The closure of local music and art businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the internet more important than ever.

Moscow Music Academy is offering free online music lessons, including guitar and ukulele classes, this month.

The free, 30-minute classes are twice a week for three weeks. Some of the free sessions started Tuesday, but according to the company’s website, all of the free classes are full this month. More free sessions could be added next month.

Michelle Karel-Ward, owner, director and professor of music at Moscow Music Academy, is teaching the lessons.

“I just want to be able to give something back to my community, and I thought this would be kind of a fun way to get started with that,” Karel-Ward said.

She said she is providing the free classes so people can be engaged and have fun at home during the pandemic.

“There’s so many kids that are cooped up at home — even some adults that are going stir crazy,” Karel-Ward said. “Kids are driving them nuts.”

The free classes, which she said cover the “core concepts,” are done using the popular Zoom software application. The app allows students to see Karel-Ward and Karel-Ward to see her group of students.

While the free group online lessons are new territory, Karel-Ward said Moscow Music Academy has always provided one-on-one music lessons for its students. She said the academy switched exclusively to online Zoom lessons March 25 because of the coronavirus.

She said many parents of students are excited the academy offers online classes and did not completely shut down.

“It’s just a great way to keep in touch with our students,” Karel-Ward said.

Victor Hudak, co-owner of Atom Heart Music in Pullman, said his business is only offering services, such as instrument sales, returns and repairs, by appointment.

He said one of the business’s music instructors is offering lessons online.

Hudak said the closure has had a “super drastic” effect on his establishment.

Donald Stanziano, who owns Wild at Art in Moscow with his wife, Joan Hofmann, said gift cards can be purchased through the company’s website.

People can also order pottery-to-go kits at its website.

About a month ago, Stanziano said people could order the kits and then pick them up curbside outside the downtown Moscow business.

The kits can still be ordered online but Stanziano and Hofmann decided to discontinue curbside delivery in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Deliveries will be delayed until stay-home orders have been revised or lifted or until the business reopens its doors, Stanziano said.

Like most closed businesses, the coronavirus has had a negative impact on Wild at Art’s bottom line.

He said Mom’s Weekend at the University of Idaho and Washington State University typically drive 500 people combined to Wild at Art.

“We, like a lot of small businesses, are making the best of a very bad situation,” Stanziano said.

For more information on the three businesses, visit, and

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

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