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January 21,2003

New Program For Beginning
Musicians Over 50

The Community School of the Arts at UConn's College of Continuing Studies will launch a music program next month that offers older adults the chance to learn an orchestral string instrument.

The New Horizons Music program, developed at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music, has become popular in communities across the United States. The program has demonstrated that when it comes to learning to play a musical instrument, it's never too late. Most of the program's participants, amateur musicians ranging in age between 50 and 85, started taking music lessons only after passing their half-century birthday.

To kick off the program, the Community School of the Arts will host a free information session on Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. at the Depot campus. This session will give interested retirees and older adults an opportunity to try out various stringed instruments under the guidance of the School's faculty.

Formal music lessons for adults interested in joining the New Horizons Orchestra will begin on Feb. 13, and will be held at the Community School for the Arts on Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost for the semester-long program, which runs through May 1, is $150, not including instrument rental.

New Horizons programs are tailored to adults over 50, the fastest growing segment of the population.

Topher Logan, director of the Community School for the Arts, says the program restores intellectual stimulation and creative opportunities that older adults previously relied upon the workplace to provide.

The Eastman pilot program began in Rochester in 1991. Since then, similar programs have been launched across the nation and there are now 350 New Horizons Bands and Orchestras scattered throughout the country.

"Older adults have the time and motivation necessary to develop musical skills rapidly," says Roy Ernst, an Eastman School of Music professor, who created the program.

For more information on Community School for the Arts programs, contact Logan at 860.486.1073.