Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘lifestyles’

Diving Back In

Arvid Spångberg winning the bronze medal.

Image via Wikipedia

My vacation with family in Florida has ended. Today I am diving back into work with a fun, new intergenerational series: A Sea Full of Fun. What an appropriate topic!

  • I’ve just left being gulf side in Florida.
  • Not home even 24 hours, I’m back to providing sessions.
  • I’m working with my favorite mix of people: older adults & preschoolers.

Returning from a vacation can be difficult yet I have found a few things that make the “dive” less scary.

  1. I clean the house before I leave.While it is extra work on the front side, it makes it one less thing to do when I return home.
  2. I plan a few breaks from the normal schedule where possible. I try to set aside time in the schedule to sort mail, pay bills, unpack, and take a nap. Sometimes it means saying no to someone or something.
  3. I am learning to ask for help. My daughter and husband aren’t mind readers (like I often wish they were) so I ask their needs and their assistance with tasks.
  4. I plan for the unexpected. Having phone numbers for possible issues helps when the flight is cancelled, a tire is flat, or someone is ill. If I plan for the potential of issues, it seems less stressful and the issue doesn’t seem as bad as I had imagined.
  5. I treat myself with something the first week home. Maybe it is a bouquet of flowers, a special meal, or a massage, having a treat that first week back seems to ease the jump back.

I haven’t perfected returning to work from vacation, but I have managed to make the first step off the “board” less frightening. What do you do to ease out of vacation? Please share it in the comments.

Make a Musical Family History

3 Generations, 1 MacBook

Image by lyzadanger via Flickr

The other day, I found a great post titled: Maturity Matters – Relationships – Celebrate Your Family History: 10 Activities.  I strongly encourage you to look at this link and explore the activities.  Using the author’s activities list, here are some ways to add a musical twist.

Start a family Journal Include in your list of questions ones related to music stories. These might include:

  • Instruments played
  • Favorite bands
  • Memories of concerts attended or performed
  • Where and how you listened to music (live, radio, TV)

Generation Preservation Just like old photos, old recordings are fragile and cannot be replaced once lost or damaged. Consider having them saved in a digital format. Look for reel to reel and cassette recordings.  And, don’t forget home sound movies along with videos.  Musical performances are held in a variety of formats.

Their Turn While recording those stories in audio, see if you can get a song sung or an instrumental performance.  There is nothing like hearing a person’s interpretation of a song! I am blessed to have video of one of my grandma’s singing.  What a gift to share with my child!

Generation Transformations When discussing what life was like for each generation, ask about how and where they heard music.  Past generations often gathered around the piano for shared music times, listened to performances on the radio or on TV.  Famous bands made tours did performers. You never know who they met or say.

We are Family Don’t forget to record any family music traditions.  In my family there is a family hymn sung at many of our baptisms and funerals.  There are songs I was taught by my parents during long car rides.  There were times music was played during meals.  Every family is unique in how they used music.

Leave a Legacy Ask each family member to reflect upon what they would like to be their musical legacy and why. Find out how they envision their contribution to impact on future generations. Maybe they can select a recording that can be purchased/downloaded to add it to the family journal.  If they chose to compose a song, all the better!

Children can gain so much from these histories.  When my daughter was in grade school and reading the American Girl books, she would ask questions about experiences of her grandparents and great grands.  Depending on a child’s abilities, they can also help with the recording. (My daughter loves to use cameras.) While these items were listed for families, they might be appropriate in community groups, hospice, assisted living, long-term care and community service projects.  (Think teens gather histories of seniors with particular interests.) Do you have other ideas ways to leave a family legacy?  Share them under the comments.

It isn’t too late

Kat Fulton, MM, MT-BC, NICUMT, has a wonderful blog.  She has been posting myth busters the last few entries.  Her most recent one is the best!  Read it and consider what Kat says: Mythbuster Countdown #1.

Active Music Making and Wellness (via )

Wellness is one of the reasons I offer services to older adults.  Here’s information from a couple of my mentors on the positive effects of music making.

by Carl T. Bruhn and Dr. Alicia Ann Claire

Active music making and its role in wellness is receiving much attention around the country. So why all the interest? First of all, people are demanding more than the absence of disease to be well. They also want reduced illness risk, managed stress, better energy, daily enjoyment, personal development, satisfying relationships, and feelings of belonging. Second, active music making provides the opportun … Read More


On the beach…

BeachThe sound of the waves gently breaking on the beach is a favorite of mine.  Being barefoot in the sand on a sunny day is a joy.  Lots of songs come to mind when I think of the beach including:


  • “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”, Otis Redding
  • “Walking on Sunshine”, Katrina & the Waves
  • “Under the Boardwalk”, The Drifters
  • “Limbo Rock”, Chubby Checkers
  • “Beach Baby”, First Class

What are your favorite beach songs?  Share them in the comment section below.  Together, we’ll create a great list!

In case you missed it…

In case you missed the CBS 60 minutes report on Gustavo Dudamel, here’s link!

It was great to hear of some efforts to involve our youth in music.  There are many communities where this is happening without big names or much fanfare. Support the arts in your community.  Help make a difference in the quality of our future.

What’s on your relaxation playlist?

Back in January, I wrote a blog on relaxation, which listed a few selections for music listening.  This blog further expands on that topic.  When considering music for relaxation, realize that which creates relaxation is a personal matter.  However, there are some guiding principles.

The tempo of the music is often 50-80 beats per minute.  It can also be music with no specific rhythm.  The melody is generally smooth with dynamics being fairly stable and ranges being limited.   It is music that creates for you a decreased feeling of anxiety or agitation.  It is music you find elicits a calming effect on your emotions.

There are also different purposes for relaxation, which may affect your music selections.  At times, I want the music to help me fall asleep.  There are times I want the music to assist me in slowing down.  Repeated use of the same music also helps me more quickly reach my desired state.

So here is a portion of my relaxation playlist:

  • “Another Shore”, Alex de Grassi
  • “Inner Strength, Inner Peace”, Wayne Jones
  • “Reflection”, Liquid Mind
  • “Prayer and Word”, David Darling
  • “Lux Aeterna: O Nata Lux”, Elora Festiva;Singers & Noel Edison
  • “After the Rain”, Michael Jones
  • “Gentle Touch”, Ralf Illenberger

May you find relaxation, joy and peace in your life.

The Remaking of TV Tunes

As a child of the 60’s, I grew up sing theme songs to many of my favorite shows such as “Gillian’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch”.  These tunes often come to mind at interest times.  (Gotta love ear worms!)  Now, some of these tunes are being used as a basis for some music for enjoyment and interest.  Check out this link to NPR!      Small-screen


Spontaneous Music

Music therapist, Kat Fulton, posted on her blog “Sound Health Music” “9 Crazy Ideas for Playful Spontaneity during the Work Day”.  (Kat’s blog is: ).  I love to listen to music, sing, howl with the dogs, just to name a few. So what are some ways you fill your days with spontaneous music? Share your thoughts.

Arts in Education

With budget cuts in education, many arts programs are being cut in our schools.  While the arts are important alone, they are also valuable educationally.  Check out this article.

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