Benefits of Music for Seniors

It is generally acknowledged that musical activity can have beneficial results for seniors. These benefits come in different forms for different people depending on their circumstances.

“Music Therapy” is one well established method of helping people with physical and cognitive disabilities caused by conditions such as dementia. “MT” as it is referred to, often involves relatively passive activities like listening to music under controlled conditions. But it can also involve singing, drumming or tapping, and playing other simple instruments like the harmonica.

Research has shown that the soothing effect of music leads to better social interaction and often helps improve communication skills where they have been impaired by such things as stroke, or been the result of some other injury or sickness.

For what we might call “ordinary” seniors, music is often used in retirement communities and senior centers in the form of special musical entertainment, sing songs and even dancing classes.

Participants are encouraged to engage in singing, clapping, and dancing to old familiar standards. This type of musical experience provides pleasant and enjoyable social interaction, a valuable bit of physical activity, and a jolt of positive emotional stimulation.

Can seniors benefit from playing musical instruments?

Listening to music can be emotionally stimulating, but it is a relatively passive activity. Can seniors benefit from being more actively involved in making music – by, for instance, singing or playing a musical instrument?

Of course it depends a lot on the senior, and on the instrument. Many seniors have physical limitations that make fingering a violin or a guitar almost impossible. But those same people might benefit from participation in a drum circle.

Participants in activities like this quickly get involved in making music, having fun, even dancing, chanting, and singing.

As Shannon Rattigan of drumcircles.net says,

If a facilitated drum circle is presented properly, in a matter of 10 minutes everyone can be playing a drum rhythm together… The key to it is setting the right tone that this is going to be playful and fun. You can improvise, play around, and just have a good time. Like we did when we were kids.

Can this be done with other instruments?

Again, it depends a lot on the senior and on the instrument.

Many older people have played a musical instrument when they were younger, and stopped playing when family and work intervened. I often read on music instruction forums comments from older guys (most of them seem to be men) who have picked up the guitar after it sat in the closet for 40 years.

Yes, 40 years! That is not an exaggeration. I am an example. I played the guitar and trumpet in my teens and twenties, and didn’t actively pick them up again until I was in my 60s.

The incentive for me was the opportunity to teach some of my grandchildren a bit of what I knew. And that led to many opportunities to perform with them at family gatherings. And of course that has resulted in the joy that comes with watching the kids become talented musicians in their own right.

The point is, it is possible to dust off old talents if the circumstances are right. Reviving old talents and playing in a small, informal band with friends or family is one possibility.

A retirement community seems like the perfect place where a group of people might get together to make music together in a more structured way – say as a singing ensemble or a little band.

An enterprising social director in a seniors community might even form a larger band – using regular musical instruments or simple ones such as whistles, harmonicas, and a variety of percussion items (drums, tambourines, shakers, wooden blocks, etc.)

Playing traditional musical instruments

Is it realistic to think that a person who is 70 or 80 years old might continue to play a traditional musical instrument like a keyboard, guitar or trumpet? Or could he or she learn an entirely new instrument – a keyboard, for instance, or a banjo, harmonica or even a saxophone or guitar?

Again, it depends on the circumstances a person finds herself in – in particular, her physical limitations. Many aging people have lost flexibility in their hands. They may have a sore back or hips that make it difficult to sit in positions required by some instruments. And often an older person has difficulty seeing or hearing.

If none of these things are holding a person back then why not go for it!

But there is always the question of motivation

Learning to play an instrument like a piano – even in the most basic way – has real benefits. It provides enjoyment, mental stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment. And that may be enough incentive to get you to take on (and stick with) a project like teaching yourself a musical instrument.

But playing for your own enjoyment is often not enough of an incentive to keep you going. Playing a musical instrument, or even singing in a small ensemble, almost inevitably involves the opportunity to perform for others – usually friends, family or fellow community residents.

In other words it is often just the prospect of performing for others that keeps musicians going. Taking music lessons when you are a child almost always involves a “recital” every now and then to display what you have learned. Without the recital practicing starts to seem pointless.

