Central New Yorkers Turn to Music to Relieve Pandemic Stress Central New Yorkers Turn to One Hobby For Help With Pandemic Stress

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The Piano & Organ Center in North Syracuse has seen its business double since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The pandemic has brought on stress for many people. Studies show that hobbies can be good for your mental and physical well-being. 

Rob Carbone, the Director of Music Activities for the piano center, believes the increase in the number of people turning to music and instruments is because music is therapeutic.

“Music and making music will help you sleep better, think better, reduce stress,” Carbone said.

Carbone participated in the Music Making & Wellness Research Project led by Dr. Frederick Tims, who was the then-music therapy chair at Michigan State University.

“So we’ve done these studies we’ve done the research and now we can prove it, we have documentation that all those things are true,” Carbone said. “Music does help you relieve stress, it does help with depression.”

One example of someone helped by it is Jerry Mikowicz. He was searching to buy a piano but was having no luck finding any because of supply chain issues at the beginning of the pandemic. He finally connected with Carbone and made a trip from his Maryland home to Syracuse to get his piano and go back home.

Mikowicz then decided to take virtual piano lessons with Carbone in April 2020 and hasn’t missed a lesson yet. For the last year and a half, there hasn’t been much to do for Mikowicz besides go for walks and stay indoors, so the music helped him in many ways.

“It gave me a sense of relaxation,” Mikowicz said. “It gave me a sense of meaning because I was learning something new. I could sit down learning a song, playing it. It would just take my mind and my spirits to a different place. So it was kind of a means of escape,” Mikowicz said.

Carbone said 50 students recently started lessons at the store. He said every day people say to him they wanted to take up music their entire lives but only because the pandemic reminded them how short life can be and how quickly your dreams can be gone did they decide to take the first step.

Information about the store and how to begin lessons can be found on their website. 

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