Starting today, a new class called “Singing for Seniors” will bring new and experienced singers aged 55 and over together to learn and perform at the Jamaica Plain Branch library.
Taught by long-time voice teacher and JP resident Elizabeth Anker, the nine-week class at the 12 Segdwik St. library will focus on breathing techniques, vocal skills and harmonization. It will culminate with a public concert.
“People learn better when they’re in packs,” she told the Gazette. “I love teaching seniors.”
Anker told the Gazette of the many benefits of “creative aging”—seniors maintaining a level of activity in creative pursuits as they age.
“They do better physically. They need less medication. They’re less lonely. They need fewer doctor’s visits. It helps keep people in their own homes longer,” she said. “It helps keep people engaged.”
Anker said she particularly enjoys teaching seniors because of their life experience and because “they’re not afraid to be playful.”
“Once people are not trying to prove anything to anyone anymore, that’s when they can learn and grow,” she said.
The class will cover easier songs from many styles and periods, including standards, show tunes and traditional. Knowing how to read music will not be necessary, Anker said.
Anker has been teaching a similar class in the South End for about four years and has been a voice teacher since 1989, she said.
“We make a pretty good noise,” she said of her existing senior class.
The class will be funded by a grant from the MetLife Foundation in partnership with nonprofit Lifetime Arts. It will be free to people aged 55 and over, but registration with the library at 617-524-2053 is required. Anker is asking for the full nine-week commitment to prepare for the final performance.