4 Ways to Bring Music into Your Days

4 Ways to Bring Music into Your Days

4 Ways to Bring Music into Your Days

The Music Man Foundation

By Sarah Lyding, Executive Director of The Music Man Foundation


For all of us who smile when we hear our favorite song, or turn to sad music when we’re feeling low, we understand the power of music. But the fact is that the benefits of music go beyond changing our mood. When people listen, play, or dance to music, they experience a range of benefits to their health and wellbeing.


As the executive director of The Music Man Foundation, I spend my time working to bring music to more people in impactful ways. Our Foundation partners with organizations that are permanently changing the way music is embedded in our schools, health care systems, and communities. We’re laser-focused on this because we’ve seen the research that supports music’s potential to improve lives.


For older adults, studies show that music can sharpen the mind, improve memory and focus, reduce stress, and help with depression. Research even shows that participation in the arts strengthens social ties and increases tolerance for others.


Here are a few ways older adults can incorporate music into daily activities:


  1. Dance or move to music

Dancing and moving to music is great exercise and relieves stress. Put on some favorite “oldies” – even just five minutes of movement can have health benefits.


  1. Watch musicals (and sing along!)

We love The Music Man and The Unsinkable Molly Brown by Meredith Willson, in whose honor The Music Man Foundation was established. Hamilton, Singin’ in the Rain and West Side Story (both the original and the remake) are also great options.


  1. Look for free concerts

Many cities, museums, schools and universities offer free concerts. Connect with friends and family while enjoying a variety of music genres. An added benefit – listening to new kinds of music engages the brain in different ways.


  1. Pick up a musical instrument

This might seem intimidating, but a new study shows that learning to play an instrument as an adult can strengthen your mind, help your ability to hear in noisy situations, and prevent cognitive decline. Search for free instrument lessons on YouTube.

At the Foundation, we know that music is an incredible force for good for people of all ages, and for families, neighborhoods and even entire cities. This is why we partner with organizations working to bring the benefits of music to our health care system, public schools, justice system, and to older adults.

These tips are just a starting point to add music to daily routines to feel better and see improvements to mood, health and relationships!


Sarah Lyding is executive director of The Music Man Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charitable foundation that has invested over $22 million in more than 80 nonprofits that are working to bring music to more people. The Music Man Foundation, named after the Tony-winning musical written by Meredith Willson, was started by Meredith’s wife Rosemary Wilson. In addition to The Music Man, Meredith Willson wrote the music and lyrics for the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and beloved songs It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas and the University of Iowa fight song.

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