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Timbers of Sorewood resident Paula Polechla and Hank Vasel, 6, perform together during a recital at Timbers of Shorewood.

Intergenerational piano recital brings young and old together for performance and fun

Timbers of Sorewood resident Paula Polechla and Hank Vasel, 6, perform together during a recital at Timbers of Shorewood

Nine piano students of Stacy Jager of Lockport presented an intergenerational piano recital on Sunday, June 4, 2023, in the Ballroom of The Timbers of Shorewood Senior Living, 1100 N River Rd, Shorewood. The audience was composed of fellow residents, families, and friends.

“The nine students ranged from age six to 79,” Jager said. “A fun duet featured the oldest and the youngest student performing together. In addition, I wrote and performed a song entitled, ‘Young at Heart.’ I wrote it in honor of the intergenerational theme of the piano recital.”

The duet featured six-year-old Hank and 79-year-old Paula Polechla, a Timbers resident since July 2022.

“The recital was very nice and a lot of fun,” Polechla said. “Originally my grandmother taught me to play piano when I was around ten years old. After so many years, I was very happy to take it up again with Stacy when I moved to the Timbers.”

Teacher Stacy Jager graduated from Alverno College in Milwaukee with a Music Therapy degree specializing in piano.

“I have taught at many locations since college and now teach out of my home. I go to the Timbers to teach the seniors. I find both age groups very motivated. My younger students have more agile fingers, and my oldest students have past experiences and can pick up learning more quickly.”

Stacy Jager, Music Therapist and Piano Teacher at the Timbers

There were several other songs in the recital such as “America the Beautiful,” “Home on the Range,” “Morning has Broken,” and “The Marines’ Hymn.”

“Stacy and I have been planning the recital for a while,” said Amy Odell, director of activities at The Timbers of Shorewood. “It was great to see it all come together and to see all the smiles in the room. To have Paula Polechla, 79, and Hank, 6, play a fun duet was the perfect piece to end the recital. It was very moving.”

For seniors, learning piano reaps benefits

There are many benefits to taking piano lessons. It improves mental and emotional health and achieves a deeper understanding of music. Lessons help improve mental and emotional wellbeing. Playing piano increases the production of endorphins, and learning piano can help relieve stress and improve concentration. This can be especially important for children, who can benefit from the calming effects that playing the piano can provide.

In addition, piano lessons can be incredibly beneficial for hand-eye coordination. As a student progresses through lessons, they notice a marked improvement in the ability to play with both hands. Studying piano has also been shown to amazingly improve memory — particularly verbal memory — and build good habits like focus and perseverance, diligence, and creativity.

Piano students can benefit from the healing powers of the vibrations and sounds of the notes which can help them get through difficult times and to find strength in times of trouble. It can be an escape from stress and help resolve tension.

“Music brings people together,” Stacy Jager said. “It is universal. Music speaks what words cannot fully express. Teaching is what I love to do, and piano is part of my soul. Teaching and playing piano are such joys for me. Sharing those joys is amazing.”

The Timbers of Shorewood Senior Living is a rental retirement community that provides senior independent living and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Residents whose needs may change are able to stay in the same place and receive appropriate and compassionate care. Furnished apartments are also available for short-term stays.

For more information call 815-609-0669.

Piano Recital Photo Gallery