WINNIPEG -- From baking bread to binging Netflix series, the pandemic has forced many people to find new hobbies to pass the time.

Now, it seems, many Manitobans are looking to flex their musical muscles, as music schools are seeing an increase in adults looking to take lessons.

Tina Charney, lesson coordinator at Long & McQuade, said throughout the summer, demand for lessons began to increase and it has remained consistent.

She noted they’ve seen a noticeable uptick in adults wanting to take up new instruments as they look for new things to do during the pandemic.

“It’s just the age groups that have been a little bit different, so maybe people that aren’t working as much due to COVID, that kind of age group,” she said.

“Adults, young adults, older adults, retired adults, they’ve been looking for more to do with lessons and trying new instruments.”

Shawn Coughlin, music director with the Academy of Music, said they’ve also seen interest from adults hoping to take music lessons.

“We have been finding some adults wanting to take lessons to fill up that time, more as a hobby,” he said.

“Certainly more so than we have in the past.”

Coughlin noted another change brought on by the pandemic is the demand for online lessons.

He said the Academy of Music began to offer online lessons in the fall of 2019, but there wasn’t a lot of interest at the time.

This quickly changed back in March, and now they are providing an even split between online and in-home lessons.”

“That for sure is a new thing, and that really is more of our shift in terms of our company and our focus is that we’re actually looking at expanding our market beyond the City of Winnipeg,” he said.


With COVID-19 restrictions now in place, it has also changed the way in-person music lessons are conducted.

Coughlin said now when teachers go to students’ homes, they follow safety precautions such as wearing masks, washing their hands, sanitizing the instruments, and physical distancing.

Charney said at Long & McQuade, along with offering online lessons, they are adding plastic dividers in their rooms and enforcing physical distancing measures.

“We’ve been trying to do our best with what we’re given,” she said.