By Elaine Sorrentino
I own a $400 drying rack. You may think this a bit extravagant until you discover it was not purchased as a clothes rack; it was purchased as an elliptical trainer one January not long ago, so that I might shed the extra pounds that sneak up during the holidays. My New Year’s resolution to spend at least 25 minutes on the elliptical lasted an entire two weeks before I discovered that sleeping later than 6:00 am was preferable to dragging myself out of bed to exercise.
This is a story we’ve all heard before. Make a resolution, break a resolution. But there IS one resolution I made and have not broken. It’s my resolution to do something fun that feeds my soul and stimulates my brain.
In January of 2008 I joined South Shore Conservatory’s Woman Song, an cappella ensemble for women who love to sing. After 90 minutes of harmony and reflection, I leave relaxed and invigorated, feeling loved and lifted up by my fellow singers. This was the best resolution I’ve ever made. So, while my elliptical sits in the corner virtually unused (save for the times it acts as a clothes rack), I continue to make music with my singing sisters.
My friend Su D’Ambrosio, Director of Programs and Curriculum here at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), has met many adults over the years who share that they regret giving up an instrument they played when they were young, never picking it up again. Others share they are sorry they never tried one when they were young, and fear it’s too late. Her response is that it’s never too late! What a great resolution! Coming back to an instrument or learning one for the first time as an adult has many benefits including strengthening brain function, enjoying a sense of accomplishment, meeting new people with a common interest and simply experiencing the joy that only the creative arts can bring.
When you look around the room at one of SSC’s adult group classes, you see a combination of focused concentration, and smiles and laughter. These adult students are having fun, chuckling through the mistakes and celebrating the successes! In addition to having introductory classes in violin, guitar and piano, we are starting an adult ukulele class this spring. Ukulele is inexpensive, portable and not too complicated to learn, so you tend to see progress fairly quickly. The ukulele is light and easy to hold, and even our oldest students are able to manage. Ukulele also lends itself to singing along which adds an element of fun and festivity to the class. We ran a ukulele class at the Hingham Senior Center in the fall and it was a huge hit.
Happy New Year to all, and if your resolution is to do something nice for yourself in the New Year, check out our arts-based programs at www.sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565, ext. 10 for more information. SSC’s next semester starts the week of January 30.
Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.