ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As COVID-19 restrictions began to ease in New York state, musicians began to return doing what they love.
Amanda Ashley has taught private music lessons for eight years. But during the pandemic, her number of students doubled. Now, she teaches 20 hour-long lessons a week.
“It’s crazy," Ashley said. "Like, actually, it’s the busiest I’ve ever been. I never anticipated teaching so much, but I really love it. I do.”
Jordan Gropp, 12, is one of her students. She just got her first guitar this past Christmas.
“I didn’t really know how to play," Gropp said. "But she’s taught me a lot of like the notes and songs and different things, that are really, really hard. But she makes it easier.”
And Ashley loves that about what she does.
“I feel like I vicariously live through them musically again," Ashley said. "And it makes me think about it when I was their age.”
But teaching isn’t her only love. She loves to perform.
She was able to pick up so many students during the pandemic, because her gigs came to a halt. But now she’s back behind the microphone.
“It feels amazing," Ashley said. "It feels really incredible just to see people I haven’t seen in a year.”
She performed at the Rochester Yacht Club for the first time in a year, and she loves performing by the water.
“People just seem genuinely so happy to be out in the warm weather, enjoying the warm weather,” Ashley said.
But because she doesn’t want to drop any of her students, her weeks are now busier than ever.
“It's real busy, and overwhelming to be honest," Ashley said. "But I‘m overwhelmed with a lot of beautiful things. So I just got to figure out how to balance it all in and make it work.”
So while now she’s working to find that balance, she’s also very excited for the things to come.
“Just being out, outside in nature," Ashley said. "At beautiful places, and playing music for beautiful people. Life is great.”