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Men making music and memories in a Shed

More than 1200 men’s sheds operate in Australia and over 2500 in 12 countries. 

Typically, men make things for their communities at a Men’s Shed, meeting over a shared passion and learning new skills. 

The Dingley Village Men’s Shed (DVMS) has grown from two to 23 men in five years and has become a fully-fledged music group. Members talk about music, play music, and make musical instruments. The group embraces everyone, from those with little or no experience to those with great experience playing and composing musical scores and songs. 

“The process of “jamming” is both rewarding and fun and has helped us become better musicians,” they say.  “When we “jam” something magical happens not just for the individuals and the group but for those who come just to listen.” 

The DVMS has developed a 20-song repertoire, meeting every Wednesday from 9 am-2 pm. 

In 2023, they successfully applied for a $2000 community grant to buy audio equipment for recording performances and improve the group’s overall sound. 

Shedder Peter O’Leary said he had learned how beneficial playing music was to brain health.

Playing an instrument helps with memory and helps prevent, slow down or delay the loss of language skills. 

Photo credit: Dingley Village Men's Shed

According to his research, adults aged 60-85 who never played music improved their talking and thinking after taking piano lessons for a few months. The lessons helped their brains work more efficiently. 

“Like those of us at DVMS there must be plenty of Shedders out there that once played an instrument or even still do who would benefit from a musical experience,” says Peter. 

“I hadn’t played much at all for the last 40 years, and when arthritis started to take hold of my hands, I just didn’t bother at all. After picking up a guitar again and forcing my twisted hands through much pain, I have greater movement in my fingers and less arthritic pain.”

Learn more about the Men’s Shed Movement, which started in Australia. 

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