Sage Silver Ambassadors

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What can joining a musical group do for your well-being?

Working with the Sage Silver Programme in Gateshead, SiDE researcher Angela Abbott explored the effect that participation in musical groups has on the health and happiness of older people.

The Silver Programme is a choral and musical group that caters for over-5os in the North East of England. Since starting in 2005, it has grown to 1,200 members. The seeds of the research project were sown in 2010.

The main interests of the project were to determine the reasons for the success of the group, and the ways it has made the lives of its members better. Interviews were carried out with members, who said they were attracted to the programme as they loved singing, had friends or family in the group, were interested in learning music and were keen to find an activity after retirement.

Subsequently, many benefited from a feeling of community, the challenge of a shared goal and the uplifting effect of music. Researchers noted that part of the success of the group was down to the welcoming environment, low barriers to entry and charismatic leadership. It had the effect of helping older people find activity after retirement and create everyday routines, while learning a skill and keeping themselves physically and mentally engaged.

The research was presented at the Aging and Society Conference in Chicago in November 2013.

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Angela Abbott (
Ranald Richardson (

Creating Music and Community: Participation in an Older Adults’ Music Programme