Experiences of older adults participating in an intergenerational Suzuki Violin Program.
Kelso, Sarah Michele
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SubjectMusic therapy for older people.; Music and intergenerational communication.; Violin music -- Analysis, appreciation.
This study involved a combination of older adults and young children learning together and interacting with each other in a musical environment created by the intergenerational Suzuki violin program. As the study progressed, the social aspect of this experience became the most prominent feature of the program. It was an unprecedented program facilitated by a retired professional Suzuki violin instructor and a music therapist. The music therapist was hired to do research within the program while also helping to facilitate each violin lesson. The pioneering aspects of the program and the diverse experience of the program facilitators contributed to making this a unique experience for all involved. Throughout the first year of the program data was collected by the music therapist/researcher. Data included attendance records, input from the occupational therapist at the facility, and one-on-one interviews with the participants and staff members involved in the program. After the first year of the program all data was reviewed by the music therapist. Anecdotal reviews written by the facilitators of the program as well as participant testimonials were presented to the grant committee and the nursing home administrators. The staff and participant interviews were transcribed and coded by the music therapist/ researcher. There were many similar observations brought up by the participants and staff enabling the music therapist/researcher to identify common themes. The themes were categorized and specific quotes were extracted from the interviews. The quotes chosen best represented each theme. Although the participants and staff were interviewed separately the themes they had in comment depicted the overall experience of the group. The quotes chosen from participant interviews best illustrated their perceptions of the program and how they were affected by it. Based on the attendance rates and the fact that only five participants withdrew over the course of the year, it can be concluded that the program was beneficial to the participant’s social and life goals. The weekly attendance percentages indicate that the participants wanted to attend and made an effort to be present at the time of the lessons. The participants experienced many benefits which are measured by the positive statements made by the participants in the interviews done at the end of the study. The coded interviews give the participants’ reactions to the experiences that they had within the lessons, and with the children involved in the study. Their perceptions on how they were affected socially, physically, and emotionally are shown in the interviews.
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