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Senior Therapist Rocks 'Garage Band'

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Music therapist Sherrye Dobrin uses her iPad to record the melodies of her senior hand bell choirs, drum circles and singing groups at The Village at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan.

"We've been recording and laying down our tracks on 'Garage Band,'" Dobrin said. "It's become a music therapy program unto itself and has brought together residents and adult day program participants with differing musical interests in an exciting new way."

Residents at The Village and participants in Waveny's adult day program record different tracks -- from vocals, to melody and percussion -- and Dobrin mixes the finished product. "They can't believe they're creating such beautiful music that can be enjoyed and listened to time and time again," she said.

In addition to " Garage Band ," Dobrin uses other musical apps, such as an interactive piano key app called "Virtuoso" that lets two players perform duets from either side of the iPad. "I am shocked by its small size," said Village resident Lorainne McGettigan. "But I am even more surprised that something so small could contain all of the music we make."

Many seniors, despite problems with memory, can easily recall and perform long-known songs from their past on the piano -- and now on her iPad, Dobrin said. "We've had many a duet of 'Heart and Soul," she said.

Residents' interests in the iPad go beyond the musical. "Our men's group in particular enjoys my card game apps, such as 'Crazy Eights,' and everyone is fascinated by my iPad's 'Koi Pond,'" Dobrin said as a resident flicked his finger on the iPad, causing a digital ripple of water to appear as animated fish scatter.

"It's rare to find an activity that delights and intrigues all of our residents, patients and adult day program participants equally, but the work she's done with the iPad seems to be doing just that," said Heather Sprole, Waveny's director of therapeutic recreation.

For more information on the Waveny Care Center call 203-594-5200 or visit www.waveny.org .

What's your favorite iPad app? Tell us about the songs you've created on "Garage Band" below or on Facebook .

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