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Fitness sessions with live music, adjusted for three different populations

How do we design and modify our sessions with a fitness leader for different populations? For comparison, we describe three events: one for special needs students, one for a senior residence, and one for a dementia unit, where in each case two musicians play and a fitness instructor leads exercises. Note the difference in goals and what the musicians do differently. In each case the music and activities we choose need to coordinate with what the fitness leader’s goals are for the …

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Adjusting the special needs playlist from two to three players

The setting: For July 3, 4:30 p.m. This was a session with two string players, in the meditation building at an away special needs camp. All campers in attendance were over 21, ranging in age 21-70 plus. They were mostly new campers, hot and tired on the second day of camp. They had a wide range of ability to process. They were excited and attentive but beginning to flag. Many were in wheelchairs. Questions: What adjustments to the time of day and …

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A session with an early Alzheimer’s study group

The presenters were one staff member and one musician. Before we identified what we would do for this group, we asked the organizers for information about the participants. So this is what we knew: They hadn’t done movement to music. They really respond to rounds, becoming more aware of the group and interacting more, which makes them feel more connected and less isolated. They like recognizing songs. They have trouble putting responses into words, similar to those with dementia. They respond well …

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An Orchestral Musician’s View of Community Engagement

  Note: This article was first published in Arts Journal as a guest blog for Doug Borwick August 8 and August 15, 2018 Over the past twenty years I have played for children and adults with special needs, dementia patients, hospitalized children, grieving parents, and veterans in rehab and hospice. The number of musicians ranged from one to a hundred players. Audiences varied from ten people to thirty-five thousand. Some events were onetime only. Some were a series of interactions over a …

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