Celebrate Making Music:How Song helps Seniors

This blog submitted by guest blogger, Gloria Hoffner, owners of Guitar With Gloria and proud member of Chichester Alumni Band. 

Americans love music! We play it in our elevators, use it to calm us in dental chairs, turn up the iPod volume to tune out our parents, remember it as we recall our childhoods, and celebrate it annually during Making Music Week, May 1 through 7th 2011.  In fact,  according to a 2006 Gallop Poll, Americans make up the most musical country on the planet!


            The survey found,  U.S. residents purchase 42.7 percent of all musical instruments in the world.  Our closest competitor is Japan at 15.6  percent.

 Fifty-two percent of all American homes have at least one musician and forty percent have two or more musicians. Most of these musicians were introduced to music through a parent or a teacher.


          Eighty five percent of Americans believe music is very important to the quality of life – and a whopping 67 percent wish they played an instrument!


          This is no surprise to the members of the Chichester Alumni Community Band – now 24 years old and going strong. The band brings together beginners and experts, young in years and young at heart, who played in a school band, a community youth group, a church praise band, a drum and bugle corp or alone on their back porch. Chichester Alumni Community Band musicians have one common goal – to play music for their community. The band performs at local parades, summer concerts and once a month at a long term care facility.


          Listening to the band perform benefits seniors who attend the concerts. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Gerntological Nursing found that nursing home residents who listened to 20 minutes of music experienced less stress and better sleep patterns than those in a control group who did not listen to music.

 he art of making music also has health benefits for musicians. In the book, “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science”  author Norman Doidge, said,“ The more we participate in mentally stimulating activities, the less likely we are to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration – studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading and dancing – are associated with a lower risk for dementia.”
 So in May as we celebrate Making Music Week,  as well as Nursing Home Week May 8 – 14, 2011and National Older Americans Month consider dusting off that drum, getting that high school flute down from the closet shelf, finding the trombone your mother paid for from her grocery savings and come join the Chichester Alumni Community Band!  Membership is open to everyone no matter where you live and what school you attended. No audition, no pressure, no homework – just fun and healthy mental stimulation.
          We meet Tuesday evenings, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Reliance Fire Company in Chichester. Come for a listen, come to ask about possible dates we might perform for your group – come and be welcomed to enjoy the music!

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