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Our Businesses in the Time of Covid: Todd Kovell, Phinney School of Music

Todd Kovell’s love for music goes back to his early childhood. In the 4th grade he learned to play the cello and has been playing ever since. Todd owns Phinney School of Music and teaches string instruments to both youth and adults.

Todd graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the world renowned Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He continued his music training at the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program, obtaining a Master of Music and also teaches music theory there in the fall.

In 1994, Todd began giving music lessons at the music store he worked at and at his home. Eventually he was able to get enough students to teach privately. For the past fifteen years, Todd has been running Phinney School of Music out of a space he rents at the PNA. He even formed a little community orchestra called Phinney Ridge Orchestra and Phinney Ridge Youth Orchestra. When asked what he likes most about music, Todd says, “Each piece of music is its own world which is waiting to be discovered. Learning new music is like solving a mystery, which I find very spiritually rewarding.”

When COVID hit Todd quickly moved to online classes. The first week of virtual lessons, Todd says, “I was worried that it wasn’t going to work and that students would quit.” Todd had to switch his business model and emphasis of teaching to adjust to the new norm. Fortunately, virtual lessons worked fine with just a few technical hiccups here and there that he was able to iron out. To Todd’s surprise, there was actually a significant spike in new students. His youth string orchestra is typically 12-15 students, but he now has 30. The feedback that Todd has received from his virtual students is all positive and he is still in the process of improving the online experience. According to Todd, “Now I can justify upgrades and getting new equipment.” Despite the aftermath of the pandemic, Phinney School of Music is still open and continues to provide high quality music lessons.

Todd is accepting new students and says, “If this is something you have always wanted to do, now is a good time!” Visit these YouTube links to see Phinney School of Music in action, Divertivo-II and Phinney Ridge Youth Orchestra.

For more information or to schedule lessons, visit https://phinneymusic.com/

Screenshots courtesy of Todd Kovell