The Power of Music in the Lives of Older Adults


Research Studies in Music Education




A compelling body of research demonstrates that music continues to offer powerful potential for enhancing health and well-being in old age. Active music-making has been found to provide a source of enhanced social cohesion, enjoyment, personal development, and empowerment, and to contribute to recovery from depression and maintenance of personal well-being throughout these latter stages of adult life. Within a context where life expectancy at age 65 years is rising rapidly and yet where increasing numbers of older people are reported to be living in isolation or suffering from depression, this body of research has important implications for understanding how access to active music-making may enhance the lives of older people. This article reviews a body of literature relating to specific benefits of active participation in music-making amongst older people. A case study is presented, illustrating some of the key points from the literature. Some barriers to participation are identified and implications for older people and their carers are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Depression; Elderly; Engagement Level; Mental Health; Psychological Outcomes; Quality of Life; Recreative Music Methods; Social Isolation; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

older adults; social cohesion; enjoyment; well being; empowerment; Aging; Pleasure; Social Behavior

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers

Document Type