”Intohimolla ja sydämellä, kuolemaan saakka”
Palvelukeskuksen asiakkaiden musiikillinen toimijuus Musiikkimoottorit-projektissa
The article is based on a project called Music Motors (2012–2013), in which clients of a senior services center interested in music were trained to become peer leaders for the music activities of the center. The aim was to increase the clients’ possibilities to affect the music activities and to guide the clients and the employees to actualize something musical together without music professionals. Using participatory ethnography, I researched what aspects of musical agency emerged from the everyday activities of the clients during the Music Motors project. According to Sidsel Karlsen, the common feature of different interpretations of musical agency is that it is understood as a human capacity to act in relation to music or in a situation related to music. In this research, I consider musical agency in slightly broader terms: applying music sociologist Tia DeNora’s conceptions, I see music as a resource or a medium which offers people possibilities to structure and organize their everyday lives on both an individual and social level. Musical agency consists of practical musical choices and of argumentations and motives behind the choices.
The clients of the senior services center turned out to be musical subjects: the elderly were not only objects of music but also active agents who chose music to be part of their daily or weekly routines. By participating in music activities, the clients were able to affect their own moods, to bring excitement into their lives and to gain strength and comfort. Participatory music activities offered a social setting where the clients could spend time together and make new friends. By singing well-known songs from their childhood or early adulthood, the clients maintained and reconstructed their social and local identities. Through music the clients also found ways to adapt to the circumstances brought about by their aging. Many clients saw listening to music as "medicine" or "a friend" in lonely moments. Some of the elderly still had ambition and will to develop as singers – development in itself still brought them joy. By singing and peer tutoring the music group, the clients formed an equal connection to members of the health care personnel and were seen as active agents who created new musical opportunities also for other clients in the center. Thus music offered a multifaceted resource for everyday activities, although the possibilities of using the resource were highly dependent on the way the clients were supported by the health care professionals.