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Local musicians move lessons online with students

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ROCKFORD (WREX) - Even as the coronavirus pandemic cancels concerts and classes for aspiring instrumentalists, local musicians are shifting their instruction online.

"Music is the universal language of mankind," wrote Henry Longfellow. The music plays on in Jemma Goddard's Rockford basement.

"I've been living in rural Oregon teaching K-8 music in a town called Condon, it's through an AmeriCorps program," Goddard said.

She's back home, teaching middle school beginners' band.

"With my lessons in person, I like to play together a lot."

Digitally, it's a back and forth, but musical and verbal notes are shared.

In Elgin, the music plays on in Scott Metlicka's sun room. He is the principal flutist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and teaches at Elgin Community College.

"It's the highlight of their day because they're doing something different, and they're getting to play music. That's really fun for them," Metlicka says.

Fun comes in other instructive ways, too. Goddard has published her own Carpool Karaoke videos for her students.

However, the economic strain on some families during the pandemic means not everyone can have lessons.

"Some who've had to take a step back, because economically their families can't do it right now," Metlicka adds.

Teachers hope this temporary change doesn't silence their students and their instruments.

"Music is when you can really unwind and get a grasp of, okay, everything's going to be okay," says Metlicka.

"It's such a human thing, and we all connect to it. I think it's just so positive, and it brings all of us joy," Goddard says.

"We need that when times are tough," Metlicka says.

They're teaching a universal language - music, to their students' ears.

Dan Cohen

Sports Reporter

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