Pachyderm Music Lab In Charlotte Invites Everyone To Tap Into Their Inner Rockstar
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Founder of Pachyderm Music Lab Krystle Baller says in-person music lessons started back up in August, but students can still take lessons with her studio on Zoom to connect with their inner rockstar.
“If you are a creative person looking for an outlet, you should give music a try. Not only will you gain a new skill, it will impact other all aspects of your life. You will get braver in everything else that you do,” says Baller. “Our goal is to get you feeling comfortable and playing songs quickly so you can have that sense of accomplishment out of the gate. Music is a wonderful way to connect with others and yourself.”
Baller says the Music Lab closed and moved all their lessons online for spring/summer to keep students and staff safe from contracting coronavirus, but since reopening the studio, around 50 percent of students have returned for in-person lessons.
The Music Lab’s group classes are still unavailable, but Baller says she plans to use their outdoor space in the fall for small group classes.
Baller says “The Music Lab is open to everyone (adults need the connection too) but the kids especially need the escape that music brings. Our niche is helping folks find confidence through music. The staff of mostly women musicians recognize the role that music has played in each of our lives, bringing us out of our shells and often conveying our feelings more than words ever could. That is a gift we share with our students. Music is a way to see and hear feelings. There are a lot of those going around, with the heaviness of all that has been going on in the world. It’s a great way to relieve stress and feel understood.”
Since reopening for in-person lessons Baller says her studio follows this protocol:
- Masks required.
- Everyone who enters gets a temperature check at the door.
- Each teacher has one day or a designated time to teach staff that doesn’t overlap with student/staff lessons.
- All lessons are taught in an open and ventilated downstairs area, outdoors on a backyard stage, or on the front porch.
- Instructors stay 6 feet away from students.
- All the gear and the air is sanitized in-between students with aerosol disinfectant.
- Any students/staff that contract COVID must take virtual lessons until they provide proof of a negative COVID test before resuming in-person lessons.
Baller says she has seen a drastic decline in the amount of students taking lessons since the start of quarantine.
“In April and May we raised enough money to give scholarships to 25 kids and teens with the help of Girls Rock Charlotte (a nonprofit we share the space with) and our own community network. That covered those families for lessons at first. But it was hard to raise the funds needed to cover those students throughout the summer, unfortunately,” says Baller. “I think the students started to get burnt out on Zoom calls as well and just wanted a break from screen time. I also haven’t been able to do my group class called Lady Rockstars where I put women in bands every month. It ends with an open mic night show and the music venues/open mics have all been shut down.”
Since social distancing has been in effect though, Baller says her online classes have become much more popular.
“On the flipside, I did see growth in the class I offer online for women and non-binary folks called Lady Rockstars Plugged In. I post 2 videos a week for guitar and bass, and we have an online learning community on our website. It’s been cool to get signups from women around the world!” says Baller.
Baller says Pachyderm Music Lab uses word-of-mouth mostly to attract new members, and does work for the community through Girls Rock Charlotte where she also finds new students.
“Our house is incredible. Pachyderm Music Lab is an LGBTQ+ Safe Space and our staff is made up of mostly women teachers. The house itself is a work of art and has a very welcoming energy. We are accepting and not competitive. Our goal as teachers is to give students confidence right away and we do this by teaching simple songs the student likes as soon as possible. Technique and theory are taught along the way, but ultimately we teach our students how to tap into their own creativity from day 1,” says Baller.
The Pachyderm Music Lab, located close to Abari outside of NoDa, offers online and in-person classes for $45 per 30-minute lesson.
Baller says “The goal is confidence building and the ability to play music with others without feeling overwhelmed. Pachyderm is for the artsy folks who might have trouble belonging. We encourage everyone to embrace being themselves and teach with positivity and encouragement!”
Baller encourages any non-binary person or woman 16-years-old and up, wanting to learn on their own, to click here for her online Lady Rockstars Plugged In class for $12 a month.
Anyone curious to learn more about Krystle Baller’s life, and her students, check out her TEDx Talk here.
Baller says all genders ages 6 and up can sign up for in-person or zoom music lessons at Pachyderm Music Lab’s website here.