Friday, April 15, 2011

Generations Unite for Music

Music plays an important part in our lives. From the moment we are born, we learn with the help of music. It’s been proven that young children develop through music. And today we even learn the alphabet by singing. Studies have shown that senior citizens can benefit from music as well. Music can give us a happier outlook on life. It can also help seniors with concentration and awareness, improve memory, and may also increase mobility and coordination.

On April 5th I visited an outreach concert at the Hamilton Madison City Hall in Manhattan. Founder and executive director of Concerts in Motion, Jennifer Finn, together with Suzuki Music teacher Jenny Pham, worked hard to make this event happen. Children from the ages 2 – 6 years old were invited to perform in a concert for the visitors at the center. In return, some seniors would perform for the children.

Jenny Pham and Jennifer Finn

Concerts in Motion, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2009. It provides private and group concerts performed by professional musicians alongside musically talented young people from New York City. I wanted to know how Jenny came up with the idea for Concerts in Motion. She told me that she used to work as a professional opera singer. Before an audition, she would often go to practice and perform the song at nursing homes. She discovered how much the audience appreciated her performances. Thanks to her enthusiastic audiences, Jenny decided to give up her career as a singer and founded Concerts in Motion. Today Concerts in Motion offers about 6 – 10 performances per week and serve elder patients at over 25 different agencies. Jennifer also told me what an impact live music has on people’s lives. Some think that the vibration created when live music is performed acts communicates with the listeners, sort of a life force that is not just heard, but also felt in the bodies of all who hear it. Jenny reminds her older listeners that they can experience the pleasure of their bodies, hearts and minds through the power of music.

The event got started when the children performed for the seniors. Children of all ages participated at different levels. Older children students played “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star,” on violins, accompanied by piano. The younger ones who are still learning the violin participated with violins made from paper. The concert included a few piano performances, a singing duo performing “America the Beautiful,” a recorder performance, and last. The music teachers performed a minuet.

Promising student


The senior choir began with “America the Beautiful,” in both Mandarin and English. The male choristers came next, singing “Edelweiss.” Two dance performances and a beautiful solo performance, in opera style, finished out the concert.

Conductor Mr. Jia Zhen Song practices with his choir ones per week at the Hamilton Madison City Hall. The City Hall Senior Center Chorus is very good and has attracted a number of New York City engagements to preform.

Dance performance

At concerts’ end, the audience made clear its enjoyment. I thought that the performers and the performances impacted the seniors. It’s time to figure out more ways to increase seniors’ access to relevant music experiences. For upcoming events, please visit Concerts in Motion’s website:

Sanna Klemetti

1 comment:

  1. This was the most popular article in our most recent e-newsletter! Well done Sanna.