Quarantined Quartet started when Covid19 forced the closure of the Hochman children’s school and obliged their music instructor’s parents to teach online from home. Parents Jason and Elysa are professional musicians who founded, own, and run New York Guitar Academy, Manhattan, and perform as a flamenco guitar duo.
When the quarantine hit, Jason, Elysa and their sons Joseph, 10, and Noah, 8, decided to play and practice guitar every day. They played for 2 hours a day, steadily building a repertoire. Every day they posted a minute-long clip to Instagram and every 10 days they hosted a live-streamed broadcast. Here is the quartet playing Hotel California:
The video of Hotel California was posted 4 months after the Hochman family started playing together. It is clear that the boys have shown remarkable development (Noah says that before the quarantine, his skill level was 4 out of 10). The video is one of the daily one-minute clips. Understandably, YouTube commentators requested that the full song be released. Nonetheless, the daily one-minute uploads worked a treat on Instagram. In mid-March, they had 20 followers, and after 100 days they had 14,000.
Evidently, the daily one-minute clips suited the Instagram format and helped create a sense of community during the isolation of the quarantine. The group continued to gain Instagram followers (at present the number is 478K) and for those who wanted longer performances, there were the live streamed concerts every 10 days. As restrictions eased, the group also started picking up outdoor, socially distanced gigs. Here is Quarantined Quartet being interviewed and playing on NBCs’ Stay Tuned NOW.
Dad Jason believes that the family project was crucial to keeping the New York Guitar Academy a going concern as the Instagram posts ended up promoting the Academy’s remote classes: “Thankfully our unexpected family project really has helped our school stay afloat, and now we have students from all around the world and in the U.S. saying that they are part of our classes because they found us through our Quarantined Quartet.” TimeOut New York Kids has ranked the academy as the number 1 school for children to learn guitar in NYC.
Jason has recounted that he was blown away when a follower from the Congo sent the Hochmans a video of himself playing one of the songs that the family wrote together. Then, another guitar player from Kosovo did the same thing. Jason said it gave the family a great deal of satisfaction to realise that they were providing inspiration and motivation during the pandemic. He said that he never imagined that they would be able to share with such a large number of people.
Quarantined Quartet, which is still going, has appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Good Morning America, NBC News, ABC, News 12, CBS, SGN amongst others.
Parents Jason and Elysa Hochman’s guitar duo is called Jay & Lee Rumba Flamenca. They are official Cordoba Guitar artists and have released two albums as Jay and Lee: “Strums of Brooklyn” and “Guitar Duets.”
The Quarantined Quartet has produced 10 original songs together and released a live EP. They are planning to release a studio album.