Video: Tips for Music Therapists for Intergenerational Music Therapy

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Hello, fellow music therapists! In my last post, I shared a video interview with Dr. Melita Belgrave, assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, covering the basic idea of intergenerational music therapy – what it is, who it benefits, and how to get started. As promised, today’s video is especially for you music therapists out there who are interested in working in intergenerational music therapy, with some tips for successful intergenerational groups. Watch this very short video for insights on how to structure and facilitate some great intergenerational music-making. Are you already working in intergenerational music therapy groups? What other tips would you add? Please contribute your advice in the comments section below! P.S. In case you missed the last video from Dr. Belgrave on intergenerational music therapy, click here to watch it now.]]>


  1. Laura C. on August 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Hi Rachelle. I have a question for you related to the location. I understand the traveling part, but is there a type of location that works best where the two groups both feel comfortable? I can see how an assisted living facility would be scary or foreign to the children and more child-friendly locations may not be appealing or safe for older adults. What do you suggest? Do you ever work outside?

    • soundscapemusictherapy on August 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Laura,

      I actually have not done a lot of intergenerational work, which is why I asked to interview Dr. Belgrave. I do know, though, that she has suggested bringing together two pre-existing groups so that you have adult assistants available – that is, bring together a fourth grade class with the people who regularly attend a senior center, or take a preschool class to the assisted living facility across the street. I would think that already being in a group, the kids or older adults would feel comfortable enough going to a new setting. The transportation part really depends on the group(s) – the preschool class may be able to walk across the street together, or the assisted living facility might have a van available. Transportation might matter more than the setting for the group in some ways. I imagine the older adults are expecting some “kiddy” things by joining an intergenerational group, and I think kids are only as scared of assisted living as the adults around them lead them to be. Plus, part of the point of having an intergenerational group is helping the group members get past those barriers of unfamiliarity with the other generation.

      Besides the idea of bringing two existing groups together, I know Music Together has a model that involves holding the Music Together classes at a senior facility (e.g. retirement home or assisted living). That means parents would be bringing their children to the facility and presumably modeling that it’s an okay place to be. I think having groups at a community center or YMCA-like place could also work. Making music outside could be fun, too, although you’ll have to know your groups members well enough to know how the change in environment will affect the group.

      I hope that helps! You’ll have to let me know what you try and how it works out.

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