Wintergreen hopes to offer music class for seniors

17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Wintergreen Arts Center is working to raise funds so it can offer a unique music class for adults and senior citizens this fall.
Leilani Mortland came up with the idea while teaching “Musical Munchkins,” an early childhood music class at the Wintergreen Arts Center. It occurred to her that adults and senior citizens would also enjoy and benefit from a musical education course.     If the fund-raising effort is successful, Mortland will be teaching an introductory Tone Chime Choir class to any adult who would like the experience of making beautiful music in an ensemble. Tone chimes are hand-held instruments similar to handbells. They produce a brilliant sound and they are easy to learn and play. The Tone Chime Choir class will offer a unique choice to seniors who want to get together with other adults, learn a new skill, and entertain others with music not commonly heard in Aroostook County.
Recreational music making is a fun way for older adults to stimulate one’s body, mind and spirit, and provide opportunities for social interaction and bonding in a group setting. Studies show that participation in musical activity carries significant wellness benefits for older adults. Gene Cohen, M.D., PhD. found that “music-making seniors actually showed significant improvement in categories such as falls, social interaction and overall health, where we might have expected only to slow the decline in these areas.”
These findings reflect the changes in thinking that Cohen describes in “The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life” (William Morrow & Company, 2000) and “The Mature Mind” (Basic Books). This new research indicates that old age, once considered a period of decline and difficulty, is actually a period of creativity and new potential in the human lifespan. Cohen notes that old age does not cause medical, emotional and social problems, but that these problems can be controlled with interventions that should include active participation in music and the arts.
Fund-raising efforts are under way to raise the $700 that will be needed to purchase a 2-octave tone chime set. The fund-raising effort will include a Pampered Chef Cooking Show Aug. 25, a grant application, and donations from the community.
The Wintergreen Arts Center was established in 2006. Its mission is to provide an atmosphere rich in the creative arts for the residents of and visitors to Aroostook County.
For more information, visit www.wintergreenarts.org or contact Lara Cannon at 207-551-0936.