This year is so different in so many ways, so many annual traditions canceled. But there are certain rites of passage that our local students are still experiencing by the very nature of the year of school they’re in, like getting to try orchestra in fourth grade or trying out for the jazz ensemble in high school. These years of K-12 musical instruction may be the only opportunity kids get to find out if they have an interest in pursuing music or test their hard-earned chops against their peers. They are critical milestones and the havoc this disease has wreaked on this, and last, school year has the potential to limit the musical exposure they would normally get. The schools are doing the best they can, but as lifetime music enthusiasts, it does sadden us.
This year, the schools are managing music instruction in an alternate way to minimize risk of exposure, as a lot of instruments take a lot of breathing in rooms full of kids. For the older kids, they are splitting the bands and alternating between days of playing and days of music theory learning, and occasionally getting the whole group together using video conferencing. For the younger grades, kids are rotating in groups through their four arts classes for one month at a time, and then in a few months, they circle back to the first one again. For these nine- and ten-year-olds, learning an instrument with regular practice is already a challenge. This year, they’ll have to retain those lessons for weeks at a time without instruction. That’s not easy!
As a music store and music lesson provider, we are in a unique position to bridge a gap for those families that are looking to keep those skills sharp and those instruments in tune. When COVID hit, our shop adapted to offering our lessons via Zoom. Our teachers rose to the challenge and we have been able to keep so many kids from losing their hard-earned musical abilities since March. Now that the school year is in swing, we continue to do the same by offering lessons to supplement the reduced in-school playing time for all levels of players whose regular playing time is likely cut in half.
We also know that those instruments that are not being taken in for class, or being played as often as they should, are going to need tuning. So, this year, we are offering free school instrument tuning assistance to anyone who comes to us, whether you rent from us or not. We will tune the instrument for you, or we will teach you how to tune it yourself at home. Our shop has thrived in this town for nearly 15 years, and offering a little free help is the least we can do. We know better than anyone that a young musician needs to feel they’re making progress, or they will lose interest. We want to help keep your kids “in tune” with their love for music.