I recently attended an event led by an organization of young boys and girls aged 10-16 who share their musical talents with the elderly. This event, called “Movement”, took place at a nursing home in Beaverton Oregon. The young musicians played various classical pieces from Beethoven to Dvorak. When the event started, most of the seats in the room were empty, which I noticed with a little embarrassment for the musicians who were tuning their instruments in the hallways. Then, the cofounder of Movement delivered a short speech along with an introduction to the pieces that would be played.
As the first group began their playful duet by Mozart, the door creaked open and a few more people filed into the room, finding their seats quickly. I quietly watched the performances and the elderly people’s reactions. There were countless gasps in the audience at a particularly dramatic moment in the piece, and at the end of each musician’s performance,there was loud applause and even a few standing ovations. The people at the nursing home seemed surprisingly entertained, absolutely absorbed into the pieces. At the end of the event there was an earsplitting applause as the director of the nursing home stepped forward and gave the founders and the musicians of Movement an earnest word of thanks.
The elderly folk at the nursing home appeared to truly enjoy the event. I researched the effects of classical music on the senior citizens and found some interesting pieces of information. Various scientific studies directly related classical music to the health of the elderly. Music by composers such as Mozart seemed to have a correlation to the changes of waves in the brain, benefiting the memory of the senior listeners. In addition, there have been links between listening to Dvorak and high blood pressure. Interestingly enough, listening to classical music is recommended after heart surgeries, due to its maintaining blood pressure levels. Classical music is known to be calming and soothing to the elderly especially after surgeries, and is proved to significantly lower stress and bring about a peaceful feeling of happiness.
There is enough scientific evidence that there are benefits of classical music, though it sounds somewhat bizarre. Perhaps this is just another reason why classical music is so beloved and valued, even in our society today. Maybe the elderly folk at the nursing home
simply loved classical music because it was their favorite genre, or maybe it made them feel more relaxed and happy. Either way, it was a beautiful experience to see all of those smiles at Movement and the display of the unique musical talents of the younger generation.
Elyse Nah, Grade 9
Sunset High School