The Role of Music in Senior Citizens’ Lives

This chapter serves to further illuminate the role of music in the lives of the music participants and nonparticipants who took part in the focus group phase of the study. Specifically, their perceptions of the benefits of music participation are explored, as aligned with our definition of music participation as participation in organized musical groups that rehearsed regularly. Additionally, even though music listening was not included in our definition of music participation, it played an important role in the lives of focus group members and was viewed as a means of active music participation by some, especially the nonparticipants. Hence, perceptions of the benefits of music listening are included here as well in a separate section. As in chapter 4, focus group members’ own words are shared to more richly illustrate the findings. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of (a) emergent similarities and differences between participant and nonparticipant groups, (b) the role of music in their quality of life, and (c) the relationship of these data to the survey findings presented in chapter 3. Because music participants were much more involved in music throughout their lives than nonparticipants, it is plausible that the preponderance of data in this chapter comes from them.

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