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Our work and impact

Working across the generations

Musical Connections has many links across the city with schools, universities, colleges and other groups for young people. Feedback from both our participants and project partners has shown that our intergenerational work has great benefits for all those who experience it. Sometimes the young people come and give performances enjoyed by the participants, but more often participants and children work together on a musical project. The music quickly breaks down any generational barriers, and our participants are energised and stimulated by the vitality and enthusiasm of the children and young people.

We work with the full age-range, from nursery children up to university students, and every session is tailored to the ages taking part. We offer regular placements for students studying related degrees such as Community Music and they often enjoy having the chance to organise sections of our Big Sings.

Our primary sessions can fit in with the school curriculum, and range from Hawaiian to Bollywood music, and from World War II to en masse ukulele playing. Sometimes schools suggest a subject that fits with their topic work for the term, but more often our musicians take the lead in planning and running sessions, so as to minimise workload for school staff. This also means that teachers do not have to be musicians themselves for their classes to benefit.

This case study evaluates a 6-week intergenerational project when Burton Green Primary school year 4 children collaborated with residents from Morrell House culminating in a performance at Vale of York Academy.


“Musical Connections offers an opportunity for us, as a school, to make a positive contribution to the local community. We can harness links with the curriculum – in music, history, performance skills and social development. It also helps develop the children into well rounded, caring, considerate, community-oriented individuals.”

James Rourke, Former Headteacher, Rufforth Primary School

"Fiona has invited my classes to participate in many intergenerational projects...and this has allowed me to witness directly the profoundly positive difference the programme makes by using creative interaction to generate a sense of community and belonging, including numerous opportunities for older people to share in music- and arts-based activity with children and young people. As a schoolteacher, I believe this programme teaches children to value and respect older generations"

Debbie Feehan, Deputy Head, St. Aelred's Primary school.

"I have learnt that, no matter what age you are, you can always have fun"  

"I thought we would have nothing in common, but I was REALLY surprised - everyone was really friendly and lively"

"You can share a laugh....I'm more confident talking to older people now"

Children from Ralph Butterfield School.