Music Uniting Students and Elders
Music is a language that is understood across all culturally-created boundaries. Music has the ability to lift spirits, lessen pain, and unite the worst of enemies. The MUSE program unites musicians from the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the elderly in residential facilities in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties in Maine . MUSE further provides the opportunity for local youth to participate in these events through their schools and other programs. These events help breakdown the boundaries across the ages, dispel the myths of aging, teach the wonders of music, and most of all provide an unforgettably wonderful time!
For too long elders have been segregated into isolated, self-contained homes and pushed out of the main stream of society. New ways to integrate young and old are needed to re-establish continuity and connectedness to our communities. For some who are unable to leave their residences to participate in community life, this program will provide an opportunity to not only enjoy a cultural event, but also have the experience enriched by sharing it with young people. Conversely, students will benefit from the intellectual and emotional development provided by arts education and the opportunity to have meaningful shared experiences with elders.
The following curriculum is recommended for children 5 years of age and older or children in 1 st - 5 th grade. The purpose of the curriculum is to act as a catalyst for discussing aging, to dispel the myths of aging, to provide an opportunity to connect generations, and for youth to share with others their experiences, ancestry and family traditions. Furthermore, this curriculum allows for youth to connect with elders in their community. The participants will have the opportunity to learn personal history and visit with an elder who may not have family near by. This activity is a form of community service and can instill the importance and the value of volunteerism and social capital. Lastly, one may find a friend for life.
The presentation of this material may induce strong emotions from the participants as discussions of aging, sickness, and death, may arise. We recommend that you notify your school counselor of your participation in this program prior to program commencement in case of a child's need for further support. It may be appropriate to invite your school counselor to attend class during the days that this curriculum is covered in order to aid in discussion facilitation and student support.
1) Choose a book from the book list.
2) Select a series of days to host the MUSE curriculum that has close proximity to a scheduled MUSE event.
3) Contact the MUSE coordinator in order to finalize event dates and times. Allow at least 1 hour per MUSE curriculum day. One the days which a MUSE event occurs, please allow 3 hours.
4) Begin Curriculum.
NOTE: Curriculum is not restricted to consecutive days. However, it is recommended for consistency and an optimum learning environment to host each MUSE curriculum day within a few days of the last. Day 5 of the curriculum is on-going and not necessarily one that occurs a few days after Day 4 of the curriculum.
• Establish an E-Pal connection with the elder facility
(E-pals is similar to pen-pals except the communication is primarily done through e-mail. Each group of students participating in the MUSE youth curriculum will e-mail a group of residents at the facility where they attended the MUSE event. This communication will continue back and forth until it no longer is satisfying for both parties. We recommend that e-pal communication occur at least at least once a week. Please set up the e-pal program with the Activity Director at the facility that you visit for MUSE immediately following the event. The youth can e-mail the older adults as soon as they return to school so that the friendship connections are still fresh. You may need to set up a new e-mail account within your school just for this purpose.)
• Once/week email elder facility as a class