In It Together

Jeff Coffin

A common, shared experience is unique. We are all going through a difficult time—a global pandemic—together yet separately. What experiences will you bring to your music, your writing, and your students once we are through this challenge?

What’s the Point?

How has the pandemic made you feel? Have you felt divided or united? Have you felt empathy or distance? Have you felt compassion or cold? Have you just buried your head in the sand waiting for it to end? Have you been practicing and playing? Have you felt, “What’s the point?”

Why do we play music? What actually is the point if not to connect? If not to tell some kind of story or to share the way we perceive the world, why do it? Why create?

In these kinds of moments, talking about gear or how to play faster or how to gain better technique pale alongside the idea of talking about who we are as human beings in relation to each other and the world.

What Matters?

Being an improvisor for my entire career has prepared me to think on my feet and to go with the flow. Knowing that we depend on each other, even in times when we are not physically near each other, is essential to moving forward. Staying connected is part of what we do, maybe the biggest part.

In the arts, our intentions and relevance matter. Connect with the times and be active in the movement and motion of society as a whole. Express commonality and concern, empathy and ecstasy. Show that you are a citizen of the world by your actions and efforts. Doing your part can be as simple as writing a poem about how you are dealing with life.

How do you reach out? What is your story during these trying times? How will this pandemic change you as an artist? How has it changed the way you listen? Who are you moving forward?

About author

Jeff Coffin

Jeff Coffin is a three-time Grammy Award winning saxophonist, composer, educator, and author. He has been a band member of Dave Matthews Band since 2008.  Jeff also teaches at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff has published “The Saxophone Book,” co-wrote “The Articulate Jazz Musician” with Caleb Chapman, and released “The Road Book” in late 2019. Jeff is a Yamaha and D’Addario Performing Artist and Clinician.  Visit and for more information.

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