Generous donor funds music therapy at SPRINT Senior Care’s Adult Day Program

On a recent Wednesday, music therapist Dave had feet tapping, hands clapping and voices singing at our Adult Day Program (ADP).

It’s a new weekly class where seniors gather to express themselves in a different way – through music. Dave, equipped with a guitar, passed out tambourines, shakers, sticks and drums to participants. He then led them in rousing versions of  “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” and “Hit the Road Jack.”

“It’s one of the best classes you can go to,” according to ADP client Ada, who says that singing and playing instruments makes her feel warm inside.

This new and engaging music therapy program was made possible through a generous donation from the Lorraine Johnston Foundation. 

Music therapy differs from a typical music class in that the instructor comes in with goals for participants based on their needs or strengths. These goals could be social, such as encouraging verbal expression, or movement-based. “I’ve gotten to know each client, so I form goals with each client. I know how the music reaches them,” says Dave, an accredited music therapist with Miya Music Therapy. “I’m not just singing with everybody – I’m watching how people are singing and going with what they do, and responding to changes.”

During a rendition of “Twist and Shout,” the instructor encouraged the seniors to move their egg shakers along with the song’s rhythm, from the floor all the way to a high stretch. Later, when one client began to sing on her own, he strummed his guitar along to encourage the improvisation. “I love to be able to ask the clients what they like and what they want to do,” he says.