Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


David Stringham

Jesse Rathgeber

Erika Sawin


Trends of music engagement include a shift towards presentational music culture, as well as inequitable access to participatory music-making for some populations. Meanwhile, trends of societal engagement include ageism and age-segregation. Especially for people living with dementia, stigma often prevents equitable access to creative participatory arts. This convergent, mixed-methods case study design explored participation in an intergenerational, participatory creative arts project. Participants included children from an elementary school and senior adults with dementia in a memory care neighborhood. The purpose was to explore the meaning of participation and interaction in the project from participants’ perspectives. Participants collaborated in eight sessions of original storytelling/ songwriting, as well as discussion and surveys about the sessions. I concluded participatory creative arts were valuable not only in making space for participants, but also in honoring diverse access routes to the creative process. Both senior adults with dementia and children perceived these utilities for participatory creative arts. While seniors’ perspectives remained relatively stable and positive throughout the program, children demonstrated increasing cross-generational connection. Data discrepancies likely indicated cognitive dissonance for some children in processing the experience, yet overall, more consistent program attendance corresponded with more positive experiences for children. There is a need for more research and advocacy to fully explore and highlight voices of senior adults living with dementia collaborating with children in creative, participatory arts settings.



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