Oregon Symphony


Education & Community

Oregon Symphony musicNOW Engagement
Pilot Program a Success

The Oregon Symphony piloted eight musicNOW musical engagement sessions, as part of our 2016 Music Education and Community Engagement program during the months of February and April. Pilot year sessions took place at Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego. These performances served residents living with Alzheimer’s, and other dementias in that continuing care center. Studies have shown music therapy and music therapy-informed musical experiences provide numerous therapeutic benefits for those living with memory impairment. Although musicNOW is not a music therapy program, the benefits of the musical sessions will be geared toward the social and emotional health of the participants.

It is our goal to expand musicNOW offerings to additional retirement homes, assisted/memory care facilities, and the Portland Art Museum in conjunction with their newly developed  artNOW program. These sessions will be informative, entertaining and engaging for all participants, and particularly valuable for those seeking cultural activities to share with family members.

Each session will feature an Oregon Symphony soloist playing pre-selected pieces and sharing their knowledge of the music and their instrument. Participants will be invited to actively engage in discussion and lively music making through singing, moving to live music and playing tone chimes along with the soloist. In the first year of this program, we plan to reach 150-200 participants and their caregivers. 

This robust music engagement program has been designed in careful collaboration with the Oregon Symphony musicians and community partners, including: board certified music therapists Jodi Winnwalker and Maggie Johnson of Earthtones Music Therapy Services, art therapist Emily Frankie of the Companion Art Studio, training staff from the Alzheimer’s Association of Oregon, and OHSU Alzheimer’s educator Mary Ruhl. Interns from Earthtones Music Therapy Services will co-facilitate with each soloist by supporting participants’ active discussion and musical engagement.

For questions, or for more information, contact Monica Hayes, Education & Community Engagement Program Director, at 503-416-6312 or mhayes@orsymphony.org.