Intergenerational Music Co-Listening

woman sitting on bed holding vinyl records
Photo by Sofia Alejandra on

This research project investigates how grandparents and teen grandchildren can use technology to be online together and share a conversation around their favourite music. This is an exploratory study to understand both the social and technical barriers that might make having such interactions difficult for grandparents and teen grandchildren, with an aim to designing technologies to support intergenerational co-listening in the future.

Recruitment Script

Investigators: Nabila Chowdhury (MSc student,, Dr. Celine Latulipe ( and Dr. Jim Young (

You are invited to participate in a study on the topic of supporting online intergenerational conversation between older adults and their teenage grandchildren around music. We are recruiting grandparents and grandchildren who are reasonably comfortable with online communication tools (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, email, etc.). If you can independently send or receive emails and can surf the internet, that knowledge is enough for our study.

In this study, a grandparent and their teen grandchild will listen to a few of their favourite songs and have a conversation while on Zoom. Both grandparent and teen grandchild will share two of their favourite songs via email with the researcher ahead of time (but don’t worry – you will be able to change your selected music before and during the session). The researcher will create a playlist that will be played in the Zoom session. During the Zoom session, after each song is played the grandparent and teen grandchild will converse about the music they shared, or about anything they feel like. After the co-listening and conversation session, one of the researchers will interview each grandparent and grandchild separately. During the Zoom session your conversation and interviews will be recorded so that they can be analyzed later to understand the social and technical barriers that hinder sustained intergenerational conversations around music. Completing both the conversation session and interview session will take approximately 90 mins. Grandparents and grandchildren each will receive $30CAD for participating in the study. Participants will contribute to research about sustaining collaborative engagement between older adults and grandchildren around music, which could lead to the development of new technologies targeted at collaborative platforms for older adults and grandchildren. 

This research has been approved by the University of Manitoba  Research Ethics Board, Fort Garry Campus. If you have any concerns or complaints about this project you may contact any of the above-named persons or the Human Ethics Coordinator at 204-474-7122 or

To participate in the study, as a grandparent you need to be at least 65 years old. To participate in the study, as a teen grandchild you must be aged 12-17 and have your parents’ consent. If you are interested or need more information, please contact:  (study now closed)

Consent Form

Both the grandparent and the grandchild must consent for the study to happen. The grandchild will be asked for verbal consent during the study, the grandchild’s parent or legal guardian must complete the online consent form below.

Grandparent Consent Form (link removed as study is now closed)

Consent Form for Grandchild (link removed as study is now closed)

Final Report

This study was undertaken to understand how co-listening to music online can support sustained interaction between grandparents and teen grandchildren when in-person interaction is not feasible. We interviewed 6 grandparent and grandchild pairs to gather our data for the analysis. Based upon our analysis of data collected from interviews, observations of recorded co-listening sessions, and pre- and post-surveys, our results contribute to a deep understanding of interaction patterns between grandparents and teen grandchildren around music co-listening. Results from our study show that music co-listening supports positive intergenerational interaction. Our participant pairs enjoyed the one-to-one opportunity they received during the study to listen to music together. Music provided an avenue for grandparents to ask questions and share memories with their grandchildren. Grandchildren also shared their favourite memories and opinions with their grandparents. Some grandchildren also provided technological support to their grandparents to make the conversation flow smoothly. Additionally, we observed that for 5 pairs, grandparents initiated more conversation than their grandchildren except the 6th pair; where the grandchild was an older teenager compared to other grandchildren. This suggests the possibility that the grandchild’s age may play an important role in the context of intergenerational interactions. Grandparents and teen grandchildren also appeared to enjoy the anticipation of not knowing what song was coming next and enjoyed seeing each other react to chosen favourite songs. Also, our study design showed that by limiting user control over music playing, it slowed the interaction between the dyads, giving them time and space to converse around music. Our results support the ongoing design of online family communication technologies to include increased support for co-activities such as music co-listening, to make it easier for separated family members to have meaningful and sustained communications.