MEET THE STAFF: Paul Surapine, RI Philharmonic Music School Faculty Member

Where did you grow up? Enfield Connecticut, suburb of Hartford, and just south of Springfield MA.

Favorite meal or restaurant? Many, but my “neighborhood hang” is the Caffe Sorrento in Milford MA.

Coffee or Tea? Mostly coffee, a nice espresso at night, occasionally tea.

What instrument do you teach at the RI Philharmonic Music School? Clarinet, Saxophone, and Clarinet Ensembles.

What inspired you to take up that instrument and how old were you when you started? I was 9, fourth grade, started in the public school instrumental music program in Enfield CT. Wanted to play trumpet but they said my teeth were too crooked. Second choice was clarinet, because I had seen a movie with Steve Allen “The Benny Goodman Story” that summer, and liked the music in it and the sound he made on clarinet. I had my first lesson on a Monday, September 30, 1968.

Who was your best teacher and why? I had several very good teachers that all sent me along the same path. My main teacher was Kalmen Opperman in New York City for almost 15 years, 1978 to 1993 or so.

What inspired you to start teaching? Started teaching when I was 14, going into 9th grade. I was helping out at the Enfield Public School summer music program, teaching some little beginners and I really enjoyed starting them out the right way and molding them into good players, modeling everything on what I was being taught.

How long have you been teaching at the RI Philharmonic Music School? Over 10 years, can’t really remember my starting year date.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Sharing the joy of exploring great music and also of accomplishment when you work towards mastering a craft like instrumental performance.

What do you want people to know about the RI Philharmonic Music School? Great place, great community of people working to build and share a great culture and bring it to all people regardless of demographics of economy, education or backgrounds.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? Yes, teaching via Zoom, cooking a lot, trying to work on our garden, and running my own orchestra organization.

You’re stuck on a desert island… what book, music/album/artist and movie do you want with you? Too many to choose, I’d need a library float. Just a clarinet and my etudes memorized in my head. and some sun block.

MEET THE STAFF: Erin Flood, Enrollment and Student Services Manager

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Where did you grow up? I’m a Rhode Islander through and through! I grew up in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? My favorite musical memory is probably seeing James Taylor’s surprise performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Newport Folk Festival is one of the best musical experiences around!

Favorite meal or restaurant? My favorite meal changes day to day, but I love dumplings and Indian food. India Restaurant on Hope Street is one of my favorites.

Coffee or Tea? Tea for sure. Green tea or chai tea lattes are my favorite

You’re stuck on a desert island…What book, music/album/artist and movie do you want with you? I would definitely want the Harry Potter series because I can re-read those books over and over. I would want The Tallest Man on Earth albums. For movie I would pick the Lord of the Rings extended editions, because it’s 12 + hours of content!

What’s your pet situation? I have two cats, Gwen is 5 years old and Nova is 1 year old.

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What’s your title and how would you describe your role? My title is Enrollment & Student Services Manager. I am the first point of contact for new students who are interested in private lessons at the Music School. I manage the enrollment team, place new students with teachers, facilitate re-enrollment for summer and fall, manage our registration software, among other things! One of our teachers fondly refers to me as her “Student Liaison”

How long have you been at the RI Phil? I have been working at the RI Phil for 5 years. I started out as a Branch Coordinator working at the front desk.

What brought you to the RI Phil? I graduated with a degree in music, so I wanted to continue to work in a musical field and support musical education.

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? The RI Phil Music School isn’t just for serious classical musicians. We offer all different musical styles, from pop, to jazz, to rock to students of all ages and levels!

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? When I’m not working, I’ve been doing a lot of baking. I just received a sourdough starter from a friend so will hopefully have perfected sourdough bread by the time the Music School re-opens.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Stay connected. Social distancing can feel isolating, so make sure to connect with friends and family through calls and video chats or from a safe distance. Do things that make you happy. Try not to feel guilty if you’re eating tons of bread, like I am! This is a hard time for everyone so anything that brings you comfort should be celebrated!

MEET THE STAFF: Amelia Prioli, Community Partnerships Manager

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Where did you grow up? South Carolina – in the Upstate and the Lowcountry.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? What an impossible question… I feel like I’d have to combine so many things, so I’ll note the following formative musical memories that I’m really lucky to have: 1. My family always made music when we got together (whether it was bagpiping or old hymns and folk songs). 2. I grew up listening to my mom’s original vinyl of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. 3. I always saved all my money to go to shows and buy records. 4. I’ve had some truly transcendent moments with classical music in various places ranging from small practice rooms to airplanes to famous concert halls.

