'It's been a saving grace': Fayetteville musician turns to online lessons for income

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Like many, the ongoing pandemic has turned Ernesto Rivas's life upside down in the last several weeks.

The Fayetteville musician has relied on weekend gigs around Cumberland County and students he teaches face-to-face to drive his career; however, those options were quickly brought to a halt because of social distancing.

In addition to being a musician, Rivas has been running a company called Rivas Music Group. In the last two years, he's been teaching people of all ages to play instruments, along with offering an online lesson option.

"In a way, it's been a saving grace to be set up to provide this service," Rivas said.

He never realized that a small portion of his company would turn into his largest source of income.

Of his 32 students, Rivas's been able to retain eight of them willing to move online.

"Musicians are resilient and so, they're going to find a way to adapt to the situation," Rivas said.

Those online courses, through Zoom, allow his students to follow along as he teaches them new techniques and tips for playing instruments like piano or guitar.

Rivas acknowledges that online music teaching options will become even more available when people start picking up hobbies in self-isolation or quarantine.

He hopes to do enough to stand out in the over-saturated market and pick up some more students in the coming weeks.

"Hope to get back to face-to-face time lessons. You know, I hope things get back to normal very soon," Rivas said.
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