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Scores of online music teachers emerge from the pandemic

Angela Oudean gives a demo of her online ukulele lessons. She's a musician with little to no gigs during the pandemic who's bringing in some money by teaching online.
Angela Oudean gives a demo of her online ukulele lessons. She's a musician with little to no gigs during the pandemic who's bringing in some money by teaching online.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Sep. 5, 2020 at 6:11 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2020 at 4:42 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Times have been tough in the pandemic for both kids without going to school and musicians not going to gigs. In an age of adaptability, those musicians are figuring out a way to make some money while giving kids an extracurricular experience that virtual school might not give them through online lessons.

Angela Oudean in Anchorage is one such musician.

Oudean has been a professional since she was a teenager. She said she was once in a band called Bearfoot that toured throughout the U.S. and is currently a member of ’Todd Grebe and Cold Country,’ who played shows all over Alaska before coronavirus.

She said this year has been challenging for her and other performers. She was anticipating a great summer of shows.

“The summer is really like our best financial season for us gig workers, and then as everybody knows that all kind of imploded there,” she said.

Now, Oudean teaches violin, guitar, and ukulele online. Mostly through Facetime and Skype. She said it took a while for her to get the hang of changing her teaching to be virtual.

She said she did lose a few students when she made the switch because they didn’t like it not being in person. Some also postponed their learning until after the pandemic. However, she has picked up a few new pupils who she said are doing quite well.

“I’ve actually taken on a few brand new violin students - fiddle students - who have never played before, and they’re small children. So you’d expect that you would really need to do in person lessons but I find that as long as parents are participating that it goes very well,” Oudean said.

Like the school teachers out there, Oudean said internet connectivity is another hurdle to overcome. However if it goes out, she has the option of simply rescheduling.

Oudean has two kids herself, so she knows about the growing concerns of too much screen time for the children. She thinks it’s the time after the lessons that are the most beneficial to be learning music.

“Doing online lessons, still, we’re on a screen for another 30 minutes a day, which is kind of annoying,” she said, “but once you learn how to play though, there’s all of that time that you can spend doing something artistic off of the screen.”

Oudean said all of her musician friends who were teaching in person before have made the switch, and many of her friends who mainly play shows are taking on some students to make ends meet as well.

She is just one of the many musicians who’s made the switch. Dozens more can be found on many parent forums from across the state.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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