Over the 2020-2021 year, we pivoted from designing in-person music classes to designing virtual music classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working closely with the BriTE program, who began delivering its program via Zoom, and the University of Pittsburgh, we designed an intergenerational music program that was delivered by teenage musicians to older adults with changing cognition.
This fall we collaborated with BriTE's music instructor, Heather DiCicco, to discuss how she developed successful music programming and delivered it via Zoom. We designed a multi-faceted music program that included 1) arranging a song that the participants preferred and performing it, 2) introducing a musical concept from the song and 3) designing an interactive activity that allows the older adults to participate in the music-making. Carnegie Mellon music students and research assistants Diana McLaughlin, Shaun Murray, and Savannah Schaumburg piloted the program and offered feedback on data collection materials. They worked closely with University of Pittsburgh student Kyle Chang to revise the music program for teenage musicians.
This spring we piloted the program with four teenage musicians from across the country, ranging in age from 12- to 17-years old. They each joined the BriTE program as guest artists three times, and did interviews with the research team confirm if they felt if the music program was feasible, what they learned, and any additional supports we could give them. The results of our study are being written in a paper from the team and will be shared here in future updates.