Music for Older Adults

During 40 years of public performance as a guitarist, singer and songwriter, songs have always been central to my very existence. But visualizing the intent of a song and delivering it as a source of pain relief for my audience was something I had never done before.

Vocalization in the form of chanting, singing, listening and playing can aid with memory recall and pain relief at any age. After 100s of hours singing for the aged Ive seen the change in their demeanor after having sung or hummed or watched one of their favorite songs being performed. Ive seen stroke victims try to sing and laugh who had in previous days been quite silent. Another woman began exhibiting movement and sang with me when minutes earlier she had been asleep. Was that me awakening her? Through these experiences I have rediscovered my initial awe at how a music can call up the spirits and create healing energy fields.

Songs are able to evoke every response imaginable in people and help us recall specific times and places. Songs express thoughts and emotions related to life at every given point in our history. They are powerful vehicles and embody important ideals that greatly affect individuals and cultures as a whole. The sentiment of a song can remain active in a culture for centuries. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was written in the 15th century and is still performed every year in many western countries.

Singing with people is almost always an enjoyable nostalgic experience. This public still demands songs for celebrations and special events and at specific holiday times of the year will sing more than usual but thats typical. If the music is varied, from their generation, delivered with humor and enlists the participation of everyone present, you can transcend the moment.