Music and Wellness
According to the National Center for Creative Aging, “the arts can serve as a powerful way to engage elders in a creative and healing process of self-expression, enabling them to create works that honor their life experience.” That organization’s Creative Aging Toolkit is designed to help leaders and program staff create programs that enhance the lives of older adults, helping them discover a new sense of purpose, collaboration, and community through music.
There is a strange power that knows no generation gap. It makes babies coo, children giggle, teens swoon, adults dance and elders connect with profound joy. Music, is a great connector. Recreational Music Making programs have allowed Remo to touch lives around the world in playful and profound ways. Remo has trained about 3,000 people from all walks of life and 25 different countries, to facilitate transformation through our evidence-based HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming program.
“I have been a musician all of my life, and while I have always enjoyed performing, there came a time where I felt a need for something more,” explains Cooley. “My desire to bring something positive to others through music was fulfilled with the HealthRHYTHMS protocol. While I work with many different groups, the senior population has become my favorite. It is such a joy for me to provide my participants with physical exercise, stress relief, emotional support and social interaction … all wrapped up in the fun of drumming!”
“We didn’t know we ‘had a rhythm’ or needed one until Kevin came along and showed us what fun we could have looking for it. Drumming will lift your spirits,” says Norma Whitt, resident at Morningside Ministries at the Meadows, a senior living community in San Antonio.
LOWREY Is Fun & Easy (LIFE)
Lowrey Is Fun & Easy (LIFE) is an organization that supports music makers in a variety of ways, all intended to encourage people to join a Lowrey music making class, bring friends to class, and continue to learn. Many LIFE members start out in a Lowrey Magic class—a 12-book, 120-song learn-to-play program.
Members of the LIFE program have access to monthly newsletters and e-mail updates with articles about music making and social activities, plus themed music packs with sheet music, history, and tips. LIFE
leads and encourages social activities and volunteer projects to bring class members together in and out of the classroom. These include programs like Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), Toys for Tots, Kids Need Music, and Mr. Holland’s Opus.
“As a former nurse, I couldn’t help but notice how shy persons would come out of their shell and be themselves [in class]; the confidence level becomes very apparent; members suffering the loss of someone very close to them become more at ease through the support they receive from class and LIFE members,” says Joyce Kaplan a retired RN living in Dallas, Texas, who attends with her husband, Dennis. “We are all senior citizens, but we don’t have to act like it or to take a diminished role in the community. These programs have had a can-do, enabling effect on us.”
“The project for which we are proudest has been HFOT,” says Kaplan. “We held a huge concert, raffles, bake sales, auctions, supported runners in two Marine Marathons, since 2006, raising in excess of $17,000.”
Yamaha’s QuickPlay allows adults to realize the dream of making music, and playing the piano at their very first lesson. Set in a no-pressure, supportive, relaxed, group setting, participants are amazed by what
they are able to play during their first class. QuickPlay creates a social aspect to learning through piano class communities where adults can learn without the frustration and steep learning curve that can accompany traditional lessons.
QuickPlay uses Yamaha’s CVP digital piano, that literally “lights the way” for the students to succeed. Lights above every key guide the participants confidently through songs, with fully orchestrated arrangements for amazing results and satisfaction. The goal of QuickPlay is to start participants on their way to a lifetime of enjoyable music making, musical expression, and fun.
Jack Melvin from Keyboard Connection in Jacksonville, Florida, runs a very successful Yamaha QuickPlay program. “Playing the CVP501 is fun and satisfying, but I have to turn it off at 1:00 A.M. to get some rest,” says Louis Lindsay, who takes part in the Keyboard Connection Piano Club at Melvin’s store.
“I knew when I heard ‘Linus & Lucy’ I was hooked! I always learn something new when I come to this group meeting!” says Gwen Branch, another Jacksonville participant.