We checked in with Maggie Rothwell, host of Senior Planet’s Open Mic, to talk about the power of sharing music and tricks for tackling performance nerves.
What led you down the path of using music to connect older adults?
Music has been a part of my life for so long that it feels like my first language! After leaving teaching to raise my own children and to be the “guitar lady” at countless library story times, I wanted to get back to “grown up” music.
I started working at nursing homes and saw the power that the music I was performing had in connecting with older adults. It was nothing short of amazing to see the impact my music had on the residents’ mood, memory, and even blood pressure! Music had always been my calling, but this helped me see it as a therapeutic tool in helping others.
“The Senior Planet Open Mic is the best because it’s truly OPEN. We accept everyone for who they are and what they bring to the show, because every performer shares a portion of their ‘self’ with the world.”
– Dave, Open Mic Participant
What are some of your favorite parts of hosting the Senior Planet Open Mic?
Some of my favorite parts of hosting the Senior Planet Open Mic are meeting so many warm and wonderful people from all across the country! The talent is amazing and we always have an eclectic mix of music. Each night is different so you never know what to expect but you can always count on an enthusiastic and supportive audience.
Any tips for dealing with nerves before performing?
Being prepared by practicing ahead of time is key to dealing with nerves. It’s also important to pick a song that’s simple and that you’re comfortable with. Make sure to breathe, focus on the music, and have fun!
Click here to browse all of Senior Planet’s upcoming musical offerings, including the Open Mic and Songwriting Night hosted by Maggie!
Senior Planet’s motto is “Aging with Attitude”. What does that mean to you?
Senior Planet has really helped me to own my age and to be proud of it! I’ve had a long and varied career in music. I can honestly say that the Senior Planet Open Mic and Songwriting Nights are among the best musical adventures I’ve ever had.
Aging with attitude gives value to our life experience and shows that the sky’s still the limit!
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she is a contributing writer for this site.