As part of the research project, titled “The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults,” a group of seniors averaging 80 years in age took part in chorale programs at The Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. beginning in December, 2001. After two years of measurement compared to a control group of similar individuals, the music participants: Reported better health and fewer falls Showed a slower rate of increase in doctor visits than non-participants Increased medication usage at a significantly lower rate than non-participants Showed greater improvements in depression, loneliness and morale Increased social interaction, while non-participants decreased interaction Also known as the “Creativity and Aging” study, the project is currently assessing the same factors in a second group involved in visual arts, theater, writing and jewelry-making at the Brooklyn, N.Y. center Elders Share the Arts, and in a third group working with textiles, painting, mask-making, Chinese brush painting and poetry at the Center for Elders and Youth in the Arts in San Francisco. “What’s significant is that the music-making seniors actually showed significant improvement in categories such as falls, social interaction and overall health, where we might have expected only to slow the decline in these areas,” Dr. Cohen indicates.The folks at the International Foundation for Music Research (one of the lead funders of this study) provided me with the chance to speak with Dr. Cohen earlier this month regarding the long-range impact of his findings. I will be posting an article devoted to his work in the next few days. I will tell you now the implications of his study are extraordinary! In the mean time it is clear that the power of music is influencing all levels of our society. What we have not been able to do as a community is articulate the complete benefits of music AS THEY ARE KNOWN TODAY. Sounds like a new project for someone… any volunteers? In the mean time, as we learn more about the physical, social, emotional, and educational impact that music has on our everyday lives… how is it that as a society we can justify denying an education that includes music to our children. Doesn’t make sense… does it?