DR ANTHONY CHMIEL &
Dr. Anthony Chmiel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, which is a psychology-based research institute within Western Sydney University. Anthony’s research in music and cognitive psychology focuses on aesthetics/preference, emotions, ageing, education, wellbeing, and computation. He has published in leading journals such Psychology of Music, Musicae Scientiae, Frontiers in Psychology, and Journal of Voice. At MARCS, Anthony helps run the Active Minds Music Ensemble, which is a music education program for older adult novices that is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).
Patrick O'Donnell is a Sydney-based music teacher who has been teaching individual and group lessons in a variety of settings since 1985. Since August 2019 he has led face-to-face and online group music lessons for the MARCS Active Minds Music Ensemble.
Having completed a Bachelor of Music Education, Patrick gained Associate Diplomas with Trinity College London, Yamaha Music Foundation and AMEB. After several years teaching in Secondary Schools as both a classroom and peripatetic piano and theory teacher, he was Assistant Principal of the Amadeus School of Music for three years. Following this, he began teaching at the Southside Yamaha Music School, conducting class and solo lessons in keyboard, musicianship and composition. Since 2004, he has focused on teaching in his own private studio.
ACTIVE MINDS MUSIC ENSEMBLE
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.