Make Your Pandemic Productive: Take a Lesson From a Local Music Star

Choices vary from instruction from members of Slightly Stoopid to a San Diego Music Award winner and everything in between.

In this time of social distancing, we've seen tons of musicians -- from bedroom players to those on the national stage -- share livestreams of their performances. Some are doing so in collaborative formats with other artists while others simply plug-and-play and hope to get eyeballs on their social pages.

But what if you have a couple instruments that you've always been meaning to play but never quite learned? Well, self-isolation is the perfect time to pick up a new craft or improve your technique on an old one. Many musicians and services are currently offering distance-learning classes, some with one-on-one lessons while others are video tutorials you can play along to. The reality is that there's never been a better time to learn.

If you're a fan of Slightly Stoopid, right now you can get personalized lessons from saxophone player Daniel “Dela” Delacruz and/or trombone and trumpet player Andy Geib, also known as "AG," both of whom are offering online music lessons via Live Lesson Masters, or join their Stoopid cohort Paul Wolstencroft, who is giving online lessons in keyboard fundamentals, songwriting and production via Backstage Music Lessons. And then there's Stoopid drummer Ryan "RyMo" Moran, who is giving private lessons -- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In fact, lots of local musicians have been stepping up their online lessons, too. Singer/songwriter Nate Donnis posted “For parents looking for educational activities for their kids over this month of mayhem, I am offering guitar lessons via Facetime, Skype and Zoom. For a limited time I am offering a free introductory 20-minute lesson!" Reach out to Nate here.

Other music educators from the local area include Mike Ruggirello who gives lessons under the name Mr Guitar Lessons; Greg Vaughan of Danyavaad & the Shimmy Sisters and the REM tribute band Murmur, who teaches via Temple of the Sacred String; and Clinton Davis, who's offering lessons on banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and piano via Skype. He can be booked for a free half-hour consultation here.

Don't have a guitar or keyboard? Don't worry. Vocal powerhouse Shelbi Bennett of the Midnight Pine, the Havnauts and Baby Bushka posted on social: “Never sang before?... Singing is a beautiful and accessible way to bring people together if you’re with family, or self-soothe if you’re alone. These are strange time, and wouldn’t it be nice to have an hour of escape from that?" You can message her via Facebook for rates and more information.

There are a few less local options as well: Fender guitars, for example, is currently offering three months of free guitar, bass and ukulele lessons to the first 100,000 who sign up for Fender Play. Simply create an account on its site and let the learning begin. Similarly, Elite Guitarist is offering 30 days of free classical, flamenco and jazz guitar lessons: "Stay inside, take the quarantine guitar challenge. Wash your hands and learn some new repertoire or branch into new genres."

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