Whitney Hale

By

College: Fine Arts

88 Keys to a Better Adult Experience

Published: Aug 19, 2013

See video

A transcript of this video can be found here. Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2013) — Through tickling the ivories a group of adults over the age of 50 at the University of Kentucky are learning ways to enhance their personal relationships and relieve anxiety and stress all while advancing their skills on the piano. Through the new recreational outreach music making program mUsiKcare, UK School of Music faculty aim to enhance student training, wellness and community engagement through weekly piano classes.

 

Musical participation has been shown to provide both musical and non-musical benefits. Studies suggest that music can enhance cognitive functioning, reduce stress and provide valuable social support. Musical participation has also been shown to improve mood and decrease anxiety and even decrease burnout.

 

In light of the health benefits of recreational music making, Lori Gooding, director of UK Music Therapy; Vicki McVay, director of the UK Piano Preparatory Program, and Olivia Yinger, assistant professor of music therapy, have developed mUsiKcare with the financial support of a $35,000 grant from AARP to evaluate the impacts of the piano classes on socialization.

 

"The research tells us that being actively engaged in music making can improve people's health. It suggests that making music can alter our response to stress, and may even improve memory as we age," said Gooding, noting 2005 research by Dr. Barry Bittman, of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, and 2013 research presented at the International Alzheimer’s Association Conference by Erin Abner on behalf of UK researchers from UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Music Therapy program. "One of the things we wanted to incorporate in this class is socialization, because we know that being part of a group is important for their overall health and well-being. It is important cognitively and it is important socially. It's something we wanted to actively engage them in and is why we chose to have piano classes and not individual piano lessons."

 

The 10-week piano-based workshop emphasizes musical learning, group support and quality of life enhancement. Currently open to individuals ages 50 and over, the program utilizes technology, wellness strategies and learning methods geared specifically toward adult learners. Classes are one hour in length and limited to six people per class based on the piano equipment utilized in the course.

 

Librarian and Professor Reinette Jones, of UK Libraries, was among the first class of students in mUsiKcare who found the group lesson atmosphere very appealing. "What I like about it here is that there are other people playing at the same time, at about the same level, and it's not all focused on me. And we have fun, I like the aspect of having fun, and playing for your own personal pleasure. I love it."

 

And while the classes are open to beginners, participants get to enjoy their progress at an advanced rate. Set up for success with the aid of Yamaha CVP clavinova digital pianos, students hear what they are playing accompanied by an orchestra of sounds which helps fill in lapses in the performances until the player becomes more skilled. They can also follow lights on the keyboard, which will help them follow along with a new song.

 

"The program is multi-faceted and meets the expressive needs of the older adult learner. From the first day participants are 'hands-on' and actively learning by doing while enjoying the beautiful music they are making."

 

Classes begin with relaxation exercises and include not only lessons in learning to play the piano, but music theory lessons, drum circle participation, moments for improvisation, and the opportunity to accompany others on an instrument, skills that aren't often learned at such an early stage in music courses.

 

"They are learning and developing fundamental skills in music theory, they're getting aural theory, as well as traditional rudiments of theory. They are 'doing' everything from scales, to harmony, to rhythmic work. The program definitely encompasses music theory but it does so simultaneously (i.e. by connecting the familiar to the new) and actively (which minimizes memorization, etc.)," said McVay.

 

Playing music is also helping individuals with other physical and mental skills in addition to expanding a talent. "We know that staying actively engaged is one of the keys to cognitive health as we age. Music making pulls from sensory, motor and multimodal integrative regions of the brain. Playing an instrument requires reading notation, fine motor skills, memorization…it truly places unique demands on the brain," said Gooding, noting the 2010 research of Catherine Y. Wan and Gottfried Schlaug published in The Neuroscientist. "Playing an instrument also gives students the opportunity to disconnect from life stressors and relieve anxiety."

 

In addition to helping fill out the sound, the equipment and class also can accommodate those with impaired vision and other physical disabilities. Gooding and McVay hope to see the program and the curriculum they are developing to eventually target not only advanced older adult learners but even classes of caretakers, disabled veterans and children with physical impairments through modifications to lessons and the addition of other musical therapy programming for ill family members to participate in during class time.

 

"The technology allows us to focus on specific skill sets. We have ways to utilize the technology to guide them. Say a student didn't have one of their hands, or missing fingers or vision problems, or are maybe in a wheelchair, it allows us to manipulate the instrument to meet the student where they are and be successful--to enjoy making music with a community of learners, doers, and explorers," McVay said.

 

Gooding agreed the technology helps a myriad of different kinds of learners. "This equipment is truly a blessing when it comes to having needs in terms of playing an instrument. Because it has the ability to present the information in more than one mode, so you can hear it, you can see it, you can physically do that, that's going to increase the chances of you actually learning and learning more effectively."

 

As for finding the value in the class for caretakers, student Deb Martin, a retired neo-natal clinical nurse at Kentucky Children's Hospital, is already recognizing the benefits. "It is a stress reliever. I'm a long distance caregiver for my mother, which is a tough thing, so this is a nice outlet for me."

 

UK students will also benefit from mUsiKcare by both aiding in teaching and studying the group class dynamics. Music education, music performance and music therapy students will all get to participate. They will get to see how different people learn and what are the most effective and appropriate ways they can help students reach their goals.

 

Registration for the fall session of mUsiKcare is fast approaching. The cost to participate in the program is $225 per individual (including a $25 non-refundable registration/materials fee). Some partial or full tuition waivers are available to individuals interested in participating in the new program.

 

Beginning group piano classes will be held in the Fine Arts Building starting in early October. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority registration for UK employees ends Sept. 17. All others must register by Sept. 24. In addition to beginners' courses, an advanced course will be offered to the class of students that completed the summer course of mUsiKcare. Registrants will be contacted to determine the final schedule. To register or for more info on tuition waiver opportunities related to mUsiKcare, contact Vicki McVay at vicki.mcvay@uky.edu or 859-257-2863.

 

UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

img_5455.jpgimg_5459.jpgimg_5461.jpg
File Downloads
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
UK Working Moms Connection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Minority Student Welcome
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Jackass 3
LNFS Presents: Godzilla
Pedalpalooza
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Last Day to Drop a Course with 100% Refund
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Rec 'N Roll 2014
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
LNFS Presents: Jurassic Park
First Day of Classes
Campus Outreach
Opening Act: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Her
LNFS Presents: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
LNFS Presents: Team America: World Police
Pills and Pizza
K Week Event: Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Neighbors
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 22
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament 08/22/2014
Reset Page