By Jared Free

Like many businesses, Feagin’s Fretboard was unsure of how coronavirus-related closures would impact them. As a music education studio, their bread and butter was intimate, one-on-one lessons. However, they adjusted better than their team expected! While switching to online teaching had its obstacles, by remaining true to their core values they were able to find their stride with ease.

I’ve been taking classes at Feagin’s Fretboard since early June. Thanks to the current pandemic, I found myself with a lot of spare time and was itching for something to do. Way back in elementary school, I had started playing the cello, but was forced to end my studies because of financial difficulties. Over the last 15 years, I had thought about picking it back up, but I always held back because of the commitment it would take to become proficient. COVID provided the perfect opportunity to give it another try, and I have been beyond pleased with the results. Making music has given me a new hobby to hone every day; keeping my mind engaged. Although not all of Feagin’s teachers are doing distance learning, I’ve been more than satisfied with my Zoom lessons.

Feagin’s Fretboard really makes an effort to create connections that go beyond the traditional teacher/student relationship. I was worried that I might struggle to connect with my teacher through a weekly video chat, but they supplement their weekly lessons by making great use of the Edmodo platform, an app designed for teacher-student communication. If I have any questions or problems that arise throughout the week, I can post them there for my teacher to respond to. In my conversations with my cello teacher, Wednesday Aparisi, it became clear that they look for teachers who aren’t just great technical players, but also quality educators. Their team is great at putting together lesson plans that motivate their students — especially kids — to actively engage with their learning.

They offer a variety of lessons, from classical instruments such as the cello, violin, viola, and piano, to more modern instruments like electric, acoustic, and classical guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, and voice. They also offer practical lessons in songwriting and have an innovative Rock Band program that pairs you with professional musicians to practice playing in a group. As I wrote above, some of their lessons are entirely online, but they do offer safe, socially distanced lessons and programs in person if you’re interested.

As I discovered, this is a great time to devote yourself to a new hobby or skill like music. At Feagin’s Fretboard, all ages and skill levels are welcome. Whether you’re just starting out, have taken a few years off, or are an old pro, they have a program and a teacher that fits your needs. The personal connection they offer makes you feel like you’re part of a family. To quote founder Kirk Feagin, “if you build a business it lasts a year, if you build a community it lasts a lifetime.” As the uncertainty of the new school year inches ever closer, Feagin’s Fretboard is the perfect way to supplement your child’s extended summer break or distance learning.

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Jared Free