“It starts with a flutter of the eyelids, the brightening of a face. Heads begin to bob, toes to tap. ‘Was that Beethoven?’ a silver-haired gentleman wonders aloud,” writes Jennifer Karmarkar in Sunday’s (5/10) Orange County Register (California). “By the time the final soaring notes of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ are sounded 30 minutes later, many in the audience at South County Adult Day Service are singing along. The group of seniors and developmentally disabled adults are beneficiaries of a partnership between nonprofit Age Well Senior Services and the Pacific Symphony to bring music to adults with geriatric-related conditions. The program, a leg of the symphony’s Heartstrings outreach effort, consists of six informational concerts, performed by two symphony musicians…. The musicians—a flutist and a harpist—play easily recognized classics, incorporating scarves and small percussion instruments to encourage interaction.” Program Director Cathy Allen says, “ ‘Especially for individuals with cognitive impairments, music brings back memories of the past. It’s a way of communicating.’ … Age Well’s music therapist, Karen Skipper … says, ‘Music therapy isn’t about teaching people to sing or play an instrument. It’s about using the music to effect a change or improvement in some way.’ ”

Posted May 11, 2015