The multi-instrumentalist is spending her time gardening and learning new instruments.

For 28 years, Molly Pauken has made a living as a musician, playing guitar, bass, drums and mandolin in several bands, working as a session musician and recording her own compositions. Since the shutdown in March, she lost almost all of her bookings but continues teaching, both online and on her Bexley front porch, and recording music videos to share online. —Suzanne Goldsmith

Every day there’s a new cancellation. In April and May I thought, OK, this is the new reality for a while. But now it seems like, “Wow. It’s not getting any better.”

I consider myself a shy person unless I have a guitar or an instrument in my hands. And so even though social media is a blessing and a curse, it really became a really nice outlet in those early months for us all to kind of engage. Musicians are social people—you know, we want to perform for people. We don’t get paid to do any of that [on social media]. We just do it because people are craving that engagement.

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We try to do inspirational music or happy music. I swear to myself all the time I’m not going to post anything negative. We need to be good to each other. I mean, there’s already so much darkness, so if I can be that kind of small part of spreading happiness, that’s where I’m at.

I planted a garden. I’m learning a couple new instruments. I get to play with my son. I know he’d rather be playing at school or in the youth jazz orchestra, but he gets to play with his old mom. I said, “Well, this will be a gap year.” I just hope it’s not a gap two years.


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