Shannon modeling teaching her class.
Shannon Wallace provides seniors with music-based memory workouts
by Kristin Easterlng

If you build it, they will come. This misheard phrase from 1989 Kevin Costner baseball epic “Field of Dreams” can refer to many things. In business, it’s usually used to spur creation and push a project forward. And for Shannon Wallace, founder and CEO of Shannon Wallace LLC and Musical Memory Care, the hope that people would reach out for her virtual classes on music, movement and memory spurred her to start over in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wallace owns a marketing firm and is a professional jazz singer. That profession led her into creating music classes for people living with cognitive impairments. She has been working in marketing for 25 years—11 as CEO of her own company—and is now able to choose the clients and industries she works with, favoring her passions of music and senior care.

“Of course,” she said, “I chose the two industries that got wiped out by COVID.”

Starting over from scratch in the middle of a global crisis is no easy feat, but since Wallace was already providing in-person music and memory classes before the pandemic, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and try adapting her approach to the virtual world.

“I had to buy a whole new computer,” Wallace said. “I learned what a CPU was and 1080P versus 720 versus HD 4k. I knew some of these things, but not as they applied to what I needed in order to have a live stream.”

Wallace now offers both live and on-demand music classes through her website, Individuals or companies can sign up for a Netflix-style subscription plan to access the content. Corporate members can fill out a questionnaire to determine the
best package.

Getting the word out that her classes are available online hasn’t been easy, but Wallace persisted. And, she said, she discovered that it’s important to reach out to a company’s marketing director, not the activities director, when trying to get a foot in the door.

“The activities director doesn’t have the budget the marketing director does,” Wallace explained.

The singer misses the face-to-face interaction of what was once a fun side gig. Wallace hopes, like many of us, to return to her in-person classes in 2021, but also plans to continue the virtual offering. After all, the Zoom platform still allows her to interact with her audience and receive feedback. She asks her class members to keep their microphones on so she can hear them sing along with her.

“They tell me how I’m doing. They’ll say slow down or faster,” she said. Not only do Wallace’s live stream and on-demand platforms offer therapeutic benefits for those living with all levels of cognitive impairment, but they also offer therapeutic and emotional benefits to those who care for them. For Wallace, that’s a win-win.

Kristin Easterling is managing editor of HomeCare Magazine.