Sorrento Valley-based Villa Musica is starting to bring music to isolated seniors across San Diego county with its Music on the Move program as COVID-19 restrictions lift and seniors in long-term care centers get vaccinated.

Villa Musica, a non-profit group, created Music on the Move, a program under the umbrella of the organization’s “Encore” program for seniors, to directly reach residents in long-term care centers. The music program was born out of the desperate need to create more engagement for seniors after 2020’s intense isolation. 

The program was made possible after Villa Musica received a $27,000 grant from the San Diego Community Foundation, as well as with help from other local sponsors.  

With the grant, staff at Villa Musica were able to purchase equipment for outdoor concerts and a van to transport musicians and equipment to senior centers. 

Bringing music to seniors “keeps seniors engaged and breaks them out of isolation,” because not having things to keep their minds active “can lead to both physical and mental negative effects,” Aaron Bullard, Director of Community Partnerships at Villa Musica told Mcknight’s Long Term Care News.

The program hosted its first concert in the middle of June at a Claremont outdoor venue for seniors who had gathered there for lunch. Bullard recalled that attendees told the hosting staff at the event how “wonderful it was to have music in their lives again.” Music on the Move will host its second concert Thursday when they will play for seniors at a 4th of July party hosted by one of Villa Musica’s partners.

Villa Musica is currently making preparations to expand its Music on the Move programming as well as to offer their regular ‘Encore’ programming once restrictions are fully lifted and it is safe for seniors to congregate in larger groups.

Bullard and staff plan to offer ukulele classes for seniors, “phonic discovery classes” (which explain various aspects of music history), larger concerts, senior field trips and more. It’s important for seniors to be reconnected with activities and events that positively stimulate them nearing the end of a pandemic, he stressed. 

“Music can bring back that sense of normalcy and social and emotional growth,” he added.