Human connections that span the generation gap offer a unique interaction opportunity for all parties involved. With this in mind, upper year McMaster students who are participating in a Health Sciences course called HTH SCI 4W03 Music, Health and the Community will partner with a group of high school music students and residents of a local long-term care (LTC) home in the Hamilton community for a month-long music engagement program.
In the context of their coursework, 4W03 students learn about music and its biopsychosocial effects. They are then given the opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge into practice when they enter the Hamilton community to complete three months of community programming. Millennial Music is one of the three month-long programs that make up the 4W03 curriculum. McMaster students use music in an intentional way to create meaningful moments for participants. A key learning outcome of community work is the growth of facilitation skills. Coordinating a group of high school students while simultaneously attending to the needs of 20-30 LTC residents is a difficult task that takes preparation and skill to execute. Facilitation skills gained during this program can be applied in other educational and career contexts. Finally, this program bridges the link between theory and practice, which does not often occur during undergraduate education. Millennial music is a space for McMaster students to apply theoretical knowledge discussed in class to a real-world setting. As referenced by scholars in many fields, there is a growing need for spaces to implement theoretical best-practices to ensure society benefits from primary scientific investigations.
High School Students
The benefits to the high school students are three-fold. First, Millennial Music provides an opportunity for high school students to complete volunteer hours required for high school graduation. Second, Millennial Music is a valuable community learning opportunity because of exposure to LTC residents and more generally, the aging process. For the first time in Canadian history, the number of older adults exceeds the number of youth. This means that students currently in high school will grow up in a society that leans heavily on retirement and LTC communities and support. Therefore, gaining an understanding of this population, and the ways that they can remain engaged in their community, is a critical lesson for today’s youth.
Finally, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Arts Consultant highlights the importance of providing opportunities to smoothen transitions for HWDSB students. Such transitions include moving from elementary school to high school, and from high school to university. Millennial Music connects high school students with McMaster students, who can answer questions about post-secondary education. In addition, when certain components of the program occur on the McMaster University campus, high school student gain a greater understanding of and exposure to university, thereby improving their transition from high school to post-secondary education.
Residents of LTC homes are in critical need of meaningful engagement opportunities. Due to music’s ability to activate more brain areas than any other activity of daily living, this program provides both social and biological benefits to participating residents. During LTC home visits, Millennial Music combines music engagement with non-musical activities whose purpose is to kick-start the formation of meaningful relationships between all generations of participants.
|Week||Visit Location||Visit Description|
|1||McMaster Campus or High School in Hamilton||McMaster students meet with high school students to conduct a sensitivity to seniors training session. McMaster students provide an overview of life in an LTC home and information about how to interact with residents. This visit lasts 45-minutes, and music is a small component.|
|2||LTC Home||McMaster students meet with high school students at the host LTC home. Together, they complete a 45-minute music engagement program.|
|3||McMaster Campus or High School in Hamilton||McMaster students meet with high school students for a music practice session. Together, they will work out instrumentation and arrangements for new repertoire to be performed at the Week 4 visit. This visit will also be an opportunity to reflect on experiences from Week 2.|
|4||LTC Home||McMaster students meet with high school students at the host LTC home. Together, they complete a 45-minute music engagement program.|