Social distancing carries a wide range of meanings. Everyone has experienced something different: from the bored teenager to the unmotivated student to the dedicated teacher. Senior Ryan Kazda captured all of these feelings and crafted a uniting song aptly titled “Social Distancing.”
Since it was uploaded to his YouTube channel on March 21, the song has racked up over 5,400 views and gained the attention of several local news platforms.
It all began when Kazda saw other jazz musicians, Benny Banack III and Dr. Reggie Thomas, sharing songs of their own. These songs inspired Kazda and by writing his own song, he hoped to have the same effect on the Oswego community.
“From watching the news every day and seeing the horrible tragedies this virus has brought about, I wanted to utilize my passion for music to help instill some optimism,” Kazda said.
Kazda’s talent was on full display, as he created the song in a little less than an hour. He composed and rehearsed the song one day, before filming it the next.
“It was one of those magical moments where I had the whole idea in my head, and it was just a matter of getting it down on paper,” Kazda said.
While Kazda remained humble about his accomplishment, those around him recognized how impressive it truly was.
“The fact that he did it in such a short amount of time and it sounded so good was amazing,” band director Stephanie San Roman said.
Band director Kevin Schoenbach shared nothing but praise when asked about Kazda’s talent.
“Ryan is amongst the most creative students I have ever had in my almost 20 years of teaching, and this kind of thing is very easy for him,” Schoenbach said. “He is a natural.”
Kazda explained that the hardest aspect of writing the song was finding the balance between the lighthearted and serious aspects of the issue. In the end, his hopeful outlook shone through, bringing the balance he seeked.
“I wanted my audience to realize the depth of this pandemic; however, I did not want to overwhelm them with negativity,” Kazda said. “Rather, I tried to shed an optimistic light on this issue through my music, while still reminding my listeners to practice safe and healthy habits.”
As far as his own experiences in social distancing, Kazda describes it as a love-hate relationship. He shared that he appreciates the time to explore his creativity, but misses the people he used to see on a daily basis.
“It is a tough situation to be isolated from everyone, however I wanted my song to serve as a reminder that “we can get through this together” and that one-day, “life will be normal again,” Kazda said.
For him, creating this song was about more than simply improving his music skills. He wanted to bring joy to others, and he did just that.
“He is a lover of music, but even a bigger lover of people.”
“The only thing about Ryan that is better than his inherent musicianship is the amount he cares about his fellow man, and wanting them to do well and be happy,” Schoenbach said. “He is a lover of music, but even a bigger lover of people.”
Kazda shared that he didn’t expect the song to have this level of success. He feels fortunate to have been able to touch so many in the community.
“The reaction from the public has been overwhelmingly positive and I am extremely grateful for all the comments, shares, likes, reposts, and gracious compliments I have received over the course of the past week,” Kazda said.
This success was met with approval from Kazda’s band director, who recognized the true power music holds.
“I think the amount of attention he’s garnered is wonderful,” San Roman said. “Music is helping people get through this challenging time (as it always has throughout history) and Ryan is adding to that.”
Kazda shares almost all of his musical projects on social media, posting regularly on his YouTube channel and Instagram page. He’s motivated by a desire to spread positivity and connect with others.
“I do this because I want to encourage others to share what they are doing, and to spread the message of simply being yourself, and expressing what you are passionate about,” Kazda said.
He acknowledges the positive effects of creativity during this time of isolation and hopes others will follow in his footsteps.
“I encourage others to explore their creative-selves and do something to better those around them and the whole world during this extended time off,” Kazda said.