Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - In This Issue -

Maxx Mu­sic is launch­ing a new mu­sic pro­gram es­pe­cially for peo­ple over the age of 55 years. Ses­sions will be held in the mu­sic school and newly cre­ated Com­mu­nity Room both of which are con­ve­niently lo­cated in the heart of Rouse Hill Town Cen­tre.

Sally Baitch, Maxx Mu­sic’s Com­mu­nity Mu­sic Co­or­di­na­tor, has great plans for the pro­gram. Pre­vi­ously Head of Com­mu­nity and Adult Learn­ing at Sage Gateshead in the north of Eng­land, she is no stranger to find­ing way to in­volve peo­ple in mu­sic, even when they don’t know they want

to be in­volved. “Singing has al­ways played a big part in my life and I have seen how singing and play­ing an in­stru­ment, par­tic­u­larly as part of a group, can re­ally change peo­ple’s lives. I’ve met peo­ple in their six­ties and seven­ties, who haven’t sung since they were told they couldn’t at school. They were brave enough to come to one of our singing groups or events and dis­cov­ered that they could sing. Not only that, but it was fun and made them feel con­fi­dent, happy and part of some­thing amaz­ing.” She con­tin­ues, “When I moved to Rouse Hill al­most 3 years ago, I was very im­pressed by the amount and va­ri­ety of adult learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that were avail­able. How­ever, I no­ticed that there were very few mu­si­cal groups for peo­ple to join, and those that did ex­ist were took place at night which might stop some older peo­ple or those re­liant on pub­lic trans­port from tak­ing part. So I thought, why not try to cre­ate some fun, ac­ces­si­ble, mu­si­cal ac­tiv­i­ties as part of my role with Maxx Mu­sic?”

Lis­ten­ing to and par­tic­i­pat­ing in mu­sic has been proved to be very ben­e­fi­cial to the health and well­be­ing of ev­ery­one. How­ever, there are par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fits for se­niors, who may be fac­ing a va­ri­ety of life chang­ing sit­u­a­tions and chal­lenges such as re­tire­ment, poor health or be­reave­ment. The Sid­ney de Haan Cen­tre for Health and Well­be­ing has un­der­taken re­search into the ef­fects of be­ing part of a com­mu­nity choir for older peo­ple. There were sev­eral very

pos­i­tive key find­ings, in­clud­ing the health of those who were in the singing groups be­ing con­sis­tently bet­ter than that of the peo­ple who weren’t. This health im­prove­ment lasted for 3 months af­ter they stopped singing. Par­tic­i­pants in the singing groups also re­ported so­cial, emo­tional and phys­i­cal health ben­e­fits from tak­ing part. Peo­ple who had taken part in the singing groups were very pos­i­tive about their ex­pe­ri­ence, say­ing “I started my par­tic­i­pa­tion in this project just af­ter I re­tired from work and feel­ing a lit­tle anx­ious about fu­ture life. This project has been in­stru­men­tal in show­ing me there is life af­ter work” and “Af­ter ev­ery ses­sion I was very alert and charged up with the ‘feel good’ fac­tor.”

Ini­tially, the pro­gram will con­sist of a Se­niors Choir and a Se­nior Ukulele group, both of which will meet dur­ing the day and aim to be as much a so­cial oc­ca­sion as a mu­sic ses­sion. Both groups will be learn­ing fa­mil­iar mu­sic, with some sur­prises too. The groups will be suit­able for singers and mu­si­cians of all abil­i­ties, with ab­so­lute be­gin­ners be­ing par­tic­u­larly wel­come. The tu­tors prom­ise they will never make you sing or play on your own (un­less you re­ally want to!). There are am­bi­tions to grow the pro­gram to in­clude bands and other group op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as re­duced price 1-1 lessons for se­niors dur­ing the day.

The ukulele group will be led by Arthur On­g­ley, who founded Par­ra­matta and Hills Ukulele Net­work (PHUN) with his wife in 2008. They dis­cov­ered the ukulele whilst on hol­i­day in Hawaii and it has played a huge part in their lives ever since. Arthur has part­nered with Maxx Mu­sic a few times over the last year, most no­tably for Adult Learn­ers Week, as a re­sult of which he and his wife were in­vited onto Week­end Sun­rise to let the pre­sen­ters Have a Go. He de­scribes the ukulele as “a very

so­cia­ble in­stru­ment. It’s won­der­ful when peo­ple get to­gether and all play ukulele.” For Maxx Mu­sic, their ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship with Arthur, and the suit­abil­ity of the ukulele as an in­stru­ment for peo­ple who haven’t played any­thing be­fore, made it a clear choice to be one of the pro­gram’s first groups. Ben Finn, owner of Maxx Mu­sic says “The ukulele is a great in­stru­ment to try. It is a happy in­stru­ment, af­ford­able, small enough to take any­where, and it is one of the eas­i­est in­stru­ments to get started on. It’s also a great work­out for your fin­gers, help­ing to keep them flex­i­ble

and mo­bile.” Maxx Mu­sic even have some ukule­les avail­able for you to use dur­ing your first class if you’d like to try be­fore you buy!

The choir will be led by John-Paul Turner, an ex­pe­ri­enced singer and pas­sion­ate vo­cal leader. As well as the choir, he will be help­ing aspir­ing singers to dis­cover the singing voices they never knew they had at three stand alone “Find Your Voice” ses­sions which will be held in June and are suit­able for any­one and ev­ery­one.

To find out more about the Se­niors Pro­gram and other mu­si­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties be­ing of­fered by Maxx Mu­sic, visit the Com­mu­nity Mu­sic page on their web­site www. maxxmu­, or call Sally on (02) 8882 9491 Class times and prices: Se­nior Ukulele Group Starts Thurs­day 25 May 1-2pm $50 for 5 week term ($40 for NSW Se­nior Card hold­ers) $12 per class ($10 for NSW Se­nior Card hold­ers) Se­nior Choir Starts Tues­day 30 May 1-2.30pm $50 for 5 week term ($40 for NSW Se­nior Card hold­ers)* *To en­able the choir to progress and de­velop we are ask­ing for a min­i­mum 5 week com­mit­ment. Find Your Voice Satur­day 17 June 10.30-12.30pm Tues­day 20 June 7pm-9pm Satur­day 24 June 10.30am-12.30pm $7

Classes will be held in Maxx Mu­sic Les­son Cen­tral, Rouse Hill Town Cen­tre un­til the Com­mu­nity Room opens in mid-July

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