DR JENNIFER MACRITCHIE

Dr Jennifer MacRitchie is a Senior Research Fellow situated in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development at Western Sydney University. With a background in music, engineering and over 10 years working in cognitive science, Jennifer’s research focuses on the acquisition and development of motor skills in instrumental performance, and how these can be used to promote health and wellbeing. Studies range from looking at movements of novices to experts, from those who have studied music from a young age to those who are rediscovering music in retirement. Jennifer currently leads the Australian Research Council funded project Maintaining active minds and bodies through older adult music education as well as working with partners in aged care, music education, and local health districts to develop educational programmes and new music technologies.

ACTIVE MINDS MUSIC ENSEMBLE

DAY DATE MONTH | TIME

RUNNING GROUP MUSIC LESSONS FOR OLDER ADULTS IN-PERSON AND ONLINE

Our work aims to determine empirical evidence of the contribution of various elements of music education towards maintaining older adults’ cognitive skills. The Active Minds Ensemble is an ongoing longitudinal research project that provides 12 months of music instrument learning to over 65s in Sydney. During the 12-month period, all older adults experience learning the piano, and learning an electronic iPad-based instrument (Thumbjam). All instruction is by ear. Participants are taught in groups to play familiar and requested songs, as well as to improvise and create new material. This presentation will discuss teaching and older adults’ learning experiences with improvising, aural training, using technology (including moving online during the COVID-19 pandemic), and fulfilling their goals for learning to play music in later adulthood.

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