Benefits of music for the elderly

In general, it is recognized that musical activity can have beneficial results for the elderly. These benefits come in different forms for different people depending on their circumstances.

“Music therapy” is a well established method to help people with physical and cognitive disabilities caused by conditions such as dementia. “MT”, as it is known, often involves relatively passive activities such as listening to music under controlled conditions. But it can also involve singing, playing drums or playing, and playing other simple instruments such as harmonica.

Research has shown that the relaxing effect of music leads to better social interaction and often helps improve communication skills when they have been affected by things like a stroke, or as a result of some other injury or illness. .

For what we might call “common” older adults, music is often used in retirement communities and senior centers in the form of special musical entertainment, singing songs and even dance classes.

Participants are encouraged to sing, clap and dance according to old family standards. This type of musical experience provides a pleasant and pleasant social interaction, some valuable physical activity and a positive emotional stimulation shake.

Can older people benefit from playing musical instruments?

Listening to music can be emotionally stimulating, but it is a relatively passive activity. Can older people benefit from participating more actively in the creation of music, for example, by singing or playing a musical instrument?

Of course, it depends a lot on the older person and the instrument. Many older people have physical limitations that make playing a violin or a guitar almost impossible. But those same people could benefit from participation in a drum circle.

Participants in activities like this quickly get involved in making music, having fun, even dancing, singing and singing.

As Shannon Rattigan of says,

If a facilitated drum circle is presented correctly, in a matter of 10 minutes, everyone can play the rhythm of the drums together … The key is to set the correct tone to make this fun and fun. You can improvise, play and have a good time. As we did when we were children.
Can this be done with other instruments?

Again, it depends a lot on the older person and the instrument.

Many older people have played a musical instrument when they were younger, and stopped playing when family and work intervened. I often read in the music instruction forums comments from older boys (most of them seem to be men) who have picked up the guitar after it was in the closet for 40 years.

Yes, 40 years! That is not an exaggeration. I am an example. I played the guitar and trumpet in my teens and twenty years, and did not actively resume them until I turned 60.

The incentive for me was the opportunity to teach some of my grandchildren a little of what I knew. And that gave rise to many opportunities to act with them in family gatherings. And, of course, that has resulted in the joy of seeing children become talented musicians in their own right.

The point is that it is possible to dust off old talents if the circumstances are correct. Reliving old talents and playing in a small informal band with friends or family is a possibility.

A retirement community seems to be the perfect place where a group of people could gather to make music in a more structured way, for example, as a singing ensemble or a small band.

An entrepreneurial social director in a community of older people could even form a larger band, using regular or simple musical instruments such as whistles, harmonics and a variety of percussion elements (drums, tambourines, agitators, wooden blocks, etc.)

Play traditional musical instruments.

Is it realistic to think that a person of 70 or 80 could continue playing a traditional musical instrument such as a keyboard, a guitar or a trumpet? Or could he or she learn a completely new instrument: a keyboard, for example, or a banjo, harmonica or even a saxophone or a guitar?

Again, it depends on the circumstances in which a person is, in particular, their physical limitations. Many older people have lost flexibility in their hands. They may have back pain or hips that make it difficult to sit in the positions required by some instruments. And often an older person has difficulty seeing or hearing.

If none of these things stop a person, why not try?