Last week I shared ideas for using music to connect infants, toddlers, children, and teens with older adults in a traditional sandwich situation. This weeks focus in a “club” sandwich.

Club Sandwich. I took this picture on May 19, ...

Image via Wikipedia

Carol Abaya on the Sandwich Generation® site defines it as:

“those in their 50s or 60s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. OR those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.”

What makes this sandwich unique is the many generational layers. Both groups contain potential for retirees, soon to be retired people, and those of working age. It is the depth of the layers that with the addition of care may begin to topple just like a club sandwich when the toothpick is removed.

How music can be the toothpick

For those in their 20’s – 40’s, here are some ideas for relating to both older generations:

Depending on how well you know their personal history, you may need a few starter questions:

  • Did you play a musical instrument or sing in a choir?
  • What performers do you remember hearing on the radio? seeing in person? seeing on TV?
  • What songs did you like to sing?
  • Did you go to the movies? Which were you’re favorites?

Use this information to assist you in finding similarities. There are many “classics” that have been remakes over the last several. YouTube can be a great site to start your search.

Don’t assume they don’t like more contemporary songs – think Young@Heart. Intergenerational groups sharing rock music are spring up around the US. Here is a link to one example. Dr. Melita Belgrave shared insights about her intergenerational group – Forever Young Choir.

Together with an older family member, write new lyrics to a current song to reflect events in your family.

For those in their 50’s – 60’s, here are some ideas for relating to your parents and grandparents:

  • You grew up in an era of TV specials and seres that included lots of music that appealed to many generations. A few to get the wheels turning are: Andy Williams, Hee-Has, Ed Sullivan, and Bob Hope. Use this a starting point for a “remember when” conversation.
  • TV shows of the 1950’s and 1960’s had some memorable title songs. How about a little “name that tune/show”? Need a little help? Check out The Official 60’s Site and the 50’s page on Crazy about TV.
  • Chances are your parents and grandparents watched/listened to programs like the Grand Old Opry or  Lawrence Welk. They may have attended performances of big bands or gone to dances. For assistance, see the American Cultural History pages by Lone Star College – Kingswood.
  • Many musicals made it to the big screen. Why not find a favorite of theirs and share it with the family.

For involving the young children, please see A Traditional Sandwich (with a little music added) (

Which of these ideas works best for you? Please share it in the comments below completing the CAPTCHA. The come back next week for “Musical Ingredients for an Open Face Sandwich”.

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