Canada's Arkells are giving free online, social-distance-friendly music lessons

Rocking out, flattening the curve.
March 18, 2020 1:36 p.m. EST
March 18, 2020 1:40 p.m. EST
Get your rock on, keep your distance. That’s the objective of Hamilton band Arkells and their new online music class project, hosted for free on Instagram Live. Budding musicians and fans alike can tune in (this past weekend marked class number one) to learn to play one of the band’s best-loved songs in the company of Max Kerman, their frontman, and keyboardist Anthony Carone.Leading up to the tutorial, the band will post chords to tunes like ‘People’s Champ’ or ‘Leather Jacket’ or ‘ Years in the Making’ on their Instagram, Twitter feed, and Facebook page. Keeners can study up before class and then join Kerman Live on Instagram for the official lesson. The platform allows for students to chime in in real time with their questions or requests for specific tips and pointers. For non-musicians or beginners, it’s still a fun way to see how the pieces of a particular well-known song come together. "What I've been telling Arkells fans is that anything we're doing truly is not rocket science," Kerman said in an interview with the CBC. "Once you learn a G, C, D, E minor, A minor, you are ready to go, and you can learn a lot of your favourite music."
More importantly, however, the project is creating a sense of community among musicians and fans alike — one that stretches across oceans to fans as far away as Italy and the UK. "It's a way to ultimately feel engaged and still feel a sense of community in a time where you can't see people face-to-face," said Kerman. "I think music allows us a chance to … feel connected to other people," he said. "When you're hearing the stories that you hear through songs, and you're able to relate to them, those are the things that keep me going."The band is calling their new project Flatten The Curve Music Class, encouraging fans to practice social distancing while engaging with others virtually and learning something new in the process. "There are silver linings to be found throughout all of this, and I think every day I'm learning something new about myself and something new I can bring into the world," he said. So while Shakespeare may have written King Lear while he was quarantined with the plague, let it be said that while we were quarantined with COVID-19, we formed some seriously kick-ass virtual cover bands.
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