A SKIPTON based guitar teacher who has been running a new online music group during the coronavirus pandemic says it has helped students continue playing music socially.

Matthew Annable, who had been teaching guitar in Skipton before March, adapted to the new normal of online teaching, and then started out trying out the idea of live streaming a guitar group session using Zoom.

The result, he says, is a group similar to the Joe Wicks sessions that kept kids exercising throughout lockdown, but for guitar, and it has proved a great success.

The group plays along to popular, familiar songs with all learning materials arranged on screen, including a live guide of what to play and when.

Students then use the messaging feature to chat and say how they’re getting on. After beginning trials at the start of July Matthew found students would come back each and every week.

“A lot of young musicians have been negatively affected by lockdown; parents have said that their child lost the spark for playing due to a combination of problems with online lessons and not being able to play music with friends,” he said.

“They’ve said the group has helped to keep their child’s interest in playing alive through the period and they’ve enjoyed feeling part of a group.”

Matthew asks people to ‘pay as they feel’ rather than a fixed amount after realising many were suffering financially.

“ This means that people can either take part in the session for free or pay a weekly amount that they feel represents the value of the session to their son or daughter. The next couple of years could be hard financially for some families and I don’t want any child who enjoys playing music to have to stop for that reason. Running the session this way allows those kids to have an opportunity to continue.”

The sessions are aimed at six to 14-year-olds and is graded in difficulty so students can play at a level which is enjoyable for them.

For the future, Matthew believes there is scope that such classes can continue.

“While it will always be important for musicians to meet up and play together. There is definitely a place for groups like this - it’s more convenient and can fit into a busy schedule. Added to which, it can also be a place for those who don’t enjoy big group settings: you can turn up, play some guitar, listen to some music and feel part of a community.”

Matthew is currently trying out a Ukulele group for ‘20-somethings’ with some friends as the instrument is cheap and relatively easy to get to grips with.

To find out more, email: matthewannable.education@gmail.com or find him on the internet.