Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘Arts’

Rounds Resounding

A homemade merry-go-round.

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, there is a “Rounds Resounding Day”. In fact, it is TODAY! Let’s celebrate with a round or two! They are a musical thing to do for fun.  Rounds are great whether you are young or old to (1) use and develop listening skills (am I singing as loud as those around me, am I in tune), (2) learn to sing harmony, and (3) to develop independence in singing a part.

Here is a starter list to get you going:

  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Make New Friends
  • Dona Nobis Pacem
  • Hey, Ho, Nobody Home
  • Oh, How Lovely Is the Evening
  • Shalom Chaverim
  • Sing, Sing Together
  • I Love the Flowers
  • Hear the Lively Song of the Frogs

What is your favorite round? If it isn’t listed here, please post it in the comments!

Colorful World for Adults

Brattleboro, VT Rainbow

Image by Professor Bop via Flickr

About this time of year, I start to dream of warmer weather, sunshine, and planting my garden.  As I am preparing a session of Music Sparks on colors, I thought I’d share a few of my songs about colors which I pull out at various times.  Yes, I did share a post and newsletter on colors a few months ago.  As there are so many wonderful songs with colors, I wanted to share some songs I use when visiting assisted livings and nursing homes.

Singalong songs to share:

It’s just a starter list to get you started.  You could center sessions on just one color or  add art experiences to the mix.  Speaking of art, I’d like to share a great YouTube video that shows the effectiveness of the arts for those dealing with dementing illness.  See how these people respond.

Did you know Frank Sinatra conducted 12 classical compositions on colors?  Titled “Tone Poems of Color” this album of was released in 1956.  There is also poetry by Norman Sickel to go with the compositions.  While many may not know about this album, the classical music lovers may enjoy it.

Tomorrow’s post will be again on colors but this time for preschoolers!

Budgeting for Music


"$!" in Old Script font.

Image via Wikipedia


Finance issues seem to dominate the news these days.  Schools along with local, state, and national budgets are a major source of discussion.  An area often considered for cuts is the arts.   As a person who has an appreciation of the arts and utilizes music in my work, this is a major concern.  October is National Arts & Humanities Month making this a timely topic in many ways.

Why do we see the arts as a frill? Let me focus for a moment on music.  As a way to demonstrate the importance of music in your life, I challenge you to go 12 waking hours without music.  That will mean no radio or TV – think of the theme songs and the music sound tracks. It means not attending most sporting events as music is often played, the national anthem is sung.  It means not shopping as most stores play music.  It means not singing to yourself in the shower or playing music while you work out.  Many religious services employ music so you’ll need to avoid that, too.  The list would be very long.

Here are a few reasons I believe music is important and worthy of funding.

  • Music can provide opportunities for self-expression. How we play or sing, what we play or sing, or what we share for listening in any setting says something about us, about our feelings, our emotions.  Music is used to share sentiments and to convey emotions often difficult to put into words.
  • Music can enhance social interactions.  Think of a dance.  The music tells us whether to polka, to slow dance, to do the electric slide, or to two-step.  Think of the response of an audience upon hearing the national anthem.  How does a crowd respond to a school fight song at a sporting event?
  • Music informs us of time.  We know certain songs last  an approximate length, so we can use the songs to gauge length of time.  There are songs of eras.  There are songs tied to times in our lives – a first kiss, a wedding, a funeral, just to name a few.  Often when I get into participating in the creation of music, time seems to become unimportant.  Our heart rates and breathing entrain to the rhythm and phrasing of the music.  Music happens in time.

These are just a few of the ways I see music affecting lives.  For me, I can’t imagine life without music.  As such, I find music and the other arts worthy of support with our dollars.  A recent blog entitled: “Dear Walter Pincus: Music is a Not a Waste of Money” prompted me to share this in my blog.  I encourage you to read the blog, the article to which it is responding, and the comments on both.  For me, one of the most interesting facts is by Jeff Bowell who cites a 1994 cost of the military bands per tax payer –  a mere $1.24 per tax payer for the year.

Many US citizens will be going to the polls in a few weeks.  Consider asking those running for office their views on financing the arts as it relates to their elected position.  Determine for yourself how this informs your vote.  Determine for yourself your public and private funding of the arts.

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”                                              ~ George Bernard Shaw

Free fun in Hays

Hays Kansas town buffalo herd

Image by Kevglobal via Flickr

No buffaloing!

There is free fun, learning, and food available for those 50 and over in Hays, Kansas. Music Sparks provides opportunities for older adults to make connections with others through music.  Together with Trinity Lutheran’s Senior Circle, Music Sparks will present  “Music Connections” at 10:30AM Thursday, October 7th . A free lunch will  follow. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 785-625-2044 before noon Friday, October 1st or by enrolling through the Hays Recreation Commission.

This session will cover:

  1. Receptive (listening & responding)
  2. Re-creative (performing pre-composed music)
  3. Composing (creating a musical product such as songs, lyricsmusic videos as well as improvisations)
  4. Learning (gaining knowledge about or related to music)

There will be many experiential portions to this presentation!  If you’re lucky,maybe you can play the buffalo drum, too.  Won’t you join us?

Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars

Thanks you @SandwichINK for sharing this wonderful book on your blog! “Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars”is a great book for adults of all ages who work with young children.  As one who loves to lead intergenerational activities, I can see this would be a great resource – one I plan to add to my library.  Know of other great resources for intergenerational activities?  Please share them

What influences music?

Have you ever thought about what influences music?  Have you ever considered the possible role of architecture on music?  Here’s a TED Talk on just this matter.  Watch it & share your thoughts!

Music for all

I firmly believe music is something most people can enjoy and in which participation is beneficial.  A recent article in Nature News shares much the same view.

What are your thoughts?

Song for my husband

People are very important to me and my husband is extra important.  He is my best friend, a mentor, my partner, my sounding board.  Tomorrow we will celebrate 26 years of married life.  I love you, Jeff, “more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.”  For Jeff and those with loves in there lives, enjoy this video:


This week, the High Plains Band & Orchestra Camp is occurring in Hays, KS.  My daughter is there as a camper becoming more proficient as a musician.  My husband is there working with students but still learning as he observes other instructors & directors, plays, and interacts with others.  For me, it means experiencing wonderful evening concerts.  For example, last evening I heard everything from Bach to PDQ Bach to jazz.  It was wonderfully entertaining and relaxing.  So, as a family we are all having musical growth this week.

Whether one is young or old, learning and experiencing are important for us cognitively.  So, why not learn something musical?  What are ways you grow as a musician?

Here are just a few ways to grow as a musician:

  1. learn an instrument
  2. listen to others perform – live or recoded
  3. read a book about an aspect of music
  4. participate in a performing ensemble
  5. attend a drum circle
  6. ask someone about there musical interests

So grow , experience, and enjoy your life.

From the Library of Congress…

The US government does make many interesting resources available to the public.  Even though I live in the Midwest, there are items I can access on line.

One of them is the Library of Congress talk series: Music and the Brain.  While I can down load pre-talks on iTunes, they are also available at:  feed://

Amazing experts including music therapist have shared their thoughts, research, & ideas on this program.  So, adults, exercise those brain cells and have a listen!

There are all types of resources available for folks of all ages.  There is everything from lessons plans, to coloring pages, to recordings, and public domain music.  Check it out and enjoy.

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