Creative Aging Directory - New Horizons International Music Association, Inc.

Program Title
New Horizons
Program Summary

New Horizons Music programs provide an entry point to music-making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long time. Many adults would like an opportunity to learn music in a group setting similar to that offered in schools, but for most the last entry point was elementary school. For most of the last century, about 15-20% of high school students nationally participated in music, so it is estimated that at least 80% of the adult population needs beginning instruction in order to participate in making music. New Horizons Music programs serve that need. There are about 210 New Horizon Bands around the world that serve approximately 10,000 individuals each year and are led by professional artists. The New Horizons website has a complete directory of New Horizons Bands.

Program Background and History

The first New Horizons program, started in 1991 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, was designed to serve the older population. It was supported by a grant from the NAMM Foundation. New Horizons has since expanded to 210 bands around the world, each of which had its own unique beginning. New Horizons offers start-up guides to those who wish to launch a New Horizons band in their community. Sponsoring organizations for New Horizons Music programs include music dealerships, schools, community music schools, college music departments, recreation centers, and centers for older adults. 

Program-Specific Research and Key Findings

Many studies have been conducted on the New Horizons Band program. One of the most recent surveyed 1,654 New Horizons International Music Association musicians to learn whether they self-reported increased health benefits from participating. “Learning from Our Elders: Survey of New Horizons International Music Association Band and Orchestra Directors” found that 74% of respondents reported emotional wellbeing, 24% physical wellbeing, 21% cognitive stimulation, and 20% socialization benefits from participating in a band.

Program-Specific Assessment and Evaluation

Each location conducts evaluations differently, but all New Horizons Bands encourage input from participants and keep attendance records.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs
City (Main)
Tarpon Springs
State (Main)
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Arts Discipline
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus
Presenting a Performance, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in an Ensemble
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus Other
Interdisciplinary Connections
Civic Engagement, Education
Creative engagement
Target Audience
Active Adults, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational
Adaptive Program Design
Adaptive Program Design Other
Program Setting
Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Assisted Living, Community Center, Education (e.g. School / University), House of Worship / Religious Center
Program Service Area / Geography
Suburban, Urban, International Outreach
Program Service Area / Geography Other