The Carousel Music Therapy™ program is based on research into the benefits of intergenerational activity and music therapy. By combining the two fields, children, older adults and everyone in between have opportunities to come together and celebrate life’s ages and stages through the unifying quality of music.

Over the years, the program has provided older adults - particularly those with dementia - opportunities for reminiscence, social and emotional support, self-expression and connection with children, families and their community.

For children, who might otherwise have limited exposure to older adults in their lives, the program has provided opportunities for healthy social and emotional development, social awareness and an appreciation for ageing populations and for people with disabilities. The children's communication skills, self-expression and confidence are also developed through participation in the group activities. The program has also allowed young mothers, parents and grandparents to make positive connections with other people in the community.




Fewer children these days grow up spending time with their older adult relatives. Many don't know them at all. Young families often move away, across town, interstate or overseas. There is also an increasing tendency for people to start families later in life, which further limits the time available for children to spend developing relationships with older adult relatives. This can result in children missing out on learning from and about older generations, and older adults feeling isolated and disconnected from family.

Music Therapy


Music stimulates multiple parts of the brain, including areas involved in movement, emotions, sensory processing, language, communication, creativity and memory.

As memory declines with age and with dementia, musical memories from across our lives are often well preserved. Songs and music from particular times and moments in our lives can trigger fond memories in an instant and can create feelings of safety, comfort, lucidity and belonging. The carefully selected music in the program elicits these memories and presents opportunities for connections between the generations.

It acts to overcome age and communication barriers and creates a common-ground for all participants.

It stimulates reminiscence and fosters story-telling.

It enhances the joy the children naturally bring to the sessions.

It promotes a celebration of life.


What is Music Therapy?

The following definition is used by the Australian Music Therapy Association (http://www.austmta.org.au/content/what-music-therapy):


Music therapy is:

  • A research-based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing.
  • The intentional use of music by a university trained professional who is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc. Registered music therapists draw on an extensive body of research and are bound by a code of ethics that informs their practice.
  • Different from music education and entertainment as it focuses on health, functioning and wellbeing.


Music therapists:

  • Incorporate a range of music making methods within and through a therapeutic relationship.
  • Are employed in a variety of sectors including health, community, aged care, disability, early childhood, and private practice.  
  • Are committed to supporting people of any age and ability regardless of musical skill, culture or background.

Imogen Rees



Imogen Rees

Founder and Managing Director of Carousel Music Therapy

MMusThrp, GradDipEd, BMus

Imogen has worked with older adults and children in a range of settings. She is a qualified teacher and registered music therapist and has worked in schools, special education settings, early intervention and children’s disability settings, creating and running programs for children to help enhance their learning and development through music.

During her Master of Music Therapy at the University of Melbourne, Imogen was awarded a scholarship to work as a music therapist in aged-care settings where she developed music therapy programs for older adults and people with dementia.  She observed the instant delight of older adult residents when children visited. Whether interacting or simply sharing the same space, there was a unique and palpable spark between the generations that was worth exploring. As a result, Imogen embarked on research, which led to a pilot program of the intergenerational music program in 2011. She has presented conference papers on the program at aged care and music therapy conferences around Australia. The program has also received awards and recognition from aged care and community music bodies, including the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Music in Communities Network.

Imogen’s Masters thesis analysed the use of music therapy with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations in aged care.

Imogen has a young daughter who loves coming to Carousel Music Therapy groups with her grandparents.