For Ben Sloane, Retirement Is the Perfect Time to Re-Connect with Music
“I’m surprised that I’m playing better now than I did as a kid. I feel good about that.”
Decades ago, Ben Sloane faced a problem shared by many musicians: How to balance music with the demands of career and family? A professional pianist who often toured with national productions of Broadway shows, he made the decision to take a job in the nonprofit healthcare sector. “After I left it as a profession, I barely touched the piano,” he explains.
Fast forward almost 40 years: This spring you can find Ben happily rehearsing songs by Debussy, Duparc and Fauré each week with his Lucy Moses School chamber ensemble in preparation for their recital on June 16. As for many musicians in LMS’s Adult Division, the school offered an opportunity to joyfully reconnect with his passion when he retired four years ago. “This spring I’m finishing my eighth semester of chamber music,” says Ben, who plays in an ensemble coached by Re’ut Ben-Ze’ev. “The school has become a major focus of my retirement.” Now 77, Ben commutes to LMS each week from his home in Forest Hills, Queens.
“Many of the people in this chamber music program had music lessons as kids and then got away from music, and came back to it after a long period of time,” Ben explains. “Keeping it up is a wonderful hobby.” He appreciates the school’s comfortable, informal atmosphere, the performance opportunities, and connecting with others who share his musical interests. “The LMS Chamber Music Program is unique in New York City,” he says, explaining that the weekly two-hour sessions are ideal. “It’s a marvelous way to focus on something.”
Making music together with an ensemble is a totally different experience than playing alone, Ben observes, and his group has developed strong bonds. “We’ve gotten to know each other well, and we focus in on what we’re doing together very nicely.” And the friendly atmosphere at LMS makes a big difference. “I’m thrilled with the warmth with which I’m greeted in the lobby, and it’s always pleasant to go to the LMS offices and see the smiling faces. It means so much to me.”
Ben has this advice for retired people: Connecting with music at LMS is “an opportunity to meet other people and to get the instrument back in your hands or back in your voice, and it’s a chance to live through music again. It’s rejuvenated me completely. It’s given me a chance to do things that a lot of people half my age couldn’t do.”
FREE Adult Division Open House - Thursday, September 12, 4-7 pm
There’s something at Lucy Moses School for adults of all ages and skill levels. Beginners are welcome! Join a chamber or jazz ensemble, or take a Dalcroze or Sight-Singing class. Interested in private instrument or voice lessons? Make an appointment with LMS Adult Division Manager Alicia Andrews, who will match you with the perfect teacher based on your schedule and musical goals and interests. Email Alicia or call 212 501 3360.
Q&A: LMS Assistant Director and Adult Division Manager Alicia Andrews explains how adults of all ages can connect with music.