There is no reason to think it should be any different for a senior. My father played his violin in church for at least 50 years, and it was those “performances” that kept him interested in playing. When his faculties started to deteriorate and the invitations to play dried up, so did his interest in playing at all.

It is performances like this that provide the incentive to become better and to learn new material, or for an older person, to hold on to the skills they developed earlier in life.

So I would answer “Yes” to the question “Can a senior like me learn a new instrument?” It will give you enjoyment as well as mental and spiritual stimulation. And it will give you something meaningful to do with your time.

But don’t keep it to yourself. Play for friends and family. Join a group or form a band. Have fun being a musician, and share the joy with others.

 

How Does Music Affect Your Body and Mind?

Music is not just a set of sounds and rhythms. Its influence on the brain is much deeper than any other human experience. Keep on reading to know all truly enigmatic powers of music.

Music helps preterm babies

Preterm babies appear to experience less pain and feed more when listening to music, a recent study suggests. Experts led by Dr. Manoj Kumar of the University of Alberta, Canada, analyzed nine clinical trials and found that music had a beneficial effect on lessening pain for preterm babies undergoing painful procedures such as heel prick blood tests. It also appeared to benefit full-term babies during operations.

Premature infants have to stay longer under medical supervision to gain weight and get stronger. To accelerate this process, many hospitals fall back on calm, pleasant music. Canadian scientists discovered that music reduces pain sensitivity and improves the sucking reflex in such babies, contributing to the weight gain. Music is also a good way to get newborns off to sleep.

Music helps to recover from brain injuries

Many people experienced cerebral damage have speech and movement-related problems. As an alternative and effective treatment, doctors often recommend such patients to listen to good music to stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for these two functions. When people with neurological disorders caused by a stroke or Parkinson’s disease hear a musical beat, it helps them to regain a symmetrical walk and sense of equilibrium.

Music staves off the loss of hearing

Surely, music will not cure deafness but it really can prevent the loss of hearing. There was an experiment involving 163 people where 74 were musicians.

Participants were asked to pass some listening tests. Musicians heard the sounds better than non-musicians, and this difference gets more evident with aging. This means that a 70-year-old musician hears better than a 50-year-old non-musician, even in a noisy environment.

Music heals a broken heart

No, it is not about a cast-off love, but about a heart attack. The matter is music can help people recovering from a heart seizure or cardiac surgery by reducing blood pressure, slowing down the heartbeat rate, and relieving anxiety. Listening to the quality music evokes positive emotions, improves circulation, and expands blood vessels, thus, promoting quick rehabilitation of the whole cardiovascular system.

Use the power of upbeat songs you associate with positive memories, preferably from your more distant past when you felt safe, on top of your game, and happy. Avoid songs that even remotely pull you into the emotions of your breakup. Train your brain out of its funk by listening often and with intent.

 

You Can Take a Voice Lesson From Anywhere

No matter where you live, you can find and connect with a great voice trainer to help you develop your best performing voice. Online singing lessons are available with coaches who work on Skype, Facetime, and other popular platforms for voice training. You don’t have to commute. You don’t have to be hassled by bad weather or bad parking. Your coach or instructor comes to you online; it’s a total convenience, whether you’re at home or staying in a hotel while traveling. And you can do it all on your own schedule.

The Technology is Actually a Learning Tool

With the current high quality of Facetime and Skype and the state of the art in modern microphones, your online vocal coach can teach and help as well on the Internet as if you were together in the same room. Your coach can pick up on how you’re using your breath or whether you’re overly tense or too strained. All these things are detectable, right there on your computer or tablet. Technology becomes your friend, a friend you’ll be glad to have with you on your journey to developing your best voice.

You Can Save Your Lessons and Play Them Back

Even better, online singing lessons can be recorded and saved. If there’s a point on which you need more work, or something to which you need to pay more attention, it’s no problem. By recording all your work with your coach, you can go back for another look-or another listen! Your warmups, your backing tracks, everything you’ve done and everything that your instructor has covered with you, can be right at your fingertips for future reference. And it’s a great way to prepare for the next lesson, by having the previous one to review before you start.

