Young & old make musical magic together
Published by Penny Allison for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing in Housing and also in Education
Budding musicians of all ages came together this week to showcase their new talents.
A ukulele extravaganza featured musicians from four retirement living schemes, children from St Thomas School in Bradley and Holmfirth High, as well as residents from the wider community.
The concert was organised to celebrate the success of an intergenerational music project run by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and Kirklees Music School. The scheme has not only enabled the older people and children to learn new skills but has also resulted in great friendships between the two generations.
Around 70 older people started the course, which began around 15 months ago, and the vast majority have kept with it. The retirement schemes involved are Brooklands in Bradley, Church Grange in Cleckheaton, Brighton Street Community Centre in Heckmondwike and Belmont Grange in Norrishthorpe.
For Judith and Ken Baxter from Cleckheaton, the music lessons “have really lifted our spirits. It’s been wonderful to meet other people and learn something new.”
Margaret and Bob Millar from Brooklands agree: “taking part has really helped our sense of wellbeing and it’s been lovely having the school children learn with us.”
According to Ginette Eady and Hazel Davis, who teach the lessons, it’s no surprise that the instrument is so popular with young and old alike: "The ukulele is brilliant for anyone to learn. It really comes to life when played in groups and is a good way into any form of music,” says Ginette.
"The project has enabled people who haven't had a chance to enjoy a musical activity to have the opportunity to experience performing together. They have been so motivated and really engaged with the instrument, the music and socially they get on great with each other. It’s so important for people to have something like this to look forward to each week.
“The addition of children from the schools made the whole thing work even better and having the concert at the school was definitely the best way to bring the two generations together in a nice relaxed atmosphere.”
Karina Sykes is KNH's older people’s activities coordinator. She said: “I’ve been delighted with the success of the project. Ginette and Hazel have been an inspiration and everyone’s had a great time while learning a new skill.
“It’s also wonderful to see the two generations forming bonds over a common interest – the combination of learning and socializing is really helping our older residents live life to the full.”