The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but those hit hardest are teens.

At the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed Americans on their mental health. They found symptoms young people seemed to be the hardest-hit of any group.

Almost 11 percent of all respondents to that survey said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days. For those ages 18 to 24, the number was 1 in 4 — more than twice as high. (Kamentez, 2020) For LGBTQ+ youth, that number is likely higher. 

Krystle Baller, owner of Pachyderm Music Lab and Co-Founder of Girls Rock Charlotte and vocal LGBTQ+ advocate, says that for her students, music has been their medicine.

“I’ve known some of these kids for years and it’s been really hard seeing them all suffer during this time. At our music studio we have a wall of photos of the different bands we’ve formed at Girls Rock Camp and I’ve had multiple students walk by it and say “this wall is just sad now.” Thankfully during our lessons, I see their eyes full of joy and excitement. Their parents notice the positive influence we’ve had on their kids too.”

We all can identify with the rut that a lot of these kids are in. The isolation has been hard. Krystle found that by continuing her own education, inspiration flowed and so did her own creativity as a musician and as a teacher.

“The great thing about the pandemic is that distance is no longer an issue. I can sign up for workshops and classes around the world and I’ve done just that, furthering my skills on guitar, I joined an intensive and found a brilliant teacher. I also have been studying music production. Learning has created more excitement in me and I’ve been transferring this know-how and zest for learning to my students. Creating new programming online with my Lady Rockstars group guitar and bass class and incorporating music production in the one-on-one lessons has been so fun! Channeling your feelings into music can be super cathartic, I’m glad I can share this with our kids. It also goes hand in hand with the social justice work I do. I teach a lot of LGBTQ kids, womxn and girls. Learning music production gives control over your own sound and facilitates musical freedom.”

For the past few months, students have been gearing up to produce their own original songs. Working toward a goal and creating something they are proud of has shifted some of the kids out of their sadness. 

“I watched my granddaughter come alive tonight as she was on cloud nine… And if you know what that means to us with all this Covid Isolation … Worth gold… Gold!!!!”

Christine B.

Find out more at Pachyderm Music Lab.