Your Voice Coaching Enriches Your Life

When you’ve fully developed your talents to pursue a career, you’ll find that being in full command of your gift-in this case your voice-gives you a fuller, richer life. Making a living in the arts is not just a good profession, it’s good for you as a person. It will tap into your spirit and help you find your best, happiest possible self. It will give you a better relationship with other people and the world around you. It may even bring you a little admiration from others, which is never a bad thing. Your online vocal coach is there to create a program just for you to get you the results you’re looking for. You’ll become an authentic artist with highly marketable skills that may open up opportunities in life that you may never even have considered or thought possible. You never know until you make the commitment to your own excellence.

 

How To Improve Your Guitar Playing With Little Practice Time

Fact: Improving your guitar playing doesn’t require practicing for 3-5 hours every day. Here’s 3 ways to get better fast with limited practice time:

Plan Out Your Practice In Advance

Deciding what to practice moments before (or during) guitar practice leads to wasted time spent trying to think of what to work on. Planning your practice time in advance allows you to determine a plan for exactly which items to practice to reach specific goals. This way all you need to do is practice what you set out for yourself.

For example:

Week 1 –

Monday – Technique

Tuesday – Songwriting

Wednesday – Technique and Improvising

Thursday – Improvising

Friday – Technique

Saturday – Songwriting

Sunday – Rhythm Guitar/Fretboard Visualization

This also reduces the amount of mindless noodling and distraction that occurs when you are struggling to think of what to practice in the moment.

Practice Things That Improve Multiple Skills At Once

Not all practice items help you improve your overall guitar playing as efficiently as others. For example, practicing switching between open chords does not improve the same skills that practicing directional picking over scales does. Making your guitar practice time as productive as possible (when you don’t have much time) means spending the majority of it working on items that give you the most results at once.

Take the time to sit down and review all the different items you want to practice to find out: 1. Which ones improve the most variety of skills at once and 2. Which ones help you reach your musical goals fastest. Then plan your practice time around them.

Track Your Practice Closely

Don’t simply practice and hope that you are getting better. Track your results every week to determine which items are helping you get closer to your goals and which ones are not. Tracking your progress consistently also helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you don’t spend too much time on things you’ve already mastered (a common mistake made by many guitarists which wastes tons of time and slows down progress).

Applying all 3 of these concepts into your guitar practice helps you make tons of progress regardless of if you’re practicing 30 minutes per day or 3 hours.

However, there are more ways to make your guitar practice even more efficient and effective. Work together with a guitar teacher to get the best results possible from your practice.

 

New Forms of Music

This is a rundown of a portion of the world’s music kind and their definitions.

African Folk – Music held to be run of the mill of a country or ethnic gathering, known to all sections of its general public, and saved as a rule by oral custom.

Afro jazz – Refers to jazz music which has been vigorously affected by African music. The music took components of marabi, swing and American jazz and blended this into an interesting combination. The main band to truly accomplish this combination was the South African band Jazz Maniacs.

Afro-beat – Is a blend of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, intertwined with African percussion and vocal styles, promoted in Africa in the 1970s.

Afro-Pop – Afropop or Afro Pop is a term now and then used to allude to contemporary African popular music. The term does not allude to a particular style or sound, but rather is utilized as a general term to depict African well known music.

Apala – Originally got from the Yoruba individuals of Nigeria. It is a percussion-based style that created in the late 1930s, when it was utilized to wake admirers subsequent to fasting amid the Islamic blessed month of Ramadan.

Assiko – is a well known move from the South of Cameroon. The band is typically in light of an artist went with a guitar, and a percussionist playing the throbbing cadence of Assiko with metal blades and forks on a vacant jug.

Batuque – is a music and move sort from Cape Verde.

Twist Skin – is a sort of urban Cameroonian prevalent music. Kouchoum Mbada is the most surely understood gathering related with the class.

Benga – Is a melodic sort of Kenyan prevalent music. It developed between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.

