Implementing Music Therapy-Based Intergenerational Programs in the Community

By Melita Belgrave.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research in music-based intergenerational programming has shown benefits such as improved cross-age attitudes and cross-age interactions between younger and older generations. However, there is limited information pertaining to how older adults’ experiences change based on the age of the younger participants. The purpose of this paper was to compare older adults’ experiences in three multiple-aged music intergenerational programs. Older adults were involved in one of three music-based intergenerational groups with youth of differing ages: preschoolers, elementary-age children, and college-age young adults. The preschool program focused on teaching academic skills through music activities. Participants in the elementary program interacted with fourth-graders through singing, moving to music, playing instruments, and structured conversations. Older adults in the college program participated with music majors in a rock band and chorus, and performed a final concert at the local university. Older adult participants were interviewed upon completion of the programs. Results revealed that older adults had different motivations for participating in the three varied intergenerational programs (preschool, elementary, and college programs). Differences were also discovered in older adults’ descriptions of the programs, and in perceptions of the programs’ benefits provided to the younger generations. The author will discuss how to use these findings to structure future intergenerational programming in school and community settings.

Keywords: Music-Based Intergenerational Programs, Older Adults and Community Engagement through Music

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 890.179KB).

Dr. Melita Belgrave

Assistant Professor, Music Therapy Department, Kansas CIty, MO, USA

Melita Belgrave received her bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Michigan State University. Belgrave also earned her master’s in music therapy, a certification in aging studies, and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in music therapy at Florida State University. Belgrave has worked as a music therapist in special education, mental health, rehabilitation, hospice, geriatric, and intergenerational settings throughout Texas and Florida. Her research interests are music therapy with older adults and intergenerational programming. Belgrave has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, and her research has been published in the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives. Belgrave currently serves on the Public Information and Outreach Committee for the Certification Board for Music Therapists and the Academic Program Approval Committee for the American Music Therapy Association. Belgrave currently directs Forever Young, an intergenerational rock ensemble comprised of music students from the university and community-dwelling older adults.

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