Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘quality’

Celebrate “Inspire Your Heart with Art Day”

An artist's palette

Image via Wikipedia

January 31st is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day.  It celebrates art and the effect it can have on your heart. No matter your age, art (in all its forms) can be valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons. Even if your finances are tight, there are ways to access the arts and to find inspiration.

Look at a piece of art  or listen to a piece of music and ask yourself:

  • What is it telling me?
  • How does it make me feel?
  • What emotions is it evoking (if any) within me?
  • If I were to title this work of art, it would be called ___________.
  • Is there another work of art, piece of music, literary work, etc.  that expresses a similar idea?

Enjoy “Inspire Your Heart with Art Day”.  I look forward to learning what inspired you!

Toddler Music Resource Review

In All Kinds of WeatherThis summer I reviewed a resource for seniors: “Travel Unlimited”.  Now for those working with the younger set, I am reviewing “In All Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music! Sunny, Stormy, and Always Fun Music Activities for You and Your Child” by Lynn Kleiner.  This book comes with a music CD.

Lynn Kleiner has geared these materials for 3-8 year olds.  Even so, I have used a few of the selections in intergenerational groups with much success.  She includes patterns for puppet making and instructions for instrument making.  Some tunes will be familiar like “Mister Sun” and “The Eensy Weensy Spider” while other songs may be new to you.  Having used these materials the past five years, I can say from experience Lynn provides enough variety for ways to “perform” a song to keep them from becoming boring.  Children seem to love the songs making this collection a great resource for parents, preschool and elementary teachers, and music therapists.  If you would like to learn about purchasing, click on the Fun Stuff to Buy” in the right hand column.

Having the CD makes it easier for those who are less comfortable singing to use these materials.  A perfect voice is not required for this material to be successful.  Just remember to sing along and enjoy yourself as children tend to follow the example before them.

No matter what the weather where you are, may your music making be merry!

Changes in nursing homes

For many years, I was employed at skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities as an Activity Director.  I tried to provide the normal as well as the entertaining.  Here is a neat article about changes that are happening in nursing homes.  This excites me!


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.


Music and dance just seem to go together.  No matter our age or ability, we want to move in certain ways to certain songs.  As a music therapist I often make use of this in planning my sessions.  So when I came across a poem this week entitled “Dance” I felt moved to share it with you.

Written by a teenager terminally ill with cancer.
“Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,”Hi!”
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.”

What wise words.  No matter our age it is important to slow down & hear the music within us & around us.  This brought to mind the Lee Ann Womack song “I Hope You Dance“.

It is my hope you find time to listen and to dance this week to the music of your life and of your world.

6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music

Looking for some ideas to use with  your children?  Check out this news article6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music.

A positive look at aging!

While many people look at aging with doom and gloom, I’ve always looked forward to the possibilities aging provides.  Having spent much of my professional career with retirees has informed this process.   They bring a wealth of experiences and often a “enjoy the day” approach to their lives.  Many of them pursue their passions and continue to fill their days with love and learning.  It appears happiness may come with age.  A recent study published online May 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows enjoyment and happiness increase from age 50 until age 75 then decreasing slightly but not decreasing to age 50 levels.

For those fearful of memory loss, realize research efforts continue.   While a cure or vaccine has not been found, management efforts continue.  As a music therapist I am often amazed how those engaged in music can seem to unlock portions of their memories.   A recent article in the Kansas City Star highlighted this along with some music application efforts.   Please look at this article then share your thoughts about aging.

Experts look to music as way to uncover past buried by dementia –

Fall sessions

My fall schedule is starting to fill up.  Lots of creative and fun sessions are being planned.  Here are a couple!

Intergenerational classes will be held on Mondays at Cedarview.  As requested by last springs class, we will have lots of songs about things that go.  Three  four-week sessions are on the calendar for the fall.  Go to the Class tab to learn more about Music Sparks: Exploration.  Be sure and enroll so you and your preschooler can join the fun.

Sterling House of Hays has weekly sessions planned.  As a part of this, monthly drum circles will be held along with themed sing-a-longs and hymn sings.

If you would like to include Music Sparks in your calendar, please contact me.  Be watching for other offerings in the Hays area!

For my Father…

My father is a very special man.  He and my mother raised me and my siblings in a house filed with faith, love and music.  Many foster children also shared our lives.  Hearing my dad chant the liturgy, preach a sermon, share a tender moment with a parishioners, was the stuff of my life.  Though the loss of my mother a few years ago was traumatic, he continues to live a life filled with faith, love and music.  So it is, I share this musical tribute in his honor:  

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I love you!

Dog Songs

Have you ever noticed how many songs are about dogs?  Here are a few listed in my newsletter:

  • “How Much is that Dogie in the Window?”
  • “B-I-N-G-O”
  • “Who Let the Dog’s Out?”
  • “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog”

    Hope your dog days of summer are enjoyable!

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