The New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) works with more than 40 senior service organizations around Boston to welcome approximately 75 older adult learners onto their campus each week. When the pandemic initially hit, NEC knew they had to quickly adapt to a virtual world and maintain the connection between their older adult students, faculty, college students and community partners. Faculty and staff transitioned their one-on-one lessons to a virtual format and creating innovative and responsive virtual programs for large groups of senior participants.
To position themselves as a place intended for all ages, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art developed a creative aging program series, “Create with The Carle!” These programs offered adults the opportunity to learn new artmaking skills while using the museum’s collection as inspiration. To better accommodate older adult learners, the museum conducted several assessments to determine their facilities’ ability to serve older adults. The process also helped them identify nearby senior service organizations partners.
From their website: New England Conservatory (NEC) an independent, not-for-profit institution, is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world. With music students representing more than 40 countries, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training by 225 internationally-esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC pushes the boundaries of making and teaching music through college-level musical training in classical, jazz and Contemporary Improvisation. It offers unique interdisciplinary programs such as Entrepreneurial Musicianship and Community Performances & Partnerships that empower students to create their own musical opportunities. As part of NEC’s mission to make lifelong music education available to everyone, the Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education delivers training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students and adults. Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867 by Eben Tourjée, NEC created a new model of conservatory that combined the best of European tradition with American innovation. NEC is at the center of Boston’s rich cultural history and musical life offering concerts performed in NEC’s renowned venue Jordan Hall. Alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios and arts management positions worldwide. New England Conservatory is authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to grant degrees and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Earlier this year, Mayor Martin J. Walsh along with the Age Strong Commission and the Office of Arts and Culture announced a partnership with Goddard House Community Initiatives and Lifetime Arts that has brought free participatory arts programming to older adults in the city’s Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and South End neighborhoods.
The Creative Aging Program (CAP) has expanded creative arts education for older adults, broadened awareness of teaching artists, and demonstrated the benefits and efficacy of integrating arts into older adult education.