Grandmother and toddler in music class

Program Spotlight: Music Together Generations

In a Music Together Generations class, “Hello, Everybody!” means something extra special.

That’s because there are three generations of music-makers in the room! Generations is a mixed-age Music Together class with the sweetest twist: the addition of senior participants. Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their grownups visit “Musical Grandfriends” at a local Capital Senior Living community and spend time making music as a large extended family.

Including elders in a Music Together class creates a different kind of community-building experience. There’s a sense of being part of something important and of giving back and a shared joy when families arrive to their Capital Senior Living community each week to see their Musical Grandfriends. Generations classes can even provide a kind of substitute grandparent experience. It’s easy to imagine the sweetness of this class and how great it is for the children and elders.

When you join a Generations class, here is what you experience:   

PLANTING SEEDS OF RESPECT. Young children learn everything first and best from watching others. If you want your child to feel comfortable around older adults, show them how it’s done! When you sing with an elder, dance with them or follow their lead in a partner activity, you’re giving your child a powerful model of respect and appreciation for elders.

NEW FRIENDS. Making connections in your class will enrich your life, stimulate your intellect, and challenge your assumptions about aging and the elderly. If you can, come to class a little early. Grandfriends are usually there waiting and love the company. Compare favorite movies, ask about where they grew up, bring your child’s favorite picture book to share. Your new friends will love getting to know you beyond your role as a parent or caregiver, too!          

NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. Parents in Generations classes who might be self-conscious singers find themselves singing more confidently because of the Grandfriends’ model. Hearing the elders sing out with delight—without concern about how “good” their voices sound—is inspiring.          

GAINING ROCKSTAR STATUS. Many Grandfriends have been parents and grandparents themselves so the empathy and support you’ll get from them is very real. After all, they’ve “been there, done that”!          

A NEW OUTLOOK. So many of us live far from extended family and don’t have regular opportunities to interact with older adults in meaningful ways. Generations helps you to foster understanding, empathy, and appreciation for elders and for the aging process. It’s great to see different examples of what getting older looks like!          

A MUSICAL HISTORY LESSON. Many “legacy” songs that Grandfriends grew up with are getting lost. Families just don’t know them anymore. Folksongs of many cultures are preserved in a Generations class. You can feel good knowing you are helping to keep them alive in your own family!          

Ask your local Music Together center, or visit the Community Life page of the Capital Senior Living community near you to learn about a Generations class you and your children can sign up for.