Second, the intellectual wellness dimension of human development explains higher brain processing of abstract thinking such as worldly ideas, humor, curiosity, learning and mastering music skills, which protected brain health. A common narrative was enjoyment of learning new, unfamiliar, diversified, and cognitively challenging repertories, which indicated music education, was a substantial motivator to protect against cognitive decline. For example, narratives indicated participants valued lifelong learning of music because participants believed being actively engaged in new and complex repertories were motivators to achieve self-actualization and self-transcendence as Maslow’s human needs hypothesized. Two participants reported the value of intellectual wellness as being personally beneficial to their community music participation because it maintained their mental acuity and knowledge of composers’ works.
Third, the physical wellness dimension focused on promoting healthy behaviors of healthful nutrition, vigorous exercise, seven to eight hours nightly sleep, annual physician health assessments as well as avoidance of risky lifestyle behaviors of excessive alcohol consumption, multiple sexual relationships, and illicit drugs. Narratives were difficult to discern in terms of which came first: being physically healthy to age well, or physically fit for the love of performing music. These narratives reveal participants’ music identities, values, and beliefs of being committed to physical fitness for community music participation. Narratives strongl...
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...arating, and therefore fun.
Overall, through the Older Americans Act of 1965, many community activities are available to older Americans such as community music (i.e., choirs, orchestras, symphonies, and bands), which offers many personal benefits of wellness, happiness, and quality of life. Wellness was fundamental to meeting the physiological demands of expert to virtuoso music competencies. This study provided evidence that healthy older performance musicians needed and wanted challenging complex repertoire. In particular, participants were cognizant that the way to sustain their existing music competencies was to invest hours of practice, and the need to develop higher music competencies meant sustaining or developing higher order brain functions. Therefore, the phenomenological narratives illustrate the role of music on wellness is chief among all participants.
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