Marlee Simon, MT-BC, NMT
5 Ways for Seniors (and Everyone) to Engage in Music During Quarantine
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been searching for ways to survive, adapt, and make sense of this “new normal.” While confronting unwarranted transition and uncertainty, we are craving safety, comfort, familiarity, and connection. We are collectively experiencing something that seems new and scary, and we are needing our coping skills and support systems more than ever.
Many people in the world—especially our older adult populations—may be struggling to adapt to, and cope with, this “new normal.” While our younger generations grew up in a world of connecting to others via technology, our seasoned populations may be unsure of or unable to learn how to navigate these advanced technological methods. Now, while I am aware that there are many older adults who are capable of learning and have adapted well to communicating with technology; I also think of those who don’t have access to technology devices, those who are processing their natural transition out of this lifetime in isolation, and those who are living with a disability and/or in need of assistance to navigate even their actual day-to-day lives, let alone a technology world. For those who are familiar with and thrive on human contact and connection, there’s nothing like a good, ole’ fashion face-to-face time spent with loved ones. Music—which is something that is experienced globally and can be used in isolation—can bring the sense of safety, comfort, familiarity, and connection that we are desperately needing. Also, research has demonstrated the ability for music engagement to improve our moods, reduce stress, and boost our immune system (which are all things that are encouraged for us to do during this time). Whether we are actively participating in a music experience or receptively listening to the music we love—music can heal us; or rather, we can use music as a tool to heal ourselves.
Here are five ways our older populations (and anyone) can use music for healing during a global pandemic:
1. Video conferencing with family, friends, community support
If you can use technology to communicate, USE IT! Call your support systems—family, friends, community members. Share your favorite tunes with each other. Have a dance party. Put on a talent show/concert for each other. Have a sing-along. Whether you're listening to or making music, you can enjoy this experience together virtually. Meli Music LLC has recently partnered with Music Mends Minds Inc.--a nonprofit organization that supports the development of seniors through age-related conditions (I.e. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.) with music—to host FREE, ONLINE, sing-along sessions for seniors three days a week! Bring your voice and/or instruments, and we will provide the set list and chords! ANYONE AND EVERYONE CAN JOIN! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to join. We look forward to jamming with you.
2. Listen to music Dust off that old record player, tape player, CD player, mp3 player, iPod, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora… you get it. Find your favorite music and listen to it. Create a playlist for motivation if you’re needing an energy boost for that spring-cleaning project; or, a playlist for relaxation to help you rest. Get nostalgic by rediscovering one of your all-time favorite artists or explore a new artist you’ve never heard of! Engage your brain in multiple ways by creating art (i.e. drawing, coloring, painting, sculpting, etc.) while listening to music. The sky is the limit with this one.
3. Play an instrument
Dust off that ole’ guitar, piano, saxophone, flute, djembe, ukulele, whatever you have, and PLAY! Here’s a great YouTube video on how playing an instrument benefits your brain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=47&v=R0JKCYZ8hng&feature=emb_logo
4. Sing and dance
You may be thinking, “I can’t dance... I can’t sing;” but guess what.... YOU TOTALLY CAN! As our friend Cat Stevens says— “If you want to sing out, sing out!... It’s easy.” Put your judgment and criticism aside while you bust a move and sing out your favorite tunes! Trust me, your brain and body don’t care how you sound or what you look like. They just know they feel good when you engage them in a music activity. Plus, if you live alone, you have ample space and freedom to express yourself without anyone telling you to pipe down. Sing and get your body moving, because it’s good for your health.
5. Connect with a music therapist via Telehealth!
Meli Music LLC has continued to provide music services (individual and group music therapy and music lessons, music wellness workshops) via Telehealth—online, videoconferencing sessions! We use a HIPAA-compliant platform to ensure your privacy. If you are interested in receiving music therapy and/or lessons, contact us for more information at email@example.com.
We hope reading this post was a helpful reminder for you to get creative and express yourself in music. Reach out to us and let us know how you’re doing. We are here to support you.