Music to Relieve Senior Isolation
After decades of bringing our Peabody-awarding winning classical music to radio in Indianapolis, in 2015 Classical Music Indy began Music Unites, a suite of dynamic, progressive, and innovative programs that are both accessible to and reflective of our diverse communities. This combination of radio and community programs allows Classical Music Indy to impact 4.5 million Hoosiers on-air and 10,000 community members with live classical performances each year.
One Music Unites program, Senior Series, aims to bring music directly to residents of nursing homes and assisted living centers in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas. Many residents in these facilities have financial or travel limitations that prevent regular attendance at live concert events. By providing classical music to under-served facilities whose residents would not normally be able to experience live performances, we are giving those in need a chance to feel the joy of live music several times per year.
A typical Classical Music Indy Senior Series begins with the musicians and staff arriving early to set up in the facility, usually in the lobby. Smiling residents greet the musicians and are eager for the music to begin. While the musicians say hello to familiar faces and start to warm up, Classical Music Indy staff check in with facility staff to make sure all the residents and musicians have what they need to enjoy the performance.
Once residents are seated and comfortable, the musicians give a brief verbal introduction to the music. Although a small detail, providing spoken communication about the history of the music makes a difference in the overall experience. Whenever possible, senior classical music performers play for senior audiences, to enhance community connections. Our Senior Series isn’t just a performance; it’s also a conversation – a way for seniors to escape feelings of isolation and a way for musicians to feel connected to their audience.
The music performed consists of well-known classical pieces, familiar jazz-standards, and hidden classical gems. In between pieces, musicians and residents often briefly discuss what makes each piece special. These impromptu discussions enhance the residents’ connection to the music and provide an engaging learning opportunity.
One of the other special aspects of the Senior Series is the incorporation of activities into the music. A favorite game to play with residents is “Name That Tune.” Musicians bring in recognizable pieces and have residents guess the name of the tune after they are done performing it. This fun little game gets everyone enjoying the music and reminiscing about the good ol’ days!
Classical Music Indy will provide 50 Senior Series performances at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in 2017, which is made possible by the generous supports of local foundations and granting organizations. If you would like to support the Senior Series, please go here.