LETHBRIDGE -- More than 700 Southern Alberta music students are getting their lessons online, thanks to a group of instructors at the University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music.

“We wanted our instructors to be able to continue doing what they love, and have some financial stability during these uncertain times,” said Breeanne Fuller, director of the conservatory. “The success was unexpected. From 900 students we reached out to… about 90 percent of them agreed to go online, and our instructors ran with it.”

Percussion instructor Joe Porter has about 50 students through the conservatory. He has been teaching courses online for several years, but said it was something new for most of his students. “I've got to see the students that were bored at home with not being able to go out, and now they have something to work towards, and it’s really positive," Porter said.

Student Clint Colegrave said he hopes to make his living through playing percussion and when CASA closed due to COVID-19 he was worried about what would happen, “So this is very good, because I don’t miss a beat, per se," he said.

Joe Porter

“I prefer the weekly in-person interactions with my students, but for now, these online lessons are a great substitute,” said piano instructor Colleen Klassen. “They keep our students progressing and moving forward, and they provide consistency in our young student’s lives, when everything else around them has changed.”

Fuller said students in some rural areas haven’t been able to participate because they don’t have access to high speed internet, but the majority of families have made the transition fairly easily. “It happened really quickly, and has been really successful so far, so amidst this crisis, it has been one little glimmer of goodness," she said.

For more information about the Conservatory of Music and one-on-one music lessons, visit ulethbridge.ca/music-conservatory