Some people are surprised by my love of working with older adults and young children. I find both groups to often have a concentrated playfulness with musical activities. Both groups require me to plan yet to be flexible and work in the moment. Both groups enjoy routine but also enjoy novelty in moderation.
Working with the two ages at the same time brings amazing interactions. Hugs, smiles and laughter are common in these groups. The older adults reminisce about their children as I set-up and clean up our groups. Their range of motion observably increases as they play instruments along with the children. The preschoolers seem to thrive on the positive attention they are receiving from the adults in the group. Efforts to clearly verbalize names, ideas, and objects seems increased when compared to my preschool music groups. That is why I enjoy offering Intergenerational Classes at Cedarview. For those in the Hays area with preschoolers, check out this Monday morning class.
Parents of preschoolers all know play is important both for the child to learn and for the parent to have some sanity. Recently I found an easy to read article on the importance of games: “Toddlers Invent the Silliest Games”. Author Janet Lansbury shares what can be learned from self-directed play. As a music therapist, I would encourage making child safe instruments available for self-directed and parent directed play times. Instruments can be played traditionally as well as allowing for exploration of alternative methods. Think of all the different sounds you can produce on a hand drum! As a parent, I often would overhear my daughter singing songs or melodies she had learned at preschool and from me. My childhood memories include changing song lyrics to meet my moods.
So, be playful as you make music. Explore the child (and the older adult) within yourself.
* Here are some previous blogs that relate to this children and music: