The pandemic has many people dropping some of their favorite activities, but it also has many picking up other hobbies such as playing musical instruments.
Musical instrument sales are soaring across the country as people use their time at home to try something new. Stores are seeing more women and younger customers than before.
Guitar Center saw its total sales grow 85% in August.
"Some of the categories we've seen specifically that have been really kind of uptrending are acoustic guitars and keyboards," said Karl Bracken, executive vice president for merchandising and private brands at Guitar Center. "Clearly people have had those on their bucket list as items they wanted to learn how to play."
Guitar Center sales have nearly doubled for keyboards, nearly tripled for acoustic guitars, and more than tripled for electronic drums as learning something new strikes a new chord.
Karen Mainenti has not played a musical instrument since a bad violin recital in second grade, but that changed in May when a friend gave her a ukulele.
"It's just been really like meaningful to bring something new into my life when you see so many doors shutting down," Mainenti said.
It's a welcome distraction in a world of uncertainty. The Manhattan artist now practices every day with weekly virtual lessons.
"You're not thinking about anything else, you're thinking about literally where to move your fingers, what sound you're hearing, you know, what's happening. And I think it is a huge relief from those everyday thoughts of not knowing," Mainenti said.
Guitar Center also saw an uptick in sales of podcast equipment, from customers looking for ways to express themselves a little more publicly from inside their homes.