“Music is very spiritual; it has the power to bring people together.” Edgar Winter
Music is good for the soul and a path to wellness. Engaging with music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain, as well as age-related cognitive decline. Music stirs emotions that can improve sleep quality and is a powerful regulator of mood.
‘If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
Music: Food for the soul and the brain
Listening to music improves concentration, cognition and memory, and can have a beneficial effect on brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is linked to feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.” According to Johns Hopkins Health—”There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does. If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
And best of all, music can bring people together.
Get Musical – and Get Social
Want to get social and meet people? Across cultures and age groups, music brings people together and builds social connections. And even better, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to connect with others musically.
Singing in a Group
Many communities have chorale groups, community choruses and church choirs, and offer music lessons of all kinds. Encore Creativity for Older Adults features chorale groups in six states and Washington D.C. that welcome singers of all experience levels.
The 92nd Street Y School of Music in NYC offers group singing opportunities for older adults including Broadway and American Standards Sing-In and the Broadway at 92NY Chorus (no experience needed). The Brooklyn Community Chorus is open to anyone who loves to sing.
…Or going solo
Karaoke is fun and a great way to meet people. Seniors Got Talent offers karaoke aplenty, for a $25 annual membership that allows access to all NYC Parks Recreation Centers in the 5 boroughs. Karaoke is offered in bars and venues across the region. Some are more age friendly than others, like the Senior Karaoke Program in Oyster Bay, Long Island.
Attending concerts and music festivals is a great way to meet people while also experiencing the joys of music. The Brooklyn Folk Festival is awesome, and if you volunteer you get in free. SummerStage free concerts offer everything from afro-punk, Latin jazz, soul, hip-hop and avant-garde to rock and roll, and take place in Central Park, Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, Coney Island’s Amphitheater and other locations across the 5 boroughs. If you prefer classical music, there’s no shortage of free concerts and recitals.
Music and Seniors
Lots of organizations bring great music to senior living communities, nursing homes, community centers and other locations—you can experience music with your peers in comfortable and familiar settings. These include Music for Seniors, Concerts in Motion, Sing for your Seniors, and M.U.S.I.C. Project.
So whether you’re a participant or an audience, a shower singer or a trained performer, there’s bound to be a way to enjoy music and meet new people.
How about you? Are you musically inclined? Play an instrument? Love to sing? Share your story in the comments!
Since moving to New York City 10 years ago, David Biederman has worked in the nonprofit sector, and currently serves as Communications Specialist for OATS (Older Adults Technology Services). A longtime journalist, David most recently worked for the Journal of Commerce and other publications in the B2B sector.