‘Musicians In Health’ Gets Coffs Coast Seniors And Carers Moving And Grooving Online

Bonnie Nilsson conducts music therapy sessions for seniors and carers. Photo: supplied.


AN Arts Mid North Coast initiative called ‘Musicians in Health’ kicked off this week, offering online music programs to seniors and carer support networks on the Coffs Coast.

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A previous program, called ‘Musicians in Hospitals’, involved twelve local musicians performing in hospital foyers, in wards and at bedsides to lift the spirits of patients, their families and staff.

COVID-19 necessitated a re-think, so the new program has gone online.

The program runs for 40 sessions over 13 weeks and is funded by the Coffs Harbour City Council’s Arts and Cultural program.

Monday sessions are called ‘Sing your heart out’.

Due to time lags in video conferencing, participants cannot sing in time with performers, so they mute their microphones and sing along in their home to the musicians performing ‘golden oldies’ from the ‘40’s, ‘50’s ‘60’s on Zoom.

Wednesday sessions are called ‘Sing it move it use it’ and music therapist Bonnie Nilsson uses songs, vocal exercises, movement and rhythm to improve participants’ physical and mental health.

Friday is ‘The Listening Room’ and participants can sit back and listen to world music performances such as Italian folk songs, Macedonian songs on bouzouki, and Hawaiian and Australian songs on ukulele.

As well as individual participants, the Coffs Harbour Support Services choir group took part in the first session and an aged care facility intends to stream Wednesday’s session to their recreation room.

Participants are surveyed at the end of each session about enjoyment of the program to build a case for different funding at the end of this program.

Interested people can email [email protected] or call 0421 346 713 for more information.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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