Fender is helping people to learn guitar at work in a bid to improve wellness

Fender Play Zappos
(Image credit: Zappos.com)

It turns out that David Brent was onto something: playing guitar in the office could be a great way to improve team morale. That’s certainly the view of Fender, which was partnered with online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos to get the company’s staff jamming in the workplace.

The ‘Strum for the Sole’ program is designed to improve employees’ wellness and work-life balance, reports The Drum, with members of the Zappos team being given the chance to learn an instrument using the Fender Play online tuition platform. This covers not just guitar, but also bass and ukulele.

Zappos has even set up a dedicated jam room at its corporate campus in Las Vegas, with guitars and basses from Fender’s Player, Vintera and California ranges being available to anyone who wants to play them. Employees are also entitled to discounts on gear via the Fender website.

The hope is that the scheme will help to reduce stress and promote increased creativity, self-expression and confidence. If it’s successful, there’s a chance that it could be rolled out to other companies, too.

"Reduce stress"

“There’s so much research out there that shows how music therapy can reduce stress, help people slow down and help people express their creativity,” Zappos’s director of employee benefits Bhawna Provenzano told The Drum. “We thought that would be really great to bring that to Zappos and have a jam room, have people come in, slow down and learn a new skill set.”

Mary Keenan, Fender Play director of product, said: "Looking for other opportunities to extend the benefits of music learning is a top priority for us. When Fender Play first started it wasn’t just about creating another online learning program, our mission was really to try and address the very high dropout rate we had of people who attempt to play an instrument and then give it up because life gets in the way."

All of which makes total sense to us, and if it leads to beautiful workplace moments like this one, so much the better.

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Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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