Musical artist Amy Conley to play virtual concert at 7:15 p.m. April 30

MILFORD – Local musician Amy Conley, of Amy Conley Music, 102 Elm St., will perform a virtual concert, “Songs of Healing, Hope & Humor” on April 30 from 7:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The event is free but donations to benefit SHARE are welcome.

Conley, a talented musician with 30 years of experience, will play and sing old and new songs on guitar, banjo and ukulele. She said her short concert will be featured on Zoom and once folks register, a Zoom link will be mailed to them at 7 p.m. on April 30.

“The songs of healing and hope tend to get serious,” she said. “The humor is added for a little comic relief and the show is for adults and teens.”

Everyone at home in the Zoom audience will be muted to make it a true, concert-like experience. People can have their cameras on or off – whichever they feel most comfortable with.

During COVID, Conley relied on Zoom for teaching music. She said as soon as the pandemic hit last March ’20, she rolled out virtual classes.

“One day in the middle of March, only half the class was there,” she said. “So I said, ‘Uh-oh,’ and I learned to use Zoom. I spent the next weekend studying Zoom and changing the format of my classes a bit and then I was able to start teaching that way a couple of weeks later.”

Conley said the response was “very good,” especially for the “Early Childhood: Music Together” for young families because, she added, it gave those families structure throughout their week.

“Because the early years are so important, music-development-wise,” she said, “they didn’t have to wait a year. These ‘students’ are birth to five and it’s a very important time of their life. So, we ran about two classes a week for the past year, with thirty minute classes.”

The sessions lasted four weeks so families could decide if it was a good fit for them. Conley said once she noticed that the four week sessions were working well, she switched back to eight-week sessions.

Another surprise, Conley said, was that for many people, young and old, playing the ukulele “really took off.” She added that the ukulele is a great instrument for people who don’t play guitar because it is easier to learn.

“People from far away started coming to my Zoom classes,” she said. “That made up for the people who weren’t comfortable with online ukulele classes. I got my cousins, my friends, my colleagues from the ‘Music Together’ world, which are all over the country. So that worked out really well.”

As for teaching this summer, Conley is developing some outdoor classes for summer and early fall. She said that will be with families and possibly the ukulele enthusiasts. She also hopes to reopen her studio, which she has been renovating over the last year during the health crisis.

“We spent the year doing that,” she said. “It’s really nice hear so we hope to open classes in September, depending on what recommendations are. I follow the recommendations of the doctors and scientists.”

Conley has also been doing onsite ukulele workshops. She did one at the Kingston, New Hampshire recreation department, which has a large fieldhouse.

“I’ve done them with masks and they socially distance,” she shared. “And now that the outdoor time is here, I’m looking forward to doing some outdoor shows at libraries.”

Conley said her older students have enjoyed the Zoom classes because they feel that they’re more social.

“You feel like you’re with people,” she said. “And my older students have more time to practice because they’re not busy commuting to work at the moment necessarily, because they’ve been working remotely or what have you. The younger students is a mixed bag because they’re already stressed about doing their classwork on Zoom so they don’t really feel like doing a music lesson that way as well.”

Amy Conley is a teacher and performer of music and lives in Milford. To register for her April 30 concert, visit amyconleymusic.com.