Musical Path to Health

Categories: Building Resilience

Contributed by Community Orchestra of Keene

That viola in the back of your closet might just be the ticket to better health.

Musicians join community orchestras for many reasons, but share a desire to stay musically active and take advantage of unique learning opportunities. But did you know that joining a community orchestra could improve your health?

Adult learning, both formal and informal, is a great part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping your mind strong, achieving personal goals, and interacting with others are well documented steps to good health. Add music into the mix, and you have a super-charged path to wellness since music itself builds pathways in the brain and can reduce stress. Social ties improve health and music is a great way to get there.

On Wednesday nights during the Keene State College (KSC) academic year, Professor Don Baldini may not see himself as a wellness coach as he leads the intergenerational Community Orchestra of Keene (COOK) through the work of J.S. Bach to music from Carousel, but it is a fun, unique way to be healthy.

COOK, a project of Keene Community Music School and the music department at KSC is an intermediate to advanced level ensemble of string players (they would love some winds!). Professionals, skilled amateurs, and budding learners sit side by side.

Do you have an instrument that is getting dusty or do you practice on your own, trying to keep up the skills you gained as a kid? Perhaps you challenged yourself to pick up an instrument later in life and are ready to take your playing to a new level. COOK is always looking for players who want ensemble skills, to meet new people, or just play great music.

Information is available through KCMS at or 603-352-6011.

Some resources:

“Community music-making is more than a group of people passing their leisure time dabbling with an instrument.  It is a pro-active, important component of lifelong learning in music.

Benefits of Community Music

Adult education = modest gains in cognitive ability

Adult Education and Health

Adult Learners see Benefits from Making Music

Music Lessons and Cognitive Development