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  • Writer's pictureCarla Tanguay, MA, MT-BC

Intergenerational Music Groups

What is something that brings joy and engagement to infants, young children, teenagers, adults, and seniors?

It is hard to think of something more universal than music. We are never too young or too old to respond to music. Which is why I am thrilled to be starting back with our Intergenerational Music Buddies Group next week!

Music Buddies brings together residents from a local senior housing location and preschool students from a childcare center nearby. We typically gather in a dayroom on the lower level, and excitement among the residents begins to build as soon as we hear the patter of little feet and the giggles of anticipation coming down the staircase. Soon the room is filled with the sounds of singing, the rattle of rhythm instruments, and an infectious energy that only children provide. We share new and familiar songs, work together to explore different instruments and sounds, use our imaginations, and learn new things! Residents have shared that this is their favorite part of the week, and a group of our most dedicated participants often have the room set up before I even arrive. 

What Makes Intergenerational Music Therapy Special?


Not all children have frequent interactions with older generations. And many seniors who spent their lives caring for youngsters now lack opportunities to interact, teach, and share experiences with young children. Bringing these generations together through the structure of something that is familiar and enjoyable - music- is powerful and beneficial to all. 

From a therapeutic standpoint, intergenerational music groups can address a variety of wellness, educational, and social goals. For example, with groups of well older adults and preschool aged children, what looks like a group of fun activities may also be:

  • Decreasing feelings of isolation through meaningful social interaction

  • Improving attitudes and confidence about interacting with older/younger generations

  • Increasing movement, range of motion, and fine motor skills through instrument play

  • Reinforcing pre-academic skills (counting, reading, listening, and self-regulation)

  • Improving self-esteem and feelings of self-worth by modeling/teaching skills 

  • Practicing receptive and expressive language skills

  • Improving attention span, engagement, and endurance

  • Practicing and reinforcing positive group behaviors (sharing, taking turns, working together)

Are you interested in joining one of our groups? Have questions about music therapy?

Contact us at or call 207-812-8662 .

*Photos by Lori Krupke.

Music Buddies is currently funded through a generous grant from the Lynam Foundation.

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