Favorite meal or restaurant? My grandma’s kitchen in Abbeville, SC.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee – black.

You’re stuck on a desert island… what book, music/album/artist and movie
do you want with you? Book: An anthology of some sort – Rumi? Poe? Neruda? Music: Too many to choose, so I’ll plan on bringing my guitar or banjo instead. Movie: Jaws.

What’s your pet situation? I live my pet dreams vicariously through my neighbor’s animals.

What’s your title and how would you describe your role? Community Partnerships Manager – I manage the education programs that happen outside (and a few inside) of our building. This role keeps me energized and busy and constantly stretching creative muscles – from grant writing to direct classroom teaching to training teaching artists to social media to providing professional development to RI and MA teachers. Best job I’ve ever had!

How long have you been at the RI Phil? 3.5 years.

What brought you to the RI Phil? My husband went to RISD and I went to BU, so I spent a lot of time in Providence as a college student (and loved it here!). After a few years as a teacher in public schools in Chicago and Brooklyn, we decided to head back to New England. I was looking for teaching jobs and I got to wondering about who was providing some of the great supplemental activities I was seeing in schools which led me to the Phil. When I saw the breadth of what the institution offered, I knew I had to get involved, and the Community Partnerships position had just opened up. The rest is history!

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? Here at the Phil, not only can our team articulate our core values, but our faculty, staff and musicians live them each and every day. We value artistry and education equally and our team works tirelessly to ensure that as many folks as possible in our region have access to our incredible programming. When any new opportunities come our way, the very first question is “how will this further our mission?” which is intentional, refreshing and bold and helps us serve our community in meaningful ways. If you’ve ever considered coming to a concert or taking a lesson or asking questions about any of our work, I encourage you to do so!

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? Putting in all the hours it takes to come up with new and exciting ways to continue engaging our community! When I do get a moment and the weather cooperates, you can catch me social distancing on a river’s edge or out at a pond fishing. I’ve also been playing a LOT of music to keep up my chops.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Lean on who you love, prioritize your mental health alongside your physical health (consider seeing a therapist in addition to trying that new workout and hand-washing routine), and be gentle with yourself and your neighbor.

MEET THE STAFF: Amanda Mann, Box Office and Sales Manager

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Where did you grow up? Rhode Island.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? Oh wow this is a tough one! I am obviously a music fan, but as an even bigger theater fan, I saw “musical memory” and my mind immediately went to theater musicals. My theater side is going to have to win on this one and I will say that seeing both The Phantom of the Opera and Godspell on Broadway in one weekend has to be my favorite memory. The Phantom of the Opera is one of the first musicals I remember seeing so getting to see it as an adult on Broadway was incredible. Godspell is the first and only play I have done outside of a school theater program so that holds a special place in my heart. It is very rarely done so I was ecstatic that I got to see it in general, but especially on Broadway.

Favorite meal or restaurant? There is a little Italian restaurant that is family owned near my house and they have the best homemade pasta. I usually get this chicken dish that they have which comes in a white wine, lemon and sage sauce topped with fresh mozzarella. Combine that with their homemade fusilli and I am a very happy lady. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. (Benvenuto in Cranston in case that made you hungry!)

Coffee or Tea? Neither…weird I know.

You’re stuck on a desert island…What book, music/album/artist and movie do you want with you? I have a book on the history of photography that was used as the textbook for my college photography class so I would pick that one. It is extremely long so it would keep me occupied, I love photography so it would be educational, and it is full of amazing photographs throughout time so it would keep me entertained. For music that I want with me, I would have to choose The Beatles. I am a big fan and they have SO MANY songs that I would never get bored. The Shining would have to be my movie choice. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and it is already one that I can watch over and over again. There is always something new that I discover when watching it and it is a pretty long movie so I feel like it would be good on a desert island to keep me entertained for a while.

What’s your pet situation? I have a dog named Maci who you can see working very hard in my photo. She is an 8 year old Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix. I also have a cat named Dom who loves me working from home because he gets to sit on top of my paperwork. And I have a lizard named Norman who is antisocial and is not interested in being my new work buddy at all.

My Work Buddy

What’s your title and how would you describe your role? I am the Box Office and Sales Manager at the RI Philharmonic. I work closely with the Marketing team and am in charge of all the ticketing for the orchestra. I take care of all things ticket related from subscriptions to single ticket purchases. The main part of my job though is customer service and having a relationship with our patrons.

How long have you been at the RI Phil? In July, I will have been with the RI Phil for 3 years!

