Six-string Therapy

An avid outdoorsman, Richard Bendit of Wynmoor would sometimes run 15 miles a day. Then there were the hours of weight training. After that, he’d swim laps in the pool, so many that he wasn’t able to keep track.

Richard Bendit

After he was diagnosed with melanoma 10 years ago, his workouts didn’t slow down. When he retired from the art gallery he owned for 30 years, New Art Gallery in Deerfield Beach, he began to intensify his workouts.

But, a few months ago, Bendit was forced to slow down. The cancer had returned and was more serious. “I had two bouts at the same time in the last couple of months,” he says.

The 64-year-old decided that it was in his best interest to not train outdoors anymore, but he needed an outlet to channel his energy. He discovered the guitar.

“I could have just stayed in the gym and used the treadmill, or found an indoor pool, but I always wanted to learn an instrument, so I bought a guitar,” Bendit says.

Once a week, usually on Fridays, he meets his teacher Rick Averill for a private guitar lesson at Guitar Center in Promenade at Coconut Creek, which offers a variety of music classes.

Teaching private lessons has been gratifying for Averill, who was a music educator for most of his career in middle schools and high schools throughout Florida and Georgia. “I would work with the kids on a very high level of musicianship for three or four years, and then they would graduate and then go on to other things,” he says. “But when teaching adults, they don’t age out of the instruments.”

Averill believes, too, that retired people are in a position in life to either pick up where they left off, or start something new. “Maybe they played in the marching band or orchestra when they were in high school, then life got in the way,” Averill says. “Now they have this discretionary time.”

And, he says, there is no age limit to learning or relearning the skill. “Someone who played football in high school probably isn’t going to play when they are 60, but people who played an instrument, they can pick right up where they left off.”

What the musician and teacher finds most gratifying is when one of his students comes in for a lesson and tells him about the time they’ve spent practicing. “They’ll say, ‘When everyone has left the house and I have the place to myself, I sit down to play.’ I listen and I think ‘Wow, this is me really doing this.’  That’s the best part of my job.”

There’s another benefit that Bendit has discovered since he began learning to play guitar three months ago. While he misses the intensity of his outdoor training, learning to play a musical instrument offers a different type of workout. “This is mental exercise,” he says. “It really is good for your brain.”


Play On

Guitar Center offers free monthly community group classes, including a senior guitar class, women’s guitar night and guitar for kids. It also offers lessons in ukulele, bass guitar, keyboard, vocals, drums and percussion, and brass and woodwind instruments. Choices of lessons are a standard package (four hour-long private lessons a month, $259.98) and the express package (four half-hour private lessons a month, $129.99). Visit guitarcenter.com for details.

You May Also Like

Healthcare Investor Hosts Fundraising Event for Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis

The evening will feature a Frank Sinatra impersonator, networking and a chance to raffle prizes from Amaira Med Spa & Surgical.

Quality Ingredients Made Legendary

Angelo Elia creates a restaurant empire.

Editor’s Letter: Staking Out the Middle Ground

The political partisanship in Florida is pretty stark these days. However, the career of John P. “Jack” Seiler is a reminder that wasn’t always the case. Seiler, who is featured on this month’s cover, served a key role as a fiscally conservative Democrat during his time in the Florida statehouse. Some people thought he was

Kevin Gale
Hit the Road? Not This Jack

Seiler has had a long and distinguished public service career serving South Florida.

Other Posts

Justin Weinstein Is on a Mission To Change the Attorney-Client Dynamic

A new brand movement – “The Law of We” – aims to foster proactive relationships between attorneys and their clients.

Editor’s Letter: Saluting a Good Friend

We will honor Kevin Kaminski’s legacy in all that we do.

Living Through Giving: Victoria Martoccia

South Florida philanthropists share insights into their charitable work and the life lessons that have influenced their endeavors.

Living Through Giving: Heidi Alzate Kaufman

Discover philanthropic pursuits of South Florida benefactors and their life lessons that shaped their charitable actions.