May your heart always be joyful / May your song always be sung / May you stay forever young
The Importance of Community Music as We Age
Listening to music is a wonderful outlet that can lift one’s spirits at any age. As we grow older, the benefits of music become increasingly significant to our quality of life. In addition to reducing stress, music has the ability to decrease heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Go a step beyond, to making music and we tap into a truly powerful tool to improve personal well-being. Making music can lessen anxiety and depression and keep our minds sharp as we age by creating new connections in the brain that can compensate for age-related cognitive declines. Even the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be diminished. (1)
The positive effects of making music are enhanced when we make music in a group setting – the most basic definition of “community music.” The energy created while making music with other people is shared and magnified. The musical community also serves to reduce social isolation. There are numerous research studies on the benefits of community music making for seniors.
A 2014 study (2) on the benefits of community music programming with the elderly found that music making has “the capacity to promote cognitive transfer, self-efficacy and overall quality of life.”
A 2015 study (3) concluded that “a growing body of evidence makes strong links between engagement in music-making, enhanced well-being, and active aging.”
Another 2014 study (4) found that actively participating in making music significantly improved three measures of well-being in the elderly:
- Purpose – having a positive outlook on life
- Autonomy and control
- Social affirmation – positive social relationships, competence and sense of recognized accomplishment
As we are fond of saying: Life goes better with music.
Group Music Programs for Seniors
– encourage participants to discover a connection to music
– stimulate active participation in communal music making
– improve self-esteem
– foster positive social interaction
– promote wellness
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