By JoAnn Jordan, Blogger of the Month for September
In the “About Me” post, you learned I am a music therapist working in senior living communities.
When someone moves into a senior living community (a.k.a. skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers) they receive an assortment of assessments. The activity assessment often includes a couple questions along the lines of “Do you like music?” or “Did you play an instrument?”
Those questions, while important, lack that “back in my day” feel and detail. You need those details because we may like different music from those who are the same age or grew up in the same community. There are some who like country while others prefer popular music and others enjoy classics. The specifics do matter. Elvis, Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Darin all were popular singers in the 1950s, yet there aren’t tons of people who like to equally listen to all of them. Classical music includes a range from orchestral to opera, from Bach to Schwantner.
If you have an older someone who matters in your life, you owe it to him or her to know about his or her musical interests.
Sharing the music of our lives isn’t a short, one-time five-minute conversation. It is learning information across time. Here are a few lines to get you started:
• Did you ever play an instrument or sing in a group?
• What were some of your favorite songs as a teenager?
• Did you like to dance? Tell me about the music.
• What types of music do you like the least? What music irritates you?
• What music excites you?
• Tell me about the music your parents listened to or sang around the house.
• Cue up a song on YouTube or on an MP3 player asking if the music is familiar or something they liked.
You also owe it to yourself to be sure people know about your musical interests. Start sharing the music of your life. In the comments below, let’s begin by listing a performer or song from your teen years that makes you feel like dancing.
As a board certified music therapist, JoAnn provides music therapy and enrichment services for older adults and preschoolers in and around Hays, Kansas. She is known for the vibrant connections she delivers through intergenerational programs. You can access her engaging caregiver resources on her blog, Music Sparks.