Delandria Mills

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I have been residing in Baltimore, Maryland since graduate school at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins where I now teach in the Preparatory Department. Before the pandemic, and a lot like now, I had a very extensive teaching schedule for Baltimore City Public Schools but also for the Peabody Prep. The only difference between now and a little before a year ago, is that all of my teaching is online. One would think that teaching virtually from home would be easier, but it is incredibly exhausting. However, a lot of good has come out of being forced to do things online. I feel that children and older adults got crash courses in manoeuvring Zoom, and the internet as a whole – which is great.

The lockdown, as most of us saw, gave most of the world an opportunity to rest and rethink some things. Like many other countries even wildlife in the United States could be seen branching out and taking to the streets. The air felt cleaner and the streets were very still. For myself, being in lockdown gave me the opportunity to organise my home and spend quality time with my family, so in that regard it was one of the most emotionally fulfilling years of my life. Sadly and very unfortunately, lives have been lost, including some dear friends of mine who happened to be masterful musicians.

At the start of the pandemic, I had a hard time being productive or feeling creative. I am so grateful that I was able to keep working. I am a professional flutist, author, educator, composer, and mother to a four-year-old boy. With that said, I never have a hard time finding something to do. Once the lockdown began, I immediately feared that my summer camp, Kingdom Flute Works, was going to have to be put on hold. I have been running the program since 2009. The great news is, the camp experience was bigger than ever because I was able to hire and utilise talent from anywhere on earth. It was amazing.

I was not familiar with the Clubhouse app last year, but I can say that it has given me a huge life reset. I am connecting with new and brilliant people and rethinking my career in music in a way that I have not in over a decade. It has been very inspiring.

The beginning of the lockdown was incredibly stressful for me. I immediately bought a stationary bike and multiple sets of weights. Cleaning, hiking on trails, working out, and playing with cars and dinosaurs with my son became some of my happiest of pastimes outside of music.

A year later and I can truly say that I am excited about the future. I believe that we all have grown and learned a lot since the Spring of 2020. Personally, I am collaborating with musicians across multiple genres and have decided to take private lessons again. I do not know what the future holds for jazz clubs and orchestra halls but I am definitely eager to step into one again. Hopefully that won’t be too far off the horizon.

One thing I think we need to remember is that we need each other. We need to connect with other people. Once I reached out to family, friends, and made new friends, the world opened up in a brand new way and the future did not feel so uncertain anymore. We must remember to stay optimistic. Keep growing, keep moving forward, and keep showing up. The future is bright and all is well.


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Delandria Mills

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