How One San Antonio Musician Is Adjusting To Social Distance Guidelines | Texas Public Radio

How One San Antonio Musician Is Adjusting To Social Distance Guidelines

Mar 16, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has forced the creative hand for many who deal one-on-one with others as part of their work.

A San Antonio Symphony musician has found a creative way to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and how she makes her living. Principal second violinist Mary Ellen Goree teaches music lessons to students — a lot of them.

"At the moment I have about 21," she said.

She also augments those two endeavors with playing weddings and other gatherings.  

"In the next three weeks I had one memorial service and two weddings scheduled, and all three have now been postponed," she said.

Like the rest of us, she has watched the coronavirus crisis play out in real-time, evolving quickly as it did.

"I think the effects are only starting to hit,” Goree said. “I sent an email out to my students about a week and a half ago asking them to cancel their lesson if they were feeling unwell or if anyone in their house was feeling unwell."

In the interim, the shift has been quick and, by necessity, extreme.

"Last night I emailed my students again to say that moving forward from today, all lessons will be conducted online and that I will not be teaching in-person lessons until the crisis has passed," she said.

Her situation hasn’t developed in a vacuum. She said her fellow symphony musicians who are teachers are also using Skype or FaceTime to give lessons. While it's not perfect, it's the next best thing to being in the same room.

"Both the student and the teacher have to have the equipment, and for FaceTime, obviously we both have to have iPhones," she said.

Given that her students are also now out of school, she's encouraging them to make good use of their home time.  

"I hope my students are taking advantage of this opportunity to practice a lot," she said.

In-person teaching is changing across the globe as COVID-19 spreads. Check out TPR's live blog to find out more information. 

Jack Morgan can be reached at and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.