Music & Memories Interactive Music Appreciation Activity for Adults and Seniors
“The music that touches you in your youth is magnified when you get older. Each record can be a virtual time machine…It’s a brilliant feeling when music touches you so profoundly and stays with you through time.” Rob Halford Potry & Every Emotion
Yael has been teaching extensive music appreciation classes to many adults and seniors at culture and senior centers and nursing homes, in New York City and Denmark, both in- person and online. (see CV)
Music & Memories are interactive music-appreciation classes designed to involve and enrich the participants in a joyous and effortless manner. It is apparent that listening to and sharing music listening/viewing in a group can be an uplifting activity that can also benefit individuals who suffer from dementia and any physical or mental health impairment.
Center for Music in the Brain (MIB) led by prof. Peter Vuust at Aarhus University (Denmark), have formulated the hypothesis Predictive Coding of Music (PCM). It says that
“Music, building on expectations, basically reflects the survival-related mechanisms of the brain, which are also associated with the prediction of future events, which have been demonstrated in the context of pre-attentive processing, and how musical pleasure is processed in the neurons that convey dopamine in the brain (dopaminergic pathways).”
This research team also concludes that musical components such as, rhythm, melody, harmony, form, instrumentation, and acoustics influence the brain.
For example, ”there is a direct connection between listening to musical rhythms and motoric behavior.”
Music & Memories participants are encouraged to share with the group their favorite music through music videos of specific artist, ensemble, orchestra, or music genre. If feeling inspired, they are welcome to sing along, clap, etc.
Individuals are also encouraged to share with the group their memories, thoughts, insights, and emotions invoked by the music.
Each class/activity focuses on a different theme, featuring different artists, songs, and music genre. The choice of music content within the class is flexible and associative, depending primarily on the group members’ preferences. Surfing on YouTube provides us with the freedom to watch a vast repertoire of music videos.
Examples for the repertoire that can be presented at the class:
-Favorite American songs with lyrics (for sing along with music videos)
–Latin rhythms and songs with Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Yma Sumac, etc.
-Jazz, and show tunes with Rita Moreno, Luis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, etc.
-Funk with James Brown; and Motown with The Supremes, The Temptations, etc.
-African vocal and instrumental traditional music, and with Afrobeat famous Fela Kuti, etc.
-Famous opera Arias with vocalist, such as Pavarotti, Maria Callas, and more;
-Symphonic Classical rhythmic pieces such as, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Bartok’s “Bolero,” Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony,” etc.
-Ballet- known pieces like, Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” Alvin Alley’s “Revelations,” Tchaikovsky / Pina Bausch’s “Rite of Spring” etc.
-Movie Themes- from Gershwin’s “Progy & Bess,” Bernstein’s “West Side Stories,” Nino Rota’s “Godfather” etc.