younger woman with guitar
Project Type - Pilot Projects, Artistic Initiatives

Serenatas for Tucson: A House-Calls Music Program for Latino Older Adults

Promote wellbeing and brain health education through music
Northern America


This project plans to develop a university-based serenata house-call program for older Latinos to promote wellbeing and brain health education. Communities and healthcare systems are in need of creative and culturally diverse strategies to meet the growing needs of our rapidly aging population and to address the rising rates of dementia, especially among underserved minority populations. Intergenerational arts-based approaches offer culturally sensitive strategies for building age-friendly societies, educating about creative aging, and engaging older adults through creative practices.

Project Details

This pilot aims to: (1) Design and implement an intergenerational house-calls serenade (serenata) program at the University of Arizona that uses Latin American traditions to promote brain health and wellbeing in vulnerable populations with culturally-specific approaches; and (2) Create and disseminate a short bilingual film about the serenata house-calls program to encourage intercultural, intergenerational, and creative approaches to music and brain health initiatives across the U.S. and Latin America.

To establish these goals, the project team will establish a Latin American Popular Music ensemble at the University of Arizona to train students and community members to perform serenatas; build a house-calls serenade program that sends students to sing serenades to vulnerable community-dwelling Latino older adults at risk of loneliness and social isolation in conjunction with home care medicine programs; create a short ethnographic film that draws on the investigator’s training as an ethnomusicologist with research specializations in music, aging, and Latin American popular music. Research methods include participation in music and non-music related activities, and filmmaking as a mode of digital storytelling. As part of the film, the investigator will meet and conduct interviews with serenade recipients, ensemble members, and local cultural experts.

The inter-professional collaborations between clinical, artistic, and cultural experts are necessary to establish best practices for creative aging initiatives and new programs that reach underserved and culturally diverse populations. This pilot will lay the groundwork for future creative aging research and outreach in Tucson, promote curriculum development about arts and aging at the University of Arizona, and advocate the use of creativity to promote brain health and age-friendly societies, using film as a powerful mode of public education.