Start Date

30-5-2011 10:30 AM

End Date

30-5-2011 12:30 PM

Description

Within our current social context where extraordinary demographic transitions are underway, where the numbers of old people suffering from depression is increasing and where there is an accepted need for initiatives that support older people’s well-being and productivity (Age concern, 2008) little attention has been paid to the potential for music-making to effect a significant contribution to the quality of life of older people. This research explored the role of music in older people’s lives and how active participation in making music, particularly in community settings can enhance their social, emotional and cognitive well-being. The specific aims were to investigate the way in which participating in creative music making activities could enhance the lives of older people, to consider the extent to which this may impact on social, emotional and cognitive well-being and to consider the processes through which potential benefits were achieved. A further aim was to explore barriers to participation and to consider implications for effective practice. The research comprised three UK case studies, the Sage, Gateshead, the Connect Programme of the Guildhall School of Music, and Westminster Adult Education Service, which each offer a variety of musical activities to older people. In each case study a sample of older people (total N = 398) some of whom had recently begun musical activities (novices), others who are more experienced were recruited to complete questionnaires about their musical background, musical self-concept and musical preferences. The questionnaires included measures of well-being; these were the CASP-12 quality of life measure, developed for use in research on ageing (Wiggins et al., 2008), and basic psychological needs scales (Deci and Ryan (2000). The questionnaires were completed before and after nine months of active engagement with music. A control group (N=102) who participated in activities other than music completed the same measures. In- depth interviews were carried out with a representative sample of participants, followed by observations of musical activities and focus group interviews as well as interviews with the musicians facilitating the activities, participants’ family members and representatives from charitable organisations working with older people within the wider community. Higher scores on the CASP-12 and the basic needs scales were found consistently amongst the music participants, in comparison with the control group. The music participants attributed significant social, emotional and health benefits to their active music making. Many participants re-invented a prior musical self-concept, for example, through memories of music-making at school, suggesting that musical opportunities early on in the life-course may have a cumulative and long-term influence on resilience in older age. This research supports the view that active music-making has powerful potential benefits for older people but that in order for these benefits to be maximized facilitators/teachers require appropriate training that meets specific needs and addresses barriers to participation.

Creech Project_Portfolio_6_April_2011[1].pdf (432 kB)
Music for Life Research Project Portfolio


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May 30th, 10:30 AM May 30th, 12:30 PM

Music for Life: Promoting Social Engagement and Well-Being in Older People Through Community Supported Participation in Musical Activities

Within our current social context where extraordinary demographic transitions are underway, where the numbers of old people suffering from depression is increasing and where there is an accepted need for initiatives that support older people’s well-being and productivity (Age concern, 2008) little attention has been paid to the potential for music-making to effect a significant contribution to the quality of life of older people. This research explored the role of music in older people’s lives and how active participation in making music, particularly in community settings can enhance their social, emotional and cognitive well-being. The specific aims were to investigate the way in which participating in creative music making activities could enhance the lives of older people, to consider the extent to which this may impact on social, emotional and cognitive well-being and to consider the processes through which potential benefits were achieved. A further aim was to explore barriers to participation and to consider implications for effective practice. The research comprised three UK case studies, the Sage, Gateshead, the Connect Programme of the Guildhall School of Music, and Westminster Adult Education Service, which each offer a variety of musical activities to older people. In each case study a sample of older people (total N = 398) some of whom had recently begun musical activities (novices), others who are more experienced were recruited to complete questionnaires about their musical background, musical self-concept and musical preferences. The questionnaires included measures of well-being; these were the CASP-12 quality of life measure, developed for use in research on ageing (Wiggins et al., 2008), and basic psychological needs scales (Deci and Ryan (2000). The questionnaires were completed before and after nine months of active engagement with music. A control group (N=102) who participated in activities other than music completed the same measures. In- depth interviews were carried out with a representative sample of participants, followed by observations of musical activities and focus group interviews as well as interviews with the musicians facilitating the activities, participants’ family members and representatives from charitable organisations working with older people within the wider community. Higher scores on the CASP-12 and the basic needs scales were found consistently amongst the music participants, in comparison with the control group. The music participants attributed significant social, emotional and health benefits to their active music making. Many participants re-invented a prior musical self-concept, for example, through memories of music-making at school, suggesting that musical opportunities early on in the life-course may have a cumulative and long-term influence on resilience in older age. This research supports the view that active music-making has powerful potential benefits for older people but that in order for these benefits to be maximized facilitators/teachers require appropriate training that meets specific needs and addresses barriers to participation.