Yes, you got it right: conductorcise = conduct + exercise!
Founded by a prominent conductor David Dworkin, a Met regular and a Carnegie Hall frequenter, this program provides individuals of any age, but especially seniors, with essential brain fitness through active emersion in classical music.
In my life I had a chance to meet several individuals who had no idea what conductors are for and what they do on the podiums. Their versions ranged all the way from just standing there to waving their arms too much to getting paid for nothing.
Oh, I know how you feel. I can almost see you all cringing in disapproval. But you know what? For now let us not get into discussing the real value and significance of a conductor. On this blog we are aware, are we not?
My point, however, is that even those who do not appreciate conductors got one thing right: conducting involves a lot of muscle activity, and that my friends, is the core of our discussion today.
The fusion of physical activity and classical music, Conductorcise, is based on a simple activity, for which you do not need anything but
- a classical music CD
- a boom box
- a bunch of chopsticks or pencils
- a group of seniors who do not want to have Alzheimer’s
- consistency ( one session a week at the very least)
Each participant gets his/her very own "baton" (a pencil or a chopstick).The instructor plays a beautiful piece of classical music. Seniors “conduct” the way they feel they should, the way they can. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Any way is right and fabulous. They can move around if they want to or stand still. They can conduct with one arm or switch arms. They can remain silent or sing along with the music they are conducting. Anything they do is great.
Last week I launched this program, and am happy to report, it was a huge success. Movement 1 from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik worked miracles, even though I have to admit it was probably just a little too long for the 1st session. The participants said that it was a good and a very enjoyable workout and that they can’t wait for their next session.
Session #2 is this week.
I recently found a picture of my Opera Appreciation students that I took at one of my live opera events last February. With great sadness I realized that just within this one year, two of my students got Alzheimer’s and are no longer able to participate in any kind of activities. One still lives in her apartment. On her own. Declining every single day, or maybe every single hour.
The other moved out months ago. Obviously, my seminars have not been able to prevent Alzheimer's, but Conductorcise will.
I believe it will.
If you feel compassion for every 1 in 8 senior Americans who has Alzheimer's and know that you are able to do a little more about this disease than crying over the movie Notebook, sign the petition to President Obama for a strong National Alzheimer's Plan here.
No, I have not been paid to do this. I just feel that besides Conductorcising, this is the least I can do.