Music and more at lifelong learning program

Lesli Bales-SherrodOur Town Teens

Pellissippi State Community College’s Business and Community Services is offering virtual music classes this fall. These noncredit classes are open to the public.

In late March, when the college moved to remote instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic, several lifelong learning classes were impacted, shifting from in person to virtual meetings. Nearly half of Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning classes this fall will continue to be offered virtually.

“It was important for us to continue offering opportunities for the community to learn and connect,” said Nancy Corum, program coordinator with Business and Community Services. “By going virtual with as many classes as possible, we’ve been able to help provide a small sense of normalcy and allow people to still experience that human connection during the last few months. We’ve had many instructors and students really welcome the new virtual environment.”

Anna Uptain is a lifelong-learning instructor who has embraced the opportunity to teach virtually. While Uptain had taught virtual private lessons prior to this year, teaching group classes over the computer has been a new experience.

Uptain is teaching six virtual classes this fall:

  • Beginner Ukulele: Tuesdays, Sept. 8-Oct. 13
  • Advanced Ukulele: Tuesdays, Oct. 20-Dec. 1
  • Beginner Guitar: Thursdays, Oct. 22-Dec. 3
  • Not Your Traditional Guitar: Thursdays, Sept. 10-Oct. 15
  • Dueling Banjos: Wednesdays, Oct. 21-Dec. 2
  • Quick Pickin’ Mandolin: Wednesdays, Sept. 9-Oct. 14

“I like teaching virtually,” said Uptain, who has been teaching classes at Pellissippi State for almost 20 years. “There’s no travel and you can be in the comfort of your own home. If you want to wear your lounge pants and T-shirt, you can.”

Uptain’s classes are designed to help people learn quickly. Knowing time is a luxury when juggling work and other responsibilities, her classes meet one night a week for six weeks.

“On the first night of every class, I introduce myself and I tell students, ‘You will go home playing tonight.’ And they look at me like I’m joking.”

The key to taking a virtual class, Uptain said, is to come into the class with an excitement and willingness to learn.

“Don’t be afraid of the computer. One of the nicest things about virtual classes is there’s nobody else there to hear you if you mess up,” she said. “Everyone is starting in the same place.”

Uptain’s classes are open to ages 13 and older. You do not need to know how to read music or have any musical background or experience.

Other lifelong learning classes being offered virtually this fall include:

  • Dulcimer
  • Digital Photography
  • Book Writing
  • Health & Wellness
  • For the Love of Gems & Jewelry with JTV
  • Professional development classes, like Solidworks, FANUC, leadership

Lifelong learning classes that are being taught in person are following new safety precautions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Masks or face coverings must be worn by all instructors and students, and classes also are being held in larger classrooms to ensure that participants can maintain 6 feet of distance between each other.

Registration is open now. Info here.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.


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