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Carol Porter: A Doctoral Student With Seniors on Her Mind

Developing music programs for adults is a new frontier for music educators. Carol Porter, a doctoral student working with Professor Hal Abeles of the Department of Arts and Humanities is attempting to break the myth that older adults cannot learn music.

Developing music programs for adults is a new frontier for music educators. Carol Porter, a doctoral student working with Professor Hal Abeles of the Department of Arts and Humanities is attempting to break the myth that older adults cannot learn music.

There seems to be a perception among older adults (65 and older) that they are too old to play music. Changing this perception will require a large number of positive examples, Porter said.

"Active participation in music fills important needs for adults-the need for challenging intellectual activity, the need to be a contributing member of a group, and the need to have exciting events in the future," Porter added.

Asked why she wants to start an older adult band, Porter said, "The band is not part of my dissertation. My dissertation is focused on teaching senior adults to play piano. It's a method called Text Notation, but I'm just interested in working with senior adults in my career. I see it as both volunteerism and professional development."

"I mentioned the idea to my advisor, Dr. Abeles, and he encouraged me. I started out by just printing out a generic flyer, which he posted in the music office, to search for a director for the band, or volunteers. I wanted to make sure that the people who get involved with this project are really sincere."

"The emphasis will be on bonding, creating community, and providing an outlet for this age group. I should mention that there is a movement out there called the ‘Music Making and Wellness Movement,' which says that music making provides health benefits to older adults."

"We're calling our band the Senior Citizens Band of Morningside, so there's no doubt who we are," said Porter.

Published Monday, May. 20, 2002

Carol Porter: A Doctoral Student With Seniors on Her Mind

Developing music programs for adults is a new frontier for music educators. Carol Porter, a doctoral student working with Professor Hal Abeles of the Department of Arts and Humanities is attempting to break the myth that older adults cannot learn music.

There seems to be a perception among older adults (65 and older) that they are too old to play music. Changing this perception will require a large number of positive examples, Porter said.

"Active participation in music fills important needs for adults-the need for challenging intellectual activity, the need to be a contributing member of a group, and the need to have exciting events in the future," Porter added.

Asked why she wants to start an older adult band, Porter said, "The band is not part of my dissertation. My dissertation is focused on teaching senior adults to play piano. It's a method called Text Notation, but I'm just interested in working with senior adults in my career. I see it as both volunteerism and professional development."

"I mentioned the idea to my advisor, Dr. Abeles, and he encouraged me. I started out by just printing out a generic flyer, which he posted in the music office, to search for a director for the band, or volunteers. I wanted to make sure that the people who get involved with this project are really sincere."

"The emphasis will be on bonding, creating community, and providing an outlet for this age group. I should mention that there is a movement out there called the ‘Music Making and Wellness Movement,' which says that music making provides health benefits to older adults."

"We're calling our band the Senior Citizens Band of Morningside, so there's no doubt who we are," said Porter.

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