Social distancing isn’t ending anytime soon, and that means it’s high time to find socialization and activities that are safe, while still being fun!
And what is a popular, high-energy activity that most people love? Karaoke! Whether it’s a night out with your friends, or a party activity, karaoke allows one to enjoy the benefits of music, singing, and performing all at once. And when it’s virtual, karaoke allows socialization where the players can have fun and enjoy singing and dancing, without risking the safety of themselves and others.
The benefits of music have long been observed, and are seen across cultures and throughout time. Our brains have been hard-wired to distinguish music from noise, and respond to rhythm, repetition, and tones. Studies using MRIs and PET scans also suggest that specific nerve networks in different parts of the brain work just to decode various properties of music.
So, bringing music into the lives of senior citizens with a karaoke night is a fun way to provide them the benefits of music and signing with the benefits of socialization.
Transitioning from in-person karaoke to providing this event on a live streaming platform can sometimes be a little daunting, especially when you’re working with an older population. But, virtual karaoke is one of the best socially distant activities to try online, given that so much of it is automated already.
Catering to seniors is not necessarily a straightforward task, so here’s how you can bring the fun of virtual programming to them, and make your virtual karaoke party the best socially distant night for your seniors.
First things first: get your live stream set up. No matter what platform you’re using, there are a few things to be careful of with live streaming virtual karaoke for older adults.
What would a karaoke night be without impeccable audio? Audio quality is a high priority no matter who you’re streaming to, but especially when it’s senior citizens. Your viewers may be hard of hearing, so make sure they can hear you and others singing clearly and loudly. No one wants to hear feedback when hitting that high note of Bohemian Rhapsody!
There are several sites that provide karaoke lyrics, but since you have an older audience, make sure to choose wisely. The site needs to be appropriate for older users: large font, applicable songs, and easy to use. You don’t want to discourage your audience from engaging by making it too complicated. Youtube also has many prepared karaoke videos prepared, and is a good option if you’re comfortable curating the tunes.
If you’re making your own lyric slides, your lyrics should be in a large font that’s easy to read. Senior viewers could have vision challenges, and reading on a screen can be tough no matter one’s age. Make sure to show only a few phrases on the screen at a time, as well as change the slides to the right tempo.
Make sure you and your players know how to use whatever platform you choose. There are pros and cons to many of them, so do a little research before you start. It needs to be senior-friendly, so focus finding one with little set up, and higher security. At televëda, we developed our live streaming software for seniors in mind to ensure the best experience for them, such as making the platform secure, but also easy to join and use.
Know your audience! When choosing the songs, be sure they’re appropriate for your audience. You may love the latest pop song, but you’re going to want to choose music your seniors recognize and love. Picking a theme each week can help you narrow down song options, and keep your audience engaged: try 50’s hits one week, and 70’s the next. Or choose a few artists for each session.
You have to determine how you’re going to run the karaoke night: are people singing together, are they going one by one, are there duets, etc.? There’s a lot to determine before jumping in, and making these decisions first will help it run as smoothly as possible. Duets can be a great way to build camaraderie and socialization, but they may be tough to coordinate online, so you may have to do a little bit of guess-and-checking. Once the process has been decided, make sure your viewers understand how it works, and how to follow along with the music and singing.
Additionally, though having a large group is great, a game with manageable sizes may be more fun and engaging because it keeps it intimate and allows for friendship creation. You don’t want seniors to feel overwhelmed, or unable to join in because of the group size, so keep that in mind with organizing your virtual karaoke parties.
Make sure you can adjust user settings. If you’re having a lot of feedback from someone, you’ll need to be able to mute them while other singers are getting their voice on!
One last note: it’s important to make your karaoke night engaging, exciting, and personalized. Keep your energy high, make eye contact with the camera, and use participants’ names if you know them! The point of these virtual activities is keep your older audience having fun together. Virtual karaoke is a great socialization opportunity for senior citizens, now, and always. No matter the users abilities and access, they’re able to enjoy time with friends, and make new ones.
Music programs and activities are great for the elderly, whether its music therapy programs, virtual karaoke, or boosting memory. Here are five music-based activities and exercises for seniors that will support their health and wellbeing.