(Italian) The speed at which a piece of music is played at.

So how do we maintain our own well-being while the ‘rules’ to what we can and cannot do to change frequently simply to ensure continued healthy survival of our species?! Breathing calmly is a good start. As is being kind to ourselves. We are doing the best we can, with the knowledge we have, using the resources available to us, to maintain our sanity. Perhaps that is good enough. So while the alarm beeps, kitchen timer chimes, kettle clicks, phone rings and online meeting ends- know this- we can appreciate all those little things even more now, while deciding which priorities are best for us right now. This could be a time perhaps, when the metronome does not need to go beyond Largo. Even if just for a bit.

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