What brought you to the RI Phil? I came from being a Box Office Manager at a theater. I had been with the company for 10 years and started there when I was a teenager. I felt like I needed to change it up a little and move to another company. I was lucky to be in contact with a friend who worked at the RI Phil and she suggested I apply. Now, I get to do what I know in terms of ticketing and customer service but in a new aspect of the arts.

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? I want people to know how passionate everyone that works for the RI Philharmonic is about their jobs. The people that I have the pleasure of working with everyday truly love what they do and they love this organization. Not only is the staff this way about the organization but also our community, our school partnerships, and our patrons. It is still amazing to me how willing everyone is to lend a hand wherever it may be needed. It is truly a team effort at the RI Phil and that team is filled with some of the most dedicated people I have ever worked with.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? Besides the two laptops set up on my bed and a box full of binders worth of paperwork? Haha! I have been watching a lot of cheesy horror movies (my favorite), watching a lot of cooking shows even though they have yet to inspire me to actually cook anything fancy, getting some spring cleaning/organizing done, and getting extra snuggles from my pets.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Stay safe, be smart, and try to stay positive. This is a difficult time for everyone, it is scary and it is strange but we will get through it. To cheer myself up, I like to think of all the concerts, plays, movies, and festivals that we will all be at together again soon. The arts have been a huge help getting us through this time and will continue to be after.

Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra cancels previously postponed concerts through May 2020.

75th Anniversary Gala Concert featuring Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth moved to October 11. 
 

Based on the unprecedented challenges to local communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra has made the difficult decision to cancel its previously postponed concerts for the 2019-2020 75th anniversary season.

“We feel fortunate to have been able to reschedule our 75th Anniversary Gala with Pinchas Zukerman to October 11,” said Executive Director David Beauchesne. “Unfortunately, we were simply unable to do so for the TACO Classical and Amica Rush Hour concerts which were postponed this March through May. Potential venue and artist scheduling conflicts combined with uncertainty about when social distancing restrictions will be lifted left us no other choice but to cancel. We will seek to program the repertoire and artists as soon as possible in upcoming seasons.”

Concerts affected by this announcement include:

  • March 13 – Amica Rush Hour Series – Grieg’s Beloved Piano Concerto
  • March 14 – TACO Classical Series – Grieg’s Beloved Piano Concerto
  • April 3 – Open Rehearsal – Beethoven Symphony No.8
  • April 4 – TACO Classical Series – Beethoven Symphony No.8
  • May 1 – Amica Rush Hour Series – Verdi Requiem 
  • May 2 – TACO Classical Series – Verdi Requiem 

All ticket holders will be contacted via email or phone with detailed information on how to make a tax-deductible donation of their unused tickets or request a refund. Patrons with questions should contact the RI Philharmonic Box Office at boxoffice@riphil.org or by phone at 401.248.7000. Staff are currently working from home, so it may take the Philharmonic some time to process requests.

Due to the current health crisis, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School has been faced with many challenging decisions. The organization has reduced expenses in targeted ways to ensure it is financially healthy on the other side of this pandemic, while continuing to serve the community. The Music School has shifted to online instruction, and the Orchestra and School are offering virtual performances from orchestra members, faculty and students on their website, as well as video conversations with Artistic Advisor Bramwell Tovey about next season’s programming. Soon, they will begin streaming archived RIPO performances as well as new, live content online. They are also continuing to explore how they might safely perform their popular summer pops concerts in Narragansett, Providence, Bristol and Pawtucket.

“We continue to fulfill our mission online in every way possible,” states David Beauchesne. “Nevertheless, the ability of the Philharmonic to generate revenue has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Without ticket sales, donations from supporters and partners becomes doubly important at this critical time.”

The Philharmonic has received a Payroll Protection Plan Loan from the federal government which will be used, as intended, for teacher, musician and staff payroll. It has also established a Musician/Staff Relief Fund to support artists, faculty and staff that have been disproportionately impacted. If you would like to support the Rhode Island Philharmonic Annual Fund or Musician/Staff Relief Fund, go to www.riphil.org/donate or call the Box Office (401.248.7000). As a 501c3, all donations to the Rhode Island Philharmonic are tax-deductible.

MEET THE STAFF: David Gasper, Director of Artistic Operations and Artistic Administrator

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Where did you grow up? I grew up in New Orleans, land of Mardi Gras and dixieland jazz, and my first musical instrument was the saxophone. I switched to horn when I discovered classical music.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? When I was a teen, my mother bought me a couple of recordings featuring the music of Grieg and Sibelius. I politely thanked her, thinking that I would never listen to them since I was too cool to listen to classical music. You can guess the next part.

Favorite meal or restaurant? I would have to say China Pearl in Boston for Dim Sum. It reminds me of the Dim Sum palaces we used to haunt in Singapore.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee, dark roast, black no sugar.

