As a music instructor and creator of many music education programs, I've known for a very long time that music knows no age. Most people think that learning to play a musical instrument is only for the young. However, the same profound benefits of music education reach into adulthood that we find in working with young children.
Senior Reflections is one of the Heritage Home Conservatory community outreach programs. This endeavor addresses the needs of elderly residents in independent and assisted living communities located in Southern California.
Our classes have been designed to target "brain health", boost energy through diaphragmatic exercises when vocalizing, camaraderie, creative story telling put to music and so much more.
The changes in the way our participants approach our class have profoundly changed from the onset of the program to present day. When we first began meeting, we saw and heard people who were unsure of their abilities. Many kept saying they were "not good singers", but we persisted, telling them that our class is not about being "divas" and that we had no plans to go on tour in the coming future.
So, we set to the task of encouraging, prodding, coaching, laughing, sharing ideas and just creating a good time by singing old standards and bringing back memories through music.
Additionally, we are not just singing the tunes of other composers, but we work on creating our own songs. This song writing process is being led by Alan Roy Scott, a world renowned singer, songwriter who also passionately believes in the importance of working with the elderly.
Music is very powerful! It engages the whole being in the action so after a 1 hour class, we see our students (many of whom need walkers to get around) get up from their chairs and go off humming a tune and being much more mentally alert.
We have succeeded in creating a class that sets goals. We have already performed for the entire population of the community in which they reside and now we are in discussion about creating a CD of their best tunes. Also, the art work for the cover of the CD will be designed by one of the residents. Suffice it to say, they will have a significant investment of time, energy and creativity in this project and the best part is that they will be able to hand a part of their life's legacy to their families through this CD.
Through the vast network of wonderful Heritage Home Conservatory instructors , we are able to train more teachers to work with more communities. Our teachers are excited about the prospect of sharing their music with the elderly and in exchange coming to know their wisdom.
For more information on our Senior Reflections program, please contact HHC directly.