Playing outside the generational square: The intergenerational impact of adult group music learning activities on the broader community | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1752-6299
  • E-ISSN: 1752-6302



This article discusses the theme of intergenerational impact as it emerged during a study tour of adult learner communities in North America, carried out during March and April of 2011. Data was collected via observation, interviews and questionnaires, to provide a degree of international perspective to a broader ethnographic project investigating sociocultural development through ensemble music programmes in identifiable, marginalized, communities in Australia. The five-week tour involved observation of 31 ensembles, comprising several hundred learners and ensemble directors, spread across nine communities in Ontario, New York State, Washington State, Arizona and California. The study tour was facilitated by a New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA) fellowship, and the participating communities were all members or affiliates of the NHIMA. Utilizing the theoretical framework of Lee Higgins’ community as an act of hospitality, the article focuses on five emergent examples of social development with effects crossing generational boundaries, with findings indicating a growing trend in mentor-based social change within communities embracing group adult music learner programmes.


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