You’re stuck on a desert island…What book, music/album/artist and movie do you want with you? For laughs, I would have to have my collection of Bill Bryson books though I do love the novels of Charles Dickens, so I would plead for him as well. Bach’s music would be sufficient if I could only take one composer. I’m not much of a movie person, but if I have to pick one it’s “A Room with a View”. I do like Merchant/Ivory films. And you expected me to say “Die Hard III”?

What’s your pet situation? I was always a dog person, but three years ago, a stray cat visited my back porch where I was lounging. She jumped right up on me and started purring contentedly. After a few more visits and a can of tuna, she was invited into the house where she remains. Her name: Tuna.

What’s your title and how would you describe your role? Director of Artistic Operations and Artistic Administrator. (We should really shorten that to ArtOp, don’t you think?). The operations part is all of the mechanics of putting on concerts. The Artistic Administrator side is planning programming and negotiating contracts with artists’ managers.

How long have you been at the RI Phil? Since forever.

What brought you to the RI Phil? I was recruited by a former Executive Director, and I liked the orchestra and the area enough to relocate. I was living in Long Island at the time and the rat race was getting to me.

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? The orchestra punches way above its weight.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? The staff is still at work for the organization, so I do work at home. The difference is that I can blast the music down in my music cave while I work. I could really get use to this.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Try not to turn into this guy:

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MEET THE STAFF: Danielle Meath, Manager of Marketing and Group Sales

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Where did you grow up? Bellingham, MA.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? I love oldies, pretty much anything from the 1940s-1960s. Some of my favorite musical memories are going to James Taylor concerts throughout my childhood.

Favorite meal or restaurant? A lobster roll from Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine or dinner at Little Poland in NYC. My favorite restaurants in Providence are Andino’s or Cassarino’s on Federal Hill. Another local hidden gem is Havana Cafe in North Attleboro for amazing Cuban food!

Coffee or Tea? Iced coffee.

You’re stuck on a desert island… What Book, Music/Album/Artist and Movie do you want with you? Book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Music: James Taylor’s Greatest Hits and Glenn Miller Orchestra and Beatles anthologies. Movie(s): the Back to the Future trilogy because no matter how many times I watch, I will never get sick of them!

What’s your pet situation? No pets! Just a 5 month old son 😉

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What’s your title and how would you describe your role? Basically, I coordinate with the Director of Marketing and our Graphic Designer to design and create all marketing materials for the orchestra and school, social media posts, etc. I also run our Group Sales department, working on cultivating and booking groups for RI Philharmonic concerts.

How long have you been at the RI Phil? 6.5 years.

What brought you to the RI Phil? I was working as a Box Office Manager at the Boston Symphony Orchestra while living in Providence and desperately hoping a full time position would open up in RI! So when I saw the Box Office and Sales Manager position open up, I immediately applied and the rest is history.

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? I’d like everyone to realize the extremely high level of talent we have within our orchestra and music school and be super proud to call them our own!

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? Working on multiple work projects, trying to keep up with my 5 month old son Henry, and spending time with my husband.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Try to take it one day at a time and make a list of all the fun things you want to do when it’s over.

MEET THE STAFF: Katie Sklar, Director of Individual Giving

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Where did you grow up? Delmar, NY – a small town outside of Albany.

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? Hearing the BSO perform Dvorak’s New World Symphony when I was a senior in high school. That was actually the first time I heard a live professional orchestra. My youth orchestra (Empire State Youth Orchestra) was performing that piece the following month – I was principal horn – and friends took me to the performance and backstage to meet their principal horn, Charles Kavalovski.

Favorite meal or restaurant? Sushi in general. My favorite restaurant was L’espeliar in Boston – the original in the townhouse off Newbury Street. That’s where my husband and I got engaged. Here in Providence, hands down, it is Persimmon’s on Hope Street.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee – just one cup.

You’re stuck on a desert island… What Book, Music/Album/Artist and Movie do you want with you? Book – only one?!? How about anything by Steinbeck or Weiner. Need to balance the heavy with the light. Music – Mahler and U2. Movie – Somewhere in Time.

What’s your pet situation? I have a 10 year old daughter (ha!)

What’s your title and how would you describe your role? Director of Individual Giving – I see my role as sharing the mission, programs, and stories of RIPO&MS in a way that encourages and inspires people to join our community – as supporters and concert attendees.

How long have you been at the RI Phil? One year – started February 7, 2019.

