The aim of the present study is to investigate how the involvement in musical activities developed in nursing homes affects the self-concept of older adults and emerging professional musicians. Data will be collected through case studies in the context of the project Art for Ages, which explores the function of music in the lives of older adults through intervention, and involves MA students in music pedagogy.
The study will address two main research questions: How do musical activities affect older adults’ self-concept? And how does being involved in musical activities affect higher education music students’ self-concept? These questions will be addressed through the use of prior and post semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires, as well as by using diaries, video-stimulated recall interviews and focus groups.
As we have evidence that in many countries life expectancy is increasing we should consider, besides the positive implications of such a result, the social and economic challenges that it also implies. Given the positive effects music may have on older adults’ well-being, it appears extremely important to also investigate how music making may enhance the elderly’s self-concept.
At the same time, deepening our knowledge of students’ self-concept, both as artists and as music teachers, might offer useful insights to those conservatoires wishing to develop curricula that enable young musicians to engage meaningfully with older adults, and help enlarge their portfolio careers.
The relevance of these questions is also confirmed by international trends, such as the FULL SCORE Programme promoted by AEC (Association Européenne des Conservatoires), whose aims are also “drawing upon the fresh perspectives of young musicians [, in higher education and beyond,] to enrich the debate about engaging in new and innovative ways with audiences and facilitating access to professional opportunities” (see the project description on the EU Commission’s website).