An Afternoon with BRAVO’s Upbeat Percussion Workshops

In late October, BRAVO! launched its new program, Upbeat, at Ojai’s Community Hospital’s continuing care center. Over a dozen residents came out to participate in group music making and song performances, led by percussion specialist, music therapist and BRAVO! Artist-in-Residence, Judy Piazza.

Upbeat was conceived after a pilot workshop at the hospital, where BRAVO! volunteers brought a handful of instruments from the instrument petting zoo and led residents through a brief interactive workshop. The workshop was an instant success. Kristina Moffett, Activity Director at the Ojai Hospital Continuing Care Center wrote to BRAVO! Coordinator Andy Radford:

I am very excited to be a part of this opportunity to establish a music program for the senior care centers in Ojai. I have witnessed the benefits of what this type of program can provide for our seniors – the fun and joy that playing music brought to our residents was truly amazing. From residents who are alert, to those who are lower functioning; from residents who are physically disabled, to non-English speaking residents, everyone was able to take part. The stimulation of sound, vibrations, and movement affected every person that was there. This would truly be a benefit to our community to expand on.

When planning the workshops, it quickly became apparent that BRAVO!‘s existing instruments – trombones, trumpets, violins, chimes, etc – were not well-suited to those with limited movement. Instruments for UPBEAT were specially chosen to enable those with a range of movement abilities to participate. These include shakers and bells and struck sound instruments (drums, boom whackers). Instrument purchases for UPBEAT were made possible by the generous support of the Ojai Festivals Womens Committee, the Ojai Rotary Club and the City of Ojai Arts Commission.

Upbeat workshops are currently being scheduled at the hospital, as well as additional senior resident facilities throughout the valley. We’ll be posting photos and updates throughout the winter and spring. Special thanks to Kristina and all the facility administrators in the valley for helping to make Upbeat a success.

Learn more about the BRAVO! music education program >>

All photos by Fred Rothenberg