A Winnipeg musician is using his talents to honour countries around the world who have been most impacted by COVID-19.

Rod Machovec, a guitar teacher and performer, grew up in a musical home and went on to study at the University of Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Manitoba, and Julliard's Aspen School of Music.

"I think it was the influence of my parents, partly because that's what they did," says Machovec of why he decided to become a musician. "I didn't realize how abnormal it is in our culture to make a living in music.

"I was dabbling right from early on, so I think my mom, who is a pianist, got me into piano early," Machovec says.

He continued to dabble in various instruments, including guitar and drums, before settling on the guitar.

"I've always just really connected with music; music has always been a part of my life."

sen by Machovec to pay tribute to each country impacted by the virus.

So far, Machovec has highlighted France and Spain as well as Asia and the Middle East.

"We're all affected ... but there are some countries that have obviously gone through an incredible amount of loss already," Machovec says.

"It's a very very stressful and confusing time ... it's still hard to believe it's happening."

Machovec believes now is an especially powerful time to share our talents.

The musician says he has also found inspiration for creativity in this difficult season in a quote by Jan Rudolph de Lorm: "In these dark days that we are in, I feel so strongly that art is here to comfort us, to inspire us, and to heal us."

"I think it's for me as much as it's for anybody else," Machovec says, "to put my time into something meaningful."

Machovec will be releasing his fourth classical guitar album next month, Music for the Mess: When Life Gets Messy.

"The fact that it's coming out now is just weird," Machovec said with a chuckle, noting the appropriate title in light of the impact of the coronavirus.

The album will feature mostly original classical songs written by Machovec and inspired by the Psalms.