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Why Choose Films with Memorable MUSIC To Launch a Monthly Program?

Updated: Jan 13


Listening to and playing music "puts it all together," whether or not we have a background in music. A National Institute of Health (NIH) study showed that there was an interaction between musical improvisation and visual memory, and the greatest effect was found for the emotion-laden information. How do those of us with limited musical background and training get started with this "Whole Person" approach to creating activities centered around music?


Share the powerful impact of films with memorable music to launch "Whole Person" programming in elder communities or with isolated elders.


It's not enough for elders to just listen to music. Elders and others can view films that include memorable music and then play with the music; i.e., create music on musical instruments (sound, touch, movement), dance or move in other ways to music, and sing, not only to karaoke, which involves sight and sound, but also making up our own lyrics

Getting Started

For example, the following three films, Miss Angela, Elcanto, and Magical Christmas Special, include memorable music. The music in the films inspires us to listen, learn and sing lyrics, dance, and move to the music in the film.

Fiddler's Journey To the Big Screen, a 2022 documentary film, delves into the role of music in the musical theater production and movie, Fiddler on the Roof, which has been successful for over 50 years thoughout the world for audiences of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The song "Sunrise, Sunset," played in the film, can inspire one to create a brief EARWORM Activity on family relationships. The song was susequently featured in other films, such as The Lion King and Beautiful Boy. My interview with Daniel Raim, Director of Fiddler's Journey To the Big Screen, will accompany the film showing for the Jan. 6-22, 2023 Legacy Film Festival on Aging. Raim discusses the value of including video and sound clips of that song and other memorable music in the film.

How Can We Launch a Monthly Program based on a Film with Memorable Music?

  • Schedule a film showing with memorable music, such as Fiddler's Journey To the Big Screen.

  • Share lyrics to a popular song or music in the film, such as "Sunrise, Sunset."

  • Conduct a follow-up discussion of the meaning of the words in the song, and what emotions/stories come to mind of participants.

  • Give participants an opportunity to create their own lyrics, drawing or dance/movement to a song related to family relationships or other themes that the "Sunrise, Sunset" song (or other music in the film) evokes.

  • Share participants' lyrics/drawings/dance/movements. Invite intergenerational volunteers, including students and family members, to participate in the activities, on-site or through distance.

  • Create a video of a group singing/dancing or other multi-sensory ways they express themselves after viewing a musical film. Post video on a (restricted or unrestricted, as appropriate) social media platform.

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