PALO ALTO, Calif. - A Gunn High School student in Palo Alto came up with a creative way to help families as they shelter in place. At the same time, she's raising money to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
Julia Segal started QuaranTunes, an organization that connects teen musicians with children to give them virtual music lessons.
Segal, 16, loves to sing and write her own music.
While coping with the stay-at-home order, she started teaching music to her sister and others.
"There were so many children out there and other parts of the country as well that were looking for things to do during quarantine," said Julia.
She started QuaranTunes by recruiting other high school students including Brindha Jaeger to donate their time and talent to teach music via Zoom to children here in the Bay Area and beyond.
"It's definitely help put structure in my life because during this time, you don't have to wake up and go to a job or go to school. No one's holding you accountable," said Brindha. Teaching gives her renewed purpose, knowing that she's sharing her knowledge with others such as 12-year-old student Olivia Seidenverg. She said, "I kinda want to make my percussion skills better."
Parents are asked, but not required to make a donation for each lesson.
"We don't want brining music into someone's home to have any monetary restrictions," said Julia.
Olivia's father Scott Seidenverg said Zoom lessons are music to her ears since in-person lessons for his daughter are not possible now, "This is a great opportunity to see if she can improve this way."
Improvement goes both ways: for the student and the teacher.
"It's been giving me motivation to keep playing music after my lesson every day. I actually keep playing. I stay on my drum set for another hour practicing. Normally, I would just, I could practice drums, but I could also just watch Netflix," said Brindha.
Julia started QuaranTunes at the beginning of April.
So far, 70 young musicians have volunteered to teach and more than 120 students have signed up for lessons-from as far away as the United Kingdom and India.
"It's changed my own life to see how much we can accomplish even as teenagers, how we can change people lives through music," said Julia. All proceeds go towards the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
She says QuaranTunes doesn't refuse music lessons to anyone, so she's encouraging students and teachers to sign up.
For information and to help there is a Gofundme.