When concerts, gigs and live workshops were canceled one after another, jazz pianist Peter Martin started live "Shelter in Place" concerts, inviting audience members from across the world to connect around music. Martin is also the co-founder of Open Studio, a Centene Center for the Arts tenant. Open Studio presents exclusive courses and content from the top jazz players for musicians of all levels to learn from.

He prepares and approaches these streamed concerts in the much same way he would if an audience was physically present, but he noted he has had to adapt in some ways, “The biggest adjustment has been being in a room by myself, but over the past few weeks, I’ve started to feel the energy and imagine the audience with me…even though they’re in their homes.”

One way he is connecting with audiences is by hosting a Zoom Meet and Greet right after the shows. He shared, “That helps me a lot to put faces, voices, and names to the audience, and is extremely energizing to me for the next week.”

This isn’t the first time Martin has turned to music when life has become unpredictable. Martin shared that his family lived in New Orleans in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. He continued, “I had some preparation for when the world turns upside down, and holding on to things like music, and having that connection is the type of stuff that gets you through all this.”

He shared that as all his in-person events were canceled, these Friday evening shows became precious to him as an artist. He went on to say, “Music is a powerful and beautiful unifying force for humanity, and I’m eternally grateful to be a musician.”

Peter Martin will be performing his next "Shelter in Place" concert this Friday at 7:00 p.m. CST, and every Friday in May. You can tune in to the concert here.  

Open Studio’s primary mission is to help their global community of students play jazz better. They’re currently offering Pay What You Can courses to help remove some of the financial barriers that might prevent people from developing their craft. Learn more and stay up to date on all upcoming virtual events hosted by Open Studio here.

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