Taufiqul Hasan from Dhaka has always nurtured a particular love for playing the harmonica. In his leisure time, he used to tinker with it and played covers of songs as a mechanism to reduce stress. But the last few weeks have left him with more leisure time than usual. To Taufiqul, this seemed like the perfect time to properly learn the harmonica.
While learning the instrument intently, Taufiqul soon found Maesha Marium through a Facebook group called Bangladesh Harmonica Club. Maesha gives regular lessons and demonstrates methods and techniques on how to play the instrument. She also has her own YouTube channel.
"I never thought of learning harmonica seriously. But the last few weeks I have been playing often and Maesha Marium's lessons helped Taufiqul immensely," Taufiqul stated.
"I have been home quarantined since March 18," Maesha said, adding that, "I have been a diabetic and an asthma patient for more than two decades now. So, when I heard that I am more prone to getting affected by the virus, I decided to self-quarantine myself."
"I'm just more dedicated to teaching now since I have more free time by staying home. I do live sessions on a Facebook group called Bangladesh Harmonica Club," she explained. Maesha claimed that she teaches because it helps her learn. "Any type of knowledge, just like happiness, multiplies when you share it."
To relieve boredom and use the leisure time during the shutdown for doing something creative, people across the world are teaching and learning new things. And just like how Maesha offers lessons via Facebook live, Tanima Darji, a self-taught artist from India has offered a week-long watercolour course for beginners through another Facebook group. As she benefitted from online tutorials when she was learning to paint, she thought this would be a chance to help more people.
Tanima's group has over a thousand enthusiastic members with a knack for learning something new. Tanima's lessons did not only focus on teaching basic watercolour techniques, but also focused on mindfulness practices through painting which helped the members destress in this time of crisis.
Aside from these free lessons and courses that are being offered, there are many tutorials and courses on the internet already. Saba Masani, a kindergarten teacher at South Point school, is scouring the internet for lessons to brush up her painting skills.
"I have been self quarantining myself since March 17," Saba said. "Since I cannot go out and I did not have much painting supplies at home, I started to learn how to paint using oil pastels by watching tutorials on YouTube," she added. "Following artists on Instagram also helped me find new ideas and connect with other artists," the kindergarten teacher remarked.
Khandakar Istiak Mahmud, an entrepreneur involved in the printing business has taken a more hands on approach to learning while he is spending time indoors. Originally, he had plans to have some wooden furniture made for his home, where he lives alone. So he had bought wood and some supplies before everyone went into self-quarantine. As he failed to find a carpenter as everyone is locked up at home, he took up a saw and started making the furniture himself. As reference on how to do this, he watched YouTube tutorials before starting the process.
"I have successfully made a functional chair," Khandakar said, laughing. "If the situation persists, I'll try making more furniture," he added.
If you are looking forward to learning something new or have the mind to brush up old skills, there are many tutorials available on the internet, especially YouTube. A few people are also offering lessons on Facebook while some websites, such as Khan Academy, are offering courses on various topics for free. Skillshare is offering their premium service for absolutely free of cost for the first two months, and Udemy is offering its Adobe Premiere Pro: Ultimate Beginner Course for free, which regularly costs £184.99.