Interlude for a Senior Center

Apr 8, 2015 |

Music is a powerful connector. Most people remember the music playing when they saw their first love or the lullaby they sang to their firstborn.

For older adults, music can have a positive impact on their mental and physical well-being. That's why the Film Fund, Music Performance Trust Fund, and National Council on Aging (NCOA) are teaming up to bring live music to older adults at senior centers across the country this year - starting right here at University Settlement! 

MusicianFest will stage up to 500 free performances at senior centers in an effort to bring the positive impact of music into the lives of older adults. The concert series also will boost the employment of local musicians—many of whom will be contemporaries of their audiences.

The inaugural performance featured Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash and a performance by Richard Frank, noted New York guitarist and singer, here at University Settlement. Nearly 100 older adults joined the celebration, singing and dancing to the music of their lives. Check out a short video highlight clip: 

Research shows that music can reduce chronic pain and depression; affect positive changes in mood and emotional states; and reduce anxiety and stress. Additionally, research suggests that music therapy has the potential to help people with neurological deficits caused by stroke or Alzheimer's disease.

"I've experienced the joy live music can bring to a rapt audience at a senior center, and it's hard to deny the power of song," said Maureen O'Leary, program manager of NCOA's National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). "We're pleased this partnership will bring professional-caliber performers into the lives of thousands of older adults across the country."

The program will be coordinated by NISC and the local offices of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM).

"With the support of AFM and NCOA's guidance, we look forward to merging the capabilities of senior advocates with professional musicians to create dynamic programs," said Dan Beck, Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund. "We are grateful for the support from the Film Fund to create this new initiative. We hope to inspire further support to continue this work in the years ahead."

To find a list of senior centers hosting a MusicianFest performance, visit the MusicianFest website


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