What brought you to the RI Phil? Have long admired the Phil. Actually applied for a job 15 years ago…

What do you want people to know about the RI Phil? It is an organization that is changing lives in so many ways – from our great concerts to our education programs. Our Link Up concluding concerts are the best way to see both parts of our mission in action, coming to life with our professional musicians on stage and students performing in the audience.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? Lots of early morning power walks and spin classes. And playing games and making mandalas with my daughter.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Reach out to someone new every day – by phone, not email or text. Take this opportunity to connect with people who were at all points in your life.

RHODE ISLAND PHILHARMONIC MUSIC SCHOOL TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS ALL ACTIVITIES THROUGH APRIL 30.

Effective Friday, April 3, 2020:

Friends,

We hope that you are all keeping safe and healthy. In line with the directives from Governor Raimondo, we have made the following update to the schedule for the Music School and the Carter Center facility. Currently, the Carter Center is closed to instruction, and all recitals, classes and rehearsals are cancelled or postponed through Thursday, April 30th. This date could change. We will keep you updated.

For the duration of the shutdown, we are encouraging faculty and students to continue private instruction online through video chat programs such as Skype, Facetime, or Zoom. Many of our students are already experiencing success with online instruction. Please contact your teacher to discuss options for your family. If you have any questions about virtual lessons, please email cartercenter@riphil.org

In the past, we’ve been able to bring our community together through music during difficult times. We hope to do so during this crisis. Each Friday, until the Music School is reopened, we will share with you videos from our own RI Philharmonic community, uplifting news stories from around the world, discussions of our 20/21 season and archival materials from the RI Philharmonic “vault.”

Please call or email the Music School at 401.248.7001/cartercenter@riphil.org with any questions. To ensure the safety of everyone at RIPO&MS, our staff is working remotely until further notice. Some phone lines are forwarded, and we are checking voice and email regularly.

These are difficult times. Your Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School will be here throughout the coming weeks and months, and well beyond, bringing inspiration and lifting spirits. We look forward to welcoming you back just as soon as live music and instruction can return.

Sincerely,

Annette Mozzoni, Director of Education and RI Philharmonic Music School
Christine Eldridge, Music School Assistant Director

MEET THE STAFF: Annette Mozzoni, Director of Education and the RI Philharmonic Music School

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Where did you grow up? Northern Delaware. I like small states!

What is your favorite song, artist, musical memory? Too many favorite songs, artists and musical memories to mention. I am unable to choose.  I love live music so I really miss live performances.

Favorite meal or restaurant? My family (sons, brothers and sister) is spread throughout the country, so I cherish any meal with a gathering of family members. We laugh a lot when we are together.

Coffee or Tea? Primarily coffee but I enjoy tea too.

You’re stuck on a desert island… What Book, Music/Album/Artist and Movie do you want with you? Hmm good questions! Book – My current favorite book is A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines but I would bring a long book I have wanted to read but haven’t had the chance to– like Hawaii by James Michener. Music – at a minimum Beethoven Symphonies and the Beatles albums. Movie – West Side Story so I could sing along! Or maybe Sweeney Todd!

What’s your pet situation? I adopted two little Coton de Tulear dogs – They came with their names “Carol” and “Sydney”. My vet told me that out of the hundreds of dogs they see none are named “Carol”. They love to snuggle and love that I am now home all the time.

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How would you describe your role at the RI Philharmonic? I work with staff and faculty to oversee the operations of the music school and our community partnerships. People that care about music education have so many wonderful ideas, so part of my job is to facilitate these ideas. Together with staff, faculty and administration, we determine if the idea can be pursued by our organization. We consider different questions when considering a new program or class. Is there a need for the program/class? Can we provide the program/class in a high-quality way that will impact individuals or the community? Is it a viable program/class from a technical, logistical, resource and financial perspective? Is the program/class sustainable over time?

How long have you been at the RI Philharmonic? 15 wonderful years.

What brought you to the RI Philharmonic? Music changed my life. It taught me to be curious, resilient and develop a love of learning. I was a financial aid student at my community music school in Delaware and I feel passionately about access of quality music education for every child. The mission of the RI Phil and my personal values are completely aligned.

What do you want people to know about the RI Philharmonic? I would like people to know that all of us at the RI Phil – faculty, staff and orchestra musicians – care deeply about our community.  All of us believe in the transformational power of music performance and music education, and are dedicated to this mission.

How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day? My time is spent keeping connected with people – work, family and friends. Most of my work time is spent in conversations with faculty and staff as we re-imagine our programs through a digital platform.  We also look forward to the future when we can all be together again. My husband and I are enjoying spending time together.

Any words of wisdom to help others through this? Be a hero. Please help save lives by staying at home during this time if you can. Oh and spend some of your free time practicing and making music.