Esplanade shares with us about their community engagement programmes such as Sing Out Loud! and Footwork for Seniors and how seniors are enjoying the arts as part of their active ageing lifestyle.

This article is an excerpt of the article by Esplanade, read the full article here.

Mr Abdul Wahab is a familiar face at Esplanade’s community engagement activities. The amiable 76-year-old first participated in our Sing Out Loud! flagship project in 2015 and he was hooked. The following year, he and a few others were among the returning participants at another series of workshops at PEACE-Connect Seniors Activity Centre.

Discovering Something New

So what is Sing Out Loud!? What drives the programme is the belief that the arts is transformative and can be used to promote active ageing, among other things. Each session is low in intensity, making it especially suitable for seniors. It consists of eight vocal training sessions stretched over two to four months for 15 to 20 participants, and also includes learning simple choreography. The entire project is tailored to suit different levels of physical mobility and participants’ needs, facilitated by artists, therapists and social workers.

Seniors learn voice projection, breathing techniques, use of the diaphragm as well as facial muscles to control tone and pitch. For some, this is their first formal training. For others, it’s their first eye-opening experience with singing.

The instructor often plays simple icebreaker games to keep energy levels up and to get the seniors to interact with the instructor or with one another. For instance, he or she could ask participants to show different facial expressions—happy, sad, angry, how you look when you wake up in the morning, etc—as a warm-up exercise.

Often, these games encourage seniors to think beyond their daily activities and stay active, keeping their minds and bodies engaged as much as possible within the hour and a half or so.

It Doesn’t Stop at Singing

Apart from Sing Out Loud!, Esplanade also has a Footwork for Seniors programme which caters to elderly folks who are game enough to step out of their comfort zones and pick up new dance moves. Likewise, we work with instructors and social workers to ensure that the programme suits the different fitness levels of its participants, who are between the ages of 60 and 80. Since it launched in 2015, Footwork for Seniors has offered Bollywood and hip hop dance programmes, both of which were well-received.