Biguine – is a style of music that began in Martinique in the nineteenth century. By joining the customary bele music with the polka, the dark performers of Martinique made the biguine, which involves three unmistakable styles, the biguine de salon, the biguine de bal and the biguines de regret.

Bikutsi – is a melodic class from Cameroon. It created from the customary styles of the Beti, or Ewondo, individuals, who live around the city of Yaounde.

Bongo Flava – it has a blend of rap, hip bounce, and R&B first off yet these names don’t do it equity. It’s rap, hip bounce and R&B Tanzanian style: a major blend of tastes, history, culture and character.

Rhythm – is a specific arrangement of interims or harmonies that finishes an expression, segment, or bit of music.

Calypso – is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which began in Trinidad at about the begin of the twentieth century. The underlying foundations of the class lay in the entry of African slaves, who, not being permitted to talk with each other, conveyed through tune.

Chaabi – is a mainstream music of Morocco, fundamentally the same as the Algerian Rai.

Chimurenga – is a Zimbabwean mainstream music type instituted by and advanced by Thomas Mapfumo. Chimurenga is a Shona dialect word for battle.

Chouval Bwa – highlights percussion, bamboo woodwind, accordion, and wax-paper/brush sort kazoo. The music started among rustic Martinicans.

Christian Rap – is a type of rap which utilizes Christian subjects to express the lyricist’s confidence.

Coladeira – is a type of music in Cape Verde. Its component rises to funacola which is a blend of funanáa and coladera. Well known coladera performers incorporates Antoninho Travadinha.

Contemporary Christian – is a type of well known music which is expressively centered around issues worried about the Christian confidence.

Nation – is a mix of well known melodic structures initially found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It has establishes in conventional society music, Celtic music, blues, gospel music, hokum, and outdated music and advanced quickly in the 1920s.

Move Hall – is a sort of Jamaican well known music which created in the late 1970s, with examples, for example, Yellowman and Shabba Ranks. It is otherwise called bashment. The style is described by a DJ singing and toasting (or rapping) over crude and danceable music riddims.

 

A Guide To Reading Guitar Tabs

Are you new to guitars? If so, you may be wondering what those symbols on the guitar tabs mean. If you follow this guide, you will be able to play guitar well. As soon as you have build a strong grip on the basics, you will be able to understand the tabs as well. As a matter of fact, if you read tablature, you can easily understand the solos, chord patterns and melodic riffs. This can help you all types of songs. Read on.

Tablature vs. musical notation

Most guitarists don’t try to know the standard musical notation. The good news is with tab, there is no need to learn it either. Just like notation, you can read tablature from left to right. Actually, the vertical lines refer to the end of each bar so you can keep time. But the horizontal ones don’t refer to the strings of the guitar. Moreover, in standard tuning, you will see that the 6 lines are called E, A, D, G, B and E. They are read from the bottom to top.

Actually, each position of the finger is shown by a number on the horizontal lines. These numbers give a certain fret position. Let’s take an example. On the second line, a number 3 is an indicator of the note of D, and it has to be sounded at the fret on the B string. You won’t find an indicator for the notes length with tab. Therefore, there is no equivalent of a crotchet or quaver symbol. This problem can be addressed by ear. Another way is to listen to the recordings of the thing that you are trying to learn.

Chords

The numbers that start from the left and go all the way to the right on the tab are an indicator of a melody. If you see two or more numbers on top of each other, know that they refer to multiple strings or all of them. So, they should be played just like a chord. It is very easy. You just need to practice for a few minutes daily.

The down facing arrows over the tab mean that you should play a downward strum. On the other hand, the reverse means you should do upstrokes. This give you a pretty good idea of the rhythm.

Melody and other advanced techniques

Unlike chord patterns, you will take a bit more time to learn a melody. As a matter of fact, if you practice scales, you can easily determine which finger you should use when the tablature requires a fret position, especially if there you have to make a long reach.

Long story short, if you understand the above guide, you may want to follow these tips. Soon you will be able to play the guitar very well, and you won’t find it hard to understand the symbols and numbers. As a matter of fact, it all boils down the practice. With practice, you can learn the art very well. Hope you will find this guide helpful.