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Some of the resulting issues, such as the increasing costs of healthcare, housing, independence in lifestyle, and time issues of work and leisure activities, will force many to alter the way they live. The extraordinary costs of healthcare alone can be aided by preventive healthcare—proper nutrition, moderation, exercise, and recreation. Since Americans are living much longer and making healthier life choices, comprehensive planning for aging gracefully now becomes planning to live gracefully.

One way you can plan to live gracefully is participating in music activities, or Recreational Music Making (RMM). RMM refers to any form of music making that encompasses enjoyable, accessible, and fulfilling group activities that unite people of all ages regardless of their challenges, backgrounds, ethnicity, ability or prior experience.

The benefits of RMM extend far beyond music. Through musical expression, many people report a wide range of benefits, including an improved quality of life, improved health and happiness, and a general sense of accomplishment. The health benefits of RMM have been reported to include lower stress levels, more relaxation, and intellectual stimulation. RMM is especially beneficial to senior citizens. It has a duel benefit. People enjoy seeing great works of art and great musical performances, sculptures, poetry, dancing. All of these art forms are good for us, especially as we age. You can stimulate the brain through reading, composing, writing or performing, playing music—all of these activities are good for our aging brains. The more you use the brain, like a muscle, you exercise it, and it gets stronger.

The RMM movement is quickly spreading around the country as many people are taking action to make music an important component of their daily lives in a program that allows them to share music in a stress-free, enjoyable environment. The performing arts overall is a vital component to the whole range of therapies that we can employ to help people live better and improve the quality of their lives.

Everyone can benefit from music making from the beginning of life through the end. Piano, specifically, is the most accessible for most people and it’s easily taught in a group on the right equipment.  It’s unlike anything else. When you’re involved in that kind of musical endeavor, it’s just very special.

Many cities are now offering adult beginner RMM classes.  Some programs are expanding with classes for teens and preschoolers soon, as well as the popular “lead-line” reading for pop, jazz and church applications.

If you have always dreamed of playing an instrument, used to play when you were younger, have that desire to play again, or simply need a relaxing and fun activity as a release from everyday life, take an RMM adult class. Being able to play music is truly a gift we can give ourselves.

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Read more: Living Longer and Better Through Recreational Music Making

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