Teen Brings the Joy of Music to Seniors.

Teen Brings the Joy of Music to Seniors.

April 23, 2024 by Cathy Stack

SAN DIEGO, Calif.—During a school talent show at a senior center, a high school student and classical pianist realized that music had the power to spread joy and create community connections.

Following that performance, Grace Sun felt inspired to organize more music events for seniors in her community. To that end, at age 16, she started a school service club to coordinate musical events for seniors in care centers, hospitals and senior living homes. Last year, that club became a non-profit organization called Melodies for Remedies.

“That performance really touched me, and I decided to contact that senior home and many around San Diego County area, and we started online concerts with a few close friends,” she said.

Grace wanted to uplift the elders in her community who often experience loneliness and isolation. She first gathered a group of peers and persuaded them to perform for seniors in both virtual and in-person concerts. The concerts received so much positive feedback from the appreciative seniors and residential managers that Grace decided to continue the program.

Someone then shared a study with Grace about how music therapy could potentially improve cognitive condition people with Alzheimer’s disease, which motivated her to include additional performances for elders dealing with cognitive decline.

The new performances would get a tweak in programming as well. In place of their usual classical repertoire, the young musicians played nostalgic 1960s songs. The seniors with Alzheimer’s disease happily clapped and sang along with the familiar songs as the music brought back many good memories.

“Music is a way that we can tap into their memories,” said Uriel Perez, volunteer services coordinator for the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers. “We try to bring our participants to the era they are most comfortable with; where they have most of their memories. To have music from that era brings them joy, happiness. It brings them memories. I think that is pretty magical,”

To expand her vision, Grace decided to turn her student-run club into a non-profit organization in 2023, which she named Melodies for Remedies. The group is dedicated to bringing healing, comfort and joy to communities through performing arts. The organization connects senior groups to student musicians who are eager to display their talents to an engaged audience. The organization also strives to increase awareness of cognitive diseases and to fundraise for music therapy research and treatment.

“Through benefit concerts and raising awareness of dementia, I hope to grow my musical cause for the community,” shared Grace. “I hope the music we bring can touch more people’s hearts and bring joy to everyone involved in the program.”

Grace’s team of student musician volunteers has grown to more than 100 participants. The group has hosted 50 large-scale concerts and music therapy sessions nationwide.

Grace brought together two very different groups – student musicians and seniors – to foster a sense of community and to spread joy. She encourages musicians to use their talents and passion as a unique way to help others in emotional need. Her action is a great example of the value of connection.

For more information please visit: https://www.melodiesforremedies.org/

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Your Comments
Claudia Guilford from Washington APRIL 24, 2024
I love this. Music is so healing! So grateful to see our youth take an active interest in helping elders find joy.

Anonymous APRIL 24, 2024
Wonderful to see young people making a positive impact on their communities. Very inspiring!

Barb Houghton from WASHINGTON APRIL 23, 2024
How wonderful!! My mother had Alzheimer's but still loved music. Grace Sun is a hero!! May she be successful for a long, long time and others get involved.

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