HOUSTON - The world’s largest music academy, Vivaldi Music Academy is now giving away free lessons and free instruments to help Houstonians deal with the lingering stress of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The academy’s director, Zeljko Pavlovic has played the violin since he was a toddler.
His family's musical heritage traces back nearly 200 years.
In the 90s, they brought their talents to the US when they fled from the war.
"We were bouncing around from country to country as refugees and finally, in 1998, I came here to the US with my parents. I was 20 years old.
We had hope. We had nothing financially, but we had hope. And throughout this whole time, music is what really kept us going," Zeljko said.
Zeljko eventually found his way to the Bayou City, where he played for the Houston Symphony and shared the stage with world-renowned artists like Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Seven years ago, he founded the Vivaldi Music Academy which has since grown to become the largest in the world.
"We have about 3000 families and we have a big wait-list to get in," Zeljko said. "We have everything from violin, piano, drum, voice in all genres from pop, rock, modern to classical."
Vivaldi Academy transitioned from in-person to virtual Zoom lessons last week.
Lessons cost roughly $90 an hour - a price tag some families just can’t afford.
"Music is such a powerful tool. It’s such a powerful thing that we have, that I really wanted to expand this and make it available to our community," Zeljko said.
With the lingering stress of the Coronavirus pandemic, Vivaldi Academy wanted to offer an escape - with free lessons & free instruments.
Anyone interested can just visit www.vivaldimusicacademy.com - browse through the website and you’re going to see a link that says ‘free master class.' They can click there and sign up for a class. The first 50 registrations are going to get a free instrument. We'll get in touch with them, ask them what instrument they're interested in and it's basically going to be a custom order.
"We really want to bring the music to everybody’s homes regardless of income level, so my goal is really to keep these lessons forever so the low-income kids can join and see what it’s like to play an instrument," Zeljko said.
To sign up for free music lessons at Vivaldi, click here.