Learn Something New in '22, Part Two!
From tickling the ivories to exploring coral reefs under the sea, take a local lesson and expand your horizons.
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This is a political ad from Dana Levenberg for New York Assembly.
Last week we presented several fun ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new. Thankfully, Westchester is brimming with so many opportunities for personal enrichment that we’re back with more to do to keep you busy this summer and beyond…
How to Play Für Elise
Learning to tickle the ivories might seem like it’s just for the kids but piano instructor Dave Long says adults can and should try even if they have never played before. “Adults tend to have a longer attention span and can usually absorb complicated materials more quickly than children,” says Long of the advantages to starting later. He teaches adults and children throughout Westchester and beyond. His adult sessions are typically 60 to 90 minutes and can involve learning everything from classical pieces to jazz improvisation. “Adults sometimes worry that they can’t learn to play well later in life, but taking piano lessons as an adult can be very rewarding and satisfying,” says Long, who has studied music at Boston University and Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. While he had an interest in music from a young age, it wasn’t until his adult life that he became passionate about piano, inspired by his teacher Seymour Bernstein. “Playing the piano well requires a person to engage with their emotions, with physical movement, with memory and with logical thinking, often all at once and in an integrated way. It also requires discipline and focus to develop as a musician. All of these activities relate to intelligence in their own way. I believe that studying the piano helps to develop skills in these different areas and contributes to a person’s intellectual abilities and overall sense of wellbeing.” Lessons are $125 per hour with a $75 trial lesson to start.
How to Make a Quilt
Just across the state line in the adorable town of Bethel, CT, Fawn Schmidt teaches her students of all ages that quilting and sewing aren’t just for your grandma. She loves teaching new students and sharing her love of the craft and her shop is filled with gorgeous and inspiring fabrics from all the top brands in the industry. “New quilters are some of my favorite clients,” says Schmidt. “At Studio Q you most definitely do not have to have any experience at all. We guide you to some great beginner projects and walk you through every step of the way at your pace. We make it fun, enjoyable, and educational.” She offers three-hour sessions Tuesdays through Saturdays and students get to pick their project from a wide range of options, from tops to bags to quilts. The cost starts at $45 for a three-hour session, plus materials.
How to Deliver a Line
At the Axial Theatre’s Howard Meyer Acting Program, adults who have never taken to the stage before can get their chance to break a leg under the bright lights under the tutelage of Rachel Jones, who has taught the class for more than 20 years. Her step-by-step approach helps nurture aspiring actors whether they are just looking for a fun and enriching experience or dream of someday working professionally. “Rachel seeks to make everyone comfortable by starting every class with a group exercise so the entire group is working together,” says Howard Meyer, head of HM Acting. Students are then asked to read monologues and eventually work on scenes with a partner. “The exercises help each student activate their imaginations and also their emotional access,” he adds. “We have seen many people over the years open up to aspects of themselves they have forgotten or put away. They are also asked to become more conscious of activating their bodies, which people have expressed great gratitude for. One student told me, ‘I feel like more of who I am.’” A six-week beginner class costs $225. Classes are held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Pleasantville.
How to Pole Dance
Take your bootie over to the Beginner Bootcamp at Pole Position in White Plains and learn some moves that will loosen you up and get you in shape while making new friends. Students here tout the welcoming and comfortable setting where they can let loose and get some fun fitness in while they are at it. Classes are offered Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The boot camp is a three-class introduction for $75.
How to Paint with Beeswax
If painting and drawing don’t excite you, perhaps you need to up the interest. The Encaustic Painting class at Katonah Art Center teaches adults how to paint with a mixture of melted beeswax, pure pigment, and Damar resin. Layers are melted on top of each other to give the piece depth and luminescence. Students will learn to use photographs and other collage effects to create texture. “During my classes, a variety of encaustic materials, techniques, and tools are presented, but my main advice is to follow the wax — be absorbed by the process with a sense of exploration and experimentation,” says Instructor Kate Marlowe. “There is a wonder in watching the melted wax move and quickly harden into luminous layers with texture and depth, and endless possibilities as an art form.” Classes will be 10 weeks this fall. Check back in August for dates and times.
How to Scuba Dive
Dive into this introductory course on scuba diving called Discover Scuba. Group or private classes are available where students of every level can train in a heated saltwater pool with certified instructors. Gear is provided for the class and when you’re ready to purchase your own, the specialists at the gear shop can outfit you with everything you need. You’ll learn all the basics of scuba diving including how to breathe underwater. Talk about a change of scene.
Kristan Sveda is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism with 20 years of experience in journalism writing for local publications in and around Westchester. When she isn’t writing, she’s toting her three boys to baseball or basketball games, tackling the humongous weeds in her backyard, or binging on Canadian television.
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