Dublin orchestra for older musicians, promoting social connectedness

Posted on: May 5, 2016

In Tuesday’s (5/3) Irish Times (Dublin), Sylvia Thompson previews a May 10 concert at Dublin’s National Concert Hall featuring Blow the Dust, an orchestra “of older musicians … taking up their instruments again to get the mental and physical benefits of music…. [They] will perform … at the NCH as part of the Bealtaine Festival for Older People. The project started seven years ago as a once-off initiative to encourage older people to play instruments they had abandoned years earlier. The musicians … had such fun that they weren’t prepared to abandon their instruments again and many others have joined them since…. Dennis O’Callaghan (90) from Goatstown, Dublin … has been playing the violin with the orchestra since it started…. ‘My wife died eight years ago and I’ve taken it on intensely since then. I might have a 90-year-old body but I’ve a significantly younger brain. Learning new pieces of music keeps my brain active,’ he says…. The health benefits of playing a musical instrument are significant, especially for older adults, says psychiatrist Philip Dodd, a member of the World Doctors Orchestra. ‘It’s about the social connectedness that music creates…. Studies have shown that playing a musical instrument changes the brain chemistry, creating a greater sense of wellbeing.’ ”

Posted May 5, 2016