The intersection of music, wellness, and aging is understood as an integrated whole that not only reflects and speaks to our being but also to the transcendent concepts that define and direct us in life’s journey. Ultimately, we are moved toward a celebration of our lives and the lives of others. We understand that we are all connected in a broader universe that goes beyond our meager perception. We are a life in song. The overture begins even before we are born. Themes and variations then play throughout our lives. We become intertwined with others as they sing their songs of life, tell their stories, and sing of others. Music is an expression of our individual and collective experience. Our culture, community, personal hopes, dreams, and failures are manifest through music. We think about how we deal with ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, growth, decline and disability within the context of music, health, and our experience with aging. Music thus depicts the most essential aspects of who we are and provides a path to overcome the paradox of health and aging and to become a truly self-actualized person.
We both believe music goes with everything—and especially with reading this book! We also encourage you to look up the musicians and the songs that we discuss in the book, and to listen to that music as well. As you read the book, we hope that you will be inspired to dust off your old musical instrument and try playing it again; or to play with others more; or to find time to sing or hum an old song; or move to music as you dance or exercise; or, when it is safe to do so, attend a concert at an area school or community center where you live. In all these activities, we hope you discover and include music as part of your celebration of living!
Visit the authors’ YouTube channel for the listening guide to Music, Wellness, and Aging.
Featured image: This photo of drums, cymbal, and microphone connects with areas of the book that discuss the rhythms of music, and their effects on physiological processes, exercise, and therapeutic benefits, as well as social justice concerns of equality, mutual respect, personal dignity, and individual and communal autonomy. Further, at every age we find people “making music” as they tap their foot or drum along with the songs and musical sounds they hear. Thus, the drum is one of the most popular musical instruments — one that expresses rhythms of life that are universally known and understood, and whose sounds directs us onto pathways where we may discover new opportunities for self-expression and ways of becoming.