Highschooler’s Online Music Lessons Expand Worldwide

Aug 1, 2020

What started as a pet project born out of boredom during the shutdown is now a full-fledged organization with 170 volunteers offering more than 5,000 lessons to 500 students around the world.

But it’s also raising money to help national coronavirus efforts.

“We raised almost thirty thousand dollars for the CDC Foundation,” said Julia Segal, an incoming senior at Gunn High in Palo Alto. The Foundation is a non-profit that was created by Congress to support the CDC.

Segal started “Quarantunes” out of her love for music and a desire to contribute to the fight against the pandemic.

But as more people signed up for lessons, Segal realized there was still one major barrier.

“We’re providing these music lessons. But the people that we actually want to be able to pick these music lessons are the people that currently cannot because they don’t have instruments,” Segal said.

To try and solve that problem, Quarantunes partnered with local music shops to offer free instruments.

“They have these old instruments that they no longer had a use for because they weren’t in perfect condition,” Segal said. And in return, “we spread the word about their shop.”

A Quarantunes’ volunteer picks up the instruments and sends them to the students in need.

Segal says since starting this program she’s recognized her own privileges having parents who can afford to pay for her extracurricular activities.

“I’ve kind of lived in a bubble a little bit, even people that live as close as the other side of Palo Alto, just seeing how drastically different their lives are,” Segal said. “It has shown me so much inequity.”

Segal says Quarantunes plans to add even more virtual courses including cooking and soccer while she begins her senior year, which, like Quarantunes itself, she’ll attend remotely.

— Shannon Lin (@LinShannonLin)

Copyright 2020 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.