Active Ageing with Music - new book launched

Active Ageing with Music explores the powerful potential for active music-making to support wellbeing among older people.

Book details

Active Ageing with Music

New Supporting wellbeing in the Third and Fourth Ages

Andrea Creech, Susan Hallam, Maria Varvarigou, Hilary McQueen

£24.99, Paperback, 202 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm

ISBN: 9781782770299
Published: 23 June 2014
Imprint: Institute of Education Press

About the book

While major demographic transitions are currently underway, significant problems of social isolation, depression, and chronic disease among older people have been noted, requiring cost-effective and compassionate responses. This book demonstrates that engagement in active music-making offers just such a response.

Supported by strong evidence, Active Ageing with Music balances research with practice, including:

  • Practical issues of accessibility and resources.

  • Potential barriers to participation – structural, intrapersonal, social – alongside case studies of potential solutions.

  • Supporting principles and practices for facilitating groups of older people, especially musical groups.

In parallel, this book uses the participants’ own stories to underpin the argument that musical development is possible across a lifetime, and that older people can and do progress as musicians.

The book will be of interest to all academics and practitioners interested in music psychology, the impact of music on wellbeing, and leading musical activities with older people, as well as occupational therapists and community musicians.

Most importantly, Active Ageing with Music will be of interest to people who want to preserve and sustain their cognitive, social, and emotional wellbeing throughout the latter stages of their lives.

Andrea Creech is Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Susan Hallam is Professor of Education and Music Psychology at the Institute of Education, University of London. Maria Varvarigou is a Lecturer in Music and Performing Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University. Hilary McQueen is a Research Officer and Tutor at the Institute of Education, University of London.


  1. Introduction;

Section 1: Music-making and wellbeing

  1. Musical social networks and social-emotional wellbeing;

  2. Music-making and cognitive wellbeing;

  3. Music-making and physical wellbeing;

Section 2: Music development and quality in facilitation, teaching, and learning

  1. Musical development during the Third and Fourth Ages;

  2. Principles and practices of facilitating musical activities for older people;

  3. Active ageing through intergenerational music-making;

Section 3: Supporting access to musical participation amongst older people

  1. Contexts for musical participation;

  2. Barriers to participation;

  3. Conclusions; References; Index.


“A welcome and highly significant synthesis of the literature on music and active ageing with substantial original material from the authors’ extensive fieldwork, all brought together in a convincing theoretical framework. Essential reading for researchers, educators, practitioners and most of all commissioners of health and social care services for older people.” – Professor Stephen Clift, Director, Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christ Church University

“This scholarly but accessible volume fills a notable gap by offering researchers and practitioners alike thought-provoking insights and engaging examples of music-making among older adults with profound implications for wellbeing and positive ageing.” – Susan A. O'Neill, Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of MODAL Research Group, Simon Fraser University

This title can be ordered from online retailers and good bookshops.

Download the book flyer (PDF, 502KB).

23 July 2014

Back to news archive