Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 6

March 4, 2015

Adult learner

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Shepherd Building

Bay Chamber offices and music spaces are located in the Shepherd Building, Rockport

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director. You can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/.

This is the last post on Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School and the following one was written by Laura Chaney, the development director and can be reached at laura@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about your role at Bay Chamber.

I am the Director of Development at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School, a role that helps generate necessary resources to enable Bay Chamber to invest in its programs and services for thousands of citizens of all ages across Mid-Coast Maine. I am also a fairly new adult student at the Bay Chamber Music School, enrolled in private violin instruction since September 2013. Bay Chamber offers access to an expert faculty, a welcoming atmosphere for interested students of all ages, and affordability regardless of one’s financial status.

Please tell the story of how and why you decided to take violin lessons at Bay Chamber.

A native Mainer who returned to the state after a 30 year hiatus to join the staff here at Bay Chamber, I made a personal commitment to return to some form of music instruction. Having been a vocalist and dabbler in other musical instruments, I had contemplated returning to voice or piano instruction and then decided that I wanted to challenge myself with learning something completely new. I settled on the violin for many wondrous reasons, with one core factor being the ease of transportability in a boat for summer living along the Maine coast.

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What do you know about the benefits of taking lessons or learning something knew as we begin to age?

I promised to give myself the gift of music for two major reasons: to rediscover the passion that music inspires in my soul and that had been put on hold for sundry reasons, and to reinvigorate my brain. It is well-documented that routine reduces brain synapsis responsible for healthy memory functioning and I felt that as I approach my 60’s, it would enhance my life greatly to keep my brain healthy and active. Music is one of the most influential energies for extending auditory, communication and concentration abilities as well. All of these benefits in addition to the joy that arises from learning, playing, and working through each new musical challenge are gifts I give to myself each and every day.

Can you relate your experiences learning the violin in comparison to what you know about the benefits?

Violin - ScrollOn many an occasion, I say to my talented and compassionate instructor Gilda, “this makes me feel like my brain is twisting!”  I literally can feel my brain working hard to tackle new learning curves, which with the violin, are mental and physical.  I am activating muscles I have not used, strengthening fingers that are gaining unforeseen agility, working to separate my right from my left hand functions, focusing on relaxation (definitely a challenge for someone like me), and gaining mental flexibility and concentration in my work and in general. It is nearly one and a half years since starting my new musical endeavor.  I do feel I think differently, that I am a bit more at mental ease and responsive. I look forward to what comes next!

The fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of not being able to learn something new tends to trap us adults into sticking with similar habits day in and day out – whether it be our jobs, our homes, our daily rhythms that we have established throughout our many decades.  Science tells us that we need to shake things up for ourselves to remain vital and healthy, and I might add, happy.  Music sends energy waves throughout our body like no other discipline has yet shown. Pick up a new instrument today and learn something new about yourself that you did not notice yesterday. It is well worth the try.

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