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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Night Owl Teaching Seniors to Play Instruments? (23) RE: Teaching Seniors to Play Instruments? 17 Sep 02


I guess when I read Peter's 1st post, I ignored the word "senior" and focused on "Nursing Home"...and am thinking of patients I've worked with playing music....the youngest was 34 yrs. and had the same illness that Woody Guthrie had (which escapes me right now.) Nursing Homes, sad to say, also have young children living in them, because they require 24 hr care.
I'm certainly NO "expert", but have enjoyed troubleshooting and playing around with different ways to help patients actively make their own music.

The one thing the "terminal" residents have in common is a short time remaining in their lives, and they're totally dependent on the nursing staff. Hospice has a wonderful motto here......"Dying is NO reason to stop living."

Don, I agree with you wholeheartedly....and apologize if I said ANYTHING that added to "preconceptions". bg

I may have misread the population you're working with Peter, but one of the things I like about BOTH the Dulcimer and the Autoharp, is that they both can be played as simple or as complicated as you wish.....and both lend themselves to modifying the way they're played to suit the patients ability....physically or mentally.

I think the Dulcimer is more fragile and requires more finger dexterity than the Autoharp....BUT you can C-clamp four pieces of wood beside the top and bottom or "Bunji-chord" the Dulcimer to a bedside table, so that the player doesn't have to worry about holding/balancing it. (If you C-clamp, make sure you protect the wood of the Dulcimer.) I think anyone you're working with, who has a piano background, would EASILY pick out tunes on the Dulcimer.

I also would be a bit cautious about using wind instruments until you check with the medical staff in the Nursing Home. For some it would be helpful,.....for others it could be harmful.....just depends.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried a Ukelele??? Am I right that it has four strings and easy chording??


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