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Musical Notes with Melissa Pate: Intergenerational Programming

Melissa PateIf you’ve been in the Highlands building on a Wednesday afternoon, you might notice the tables in the bistro moved around. Three rows of chairs sit in front of the piano with quite a mixture of people! Some look quite young (11- to 13-years-old) and some look to be their grandparents’ age! Who are they? You might be surprised to know that this is Kensington Park’s Intergenerational Choir!

In its third iteration, this choir is comprised of independent living residents & students from our great neighbor Silver Creek Middle School. Every Wednesday, the students bustle in after school to join our residents for an hour of singing. Research in music-based intergenerational programming shows immense benefit for children and older adults alike. For both groups, they have been shown to improve cross-age attitudes. Older adults involved in a music-based IG program reported increased feelings of usefulness after sessions. Results also suggested that the kids involved came into a more positive view of aging when the group concluded. Music is universal. It’s the one thing that connects us across age, demographics, culture, etc.

When our residents join the kids of SCMS, it doesn’t matter the age difference, because they share something very important: a love of music.