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Monday, November 12, 2012

Music as fireworks

I was at a conference on Healthy Ageing. Healthy Ageing is one of the main themes of the university I work for and the region I work in, and hence one of the three research strands our research group concentrates on. So I presented some of our projects on music and elderly people to an audience of people not working in music.

I started my presentation with a very short video made by an art student in one of our projects. The project was about learning to play an instrument at an advanced age. We asked the art student to make independent work which would show his interpretation of our work. He came up with short video's, close-ups of faces of elderly music learners while they were listening to a recording of their own playing. Nothing much happens: you hear the music, you see the face reacting. Great work, to me.

Afterwards I spoke with a man deep into the healthy ageing-topic. He told me he often showed the trailer of "Young at Heart", the documentary about a senior rock choir, in presentations. Man, that worked well! Actually, he thought, I should have done that rather than showing a video in which nothing happened.

I saw his point. I love "Young at Heart", and indeed the trailer is gripping stuff. But when, somewhat later, he explained that Young at Heart was so great because one of the singers could, since the time he was singing in the chooir, cut back on the amount of oxygene bottles needed to live his life - now there's an effective intervention for you - I decided to keep using the video I used.

Fireworks are great, on occasion, and music sometimes is like firework. But I prefer to convey the idea that  for many people most of the time music is rather like a bit of candlelight.

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