Psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists have been interested in how to build self confidence and self-esteem for a very long time.
Much of their research has focused on children and adolescents. However, I believe that building self-confidence and self-esteem are important throughout our whole life.
This article describes how a positive experience helped seniors to feel more confident and more self-assured. It also describes how the elderly are never too old to improve their performance.
Everyone at every age likes to feel good about who they are. And there are many ways that we can help people to believe in themselves, perform their best and enjoy their lives.
My wife runs a senior community with approximately two hundred residents. Robin has had a passion for working with seniors for many years. She also has had a passion for music.
In the past, she has brought in outside consultants to start and develop a choral group at her facility. Unfortunately, the chorus never got off the ground. Recently, my wife decided to take over this task and the leadership of the group herself.
Residents were encouraged to join the musical group. Some had done some singing in the past. Others did not know that they had any musical talent.
A few weeks after starting the group, there were fifteen singers: twelve women and three men. Their average age is approximately eighty eight. However, they are eighty eight years young and they remind you that age really is just a number.
After two months of weekly practice, they had their first two concerts scheduled. With the help of a drummer, a pianist and my wife as the conductor they were a bit nervous, but ready and eager to perform and to entertain the audience.
Four hundred people attended their two performances which consisted of ten songs. The room was packed with family members, residents and outsiders who wanted to see the show. I was one of the attendees and I was asked to videotape the show.
The chorus was fantastic. As great performers can do, they brought tears and smiles to me and to much of the audience. The energy, joy and love in the room were all palpable.
The audience was disappointed when the last song was announced as they did not want the good time to end.
After the show, people asked the singers for their autographs. Others wanted their pictures taken with these “celebrities.” The performers felt like superstars.
A few days after the show, Robin told me that they are now singing better than ever at rehearsal. “Their voices are stronger and they are more animated and more confident. Some who were holding themselves back a bit are now belting out the tunes.”
In addition, “The members of the choral group seem to be enjoying one another more than they ever had, according to my wife.
It seems that their successful performances boosted their confidence and their self-esteem. Music can be a wonderful vehicle for helping a person to feel better about himself or herself. And singing in a chorus can be a wonderful way to build and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
The group is getting ready for their next concert at another senior community and is also preparing for their holiday show which will include Christmas songs and Hanukah tunes.
As someone who has spent much of his life helping patients to develop their self concept and their self esteem and to perform their best, I can tell you I am really looking forward to the holiday concert.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and a Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist in River Edge, New Jersey and the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com