Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers


3 Generations, 1 MacBook

Image by lyzadanger via Flickr

The other day, I found a great post titled: Maturity Matters – Relationships – Celebrate Your Family History: 10 Activities.  I strongly encourage you to look at this link and explore the activities.  Using the author’s activities list, here are some ways to add a musical twist.

Start a family Journal Include in your list of questions ones related to music stories. These might include:

  • Instruments played
  • Favorite bands
  • Memories of concerts attended or performed
  • Where and how you listened to music (live, radio, TV)

Generation Preservation Just like old photos, old recordings are fragile and cannot be replaced once lost or damaged. Consider having them saved in a digital format. Look for reel to reel and cassette recordings.  And, don’t forget home sound movies along with videos.  Musical performances are held in a variety of formats.

Their Turn While recording those stories in audio, see if you can get a song sung or an instrumental performance.  There is nothing like hearing a person’s interpretation of a song! I am blessed to have video of one of my grandma’s singing.  What a gift to share with my child!

Generation Transformations When discussing what life was like for each generation, ask about how and where they heard music.  Past generations often gathered around the piano for shared music times, listened to performances on the radio or on TV.  Famous bands made tours did performers. You never know who they met or say.

We are Family Don’t forget to record any family music traditions.  In my family there is a family hymn sung at many of our baptisms and funerals.  There are songs I was taught by my parents during long car rides.  There were times music was played during meals.  Every family is unique in how they used music.

Leave a Legacy Ask each family member to reflect upon what they would like to be their musical legacy and why. Find out how they envision their contribution to impact on future generations. Maybe they can select a recording that can be purchased/downloaded to add it to the family journal.  If they chose to compose a song, all the better!

Children can gain so much from these histories.  When my daughter was in grade school and reading the American Girl books, she would ask questions about experiences of her grandparents and great grands.  Depending on a child’s abilities, they can also help with the recording. (My daughter loves to use cameras.) While these items were listed for families, they might be appropriate in community groups, hospice, assisted living, long-term care and community service projects.  (Think teens gather histories of seniors with particular interests.) Do you have other ideas ways to leave a family legacy?  Share them under the comments.


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Comments on: "Make a Musical Family History" (6)

  1. soundscapemusictherapy said:

    Excellent ideas, JoAnn! We actually had an assignment in one of my college music classes to do a musical family tree. I treasure the music books, hymnals, and sheet music that belonged to my grandmothers and great-grandmother. I also have a photo of my grandfather with the band he played for during his Army days – it’s framed on our mantel.

  2. Hi JoAnn,
    I was fortunate to grow up in a musical home with musical mother, uncle and grandparents.

    A couple of years ago my mom found an old record made by her family and their community band. They were called the Golden Fives. The record was “cut” at a radio station from a show recorded when my mother was 16 or 17 years old. She had it transferred to a digital format CD and it’s been such a blast to listen to it! I have it loaded onto my ipod now.

    We found a photo of the group as they were then and had it made into a cover for the CD jewel case and she gave it out to family members. It was the absolute best gift ever!

    I know I too treasure the old sheet music (10 cents a copy) they played and have it all stored near my piano. What a great post! and great suggestions! Thanks.

  3. […] – Make a Musical Family History: Ideas for adding music when gathering your family […]

  4. […] Make a Musical Family